Date of Conferral







Eric Hickey


Patient-to-staff assaults have become a barrier to workplace safety at U.S. psychiatric hospitals. Assaults on staff result in loss of productive social service for the mentally ill; increases in labor, industrial, and medical costs from claims; and psychological scars, such as posttraumatic stress disorder, that may never completely heal. The purpose of this quantitative study was to explore the effectiveness of the Psychiatric Emergency Response Team (PERT) at the Washington state hospital in reducing patient assaults on staff. There is very little research to substantiate the effectiveness of the PERT program as a conduit of workplace safety in psychiatric institutional care and none demonstrating that PERT is a useful program at the Washington state hospital. The theoretical approach in the current study for examining how organizations function with cohesiveness under certain organizational equilibrium constraints was Bandura’s social learning theory. A quantitative archival analysis design was used to determine relationship between several levels of an independent variable (time) and the dependent variable (number of assaults) via a time-series procedure, the one-way within subjects ANOVA. Results showed that there was an increase in assaults in the 6 months post-PERT implementation compared to the 6 months before but a reduction of work loss. Decreased work loss after assaults could lead to less severe injuries due to the PERT response to incidents. Reducing injuries could lead to positive social change by affecting the psychological and physical well-being of patients and staff. For patients, it could promote healing and recovery as they discharge from the hospital and re-enter society.