Self-defence course for health-care staff

A woman patient was struggling to get out her bed.

Agitated, she kicked staff nurse Samantha Yap and three of her colleagues.

About six to seven hospital staff were needed to restrain the patient.

To prevent injury to both herself and the patient, Ms Yap, who has been working at Khoo Teck Puat Hospital (KTPH) for three years, managed to apply a self-defence technique she had learnt.

Last year, there were 33 cases of front-line staff at the hospital who had been physically abused, a 50 per cent increase from the 22 cases in 2013.

With the number of such cases on the rise, it is no wonder KTPH is teaching its health-care staff self-defence.

A hospital spokesman said: "Our health-care workers come to work every day with the mission to care for patients as if they are their own loved ones. Care and understanding must be mutual.

"The better we treat our health-care workers, the happier they would be in their work and in delivering quality care to our patients."

Started in July 2013, the full-day workshop, called Conflict Resolution in a Healthcare Setting, aims to equip staff with self-defence and disarming skills. This will educate and empower them to recognise, take the appropriate action and use simple communication techniques to protect themselves during a conflict with patients or their loved ones.

The workshop is not compulsory, but staff members picked by their immediate supervisors are encouraged to go.

Ms Yap is glad her manager sent her for it.

She said: "It was interesting and useful as I could apply it in my work. Without the self-defence course, I would not have known how to react to such (abusive) situations."