Security professionals play a vital role in maintaining a safe healthcare environment. Security often are the first to greet visitors who walk into a healthcare facility, whether it be a hospital or clinic, and the ones who are there to help you find your way. But while customer service is part of the job description, so is handling confrontations and providing issue management and support with an empathy-led mindset.
In this blog, you will discover everything you need to know about healthcare security - from the duties and skill requirements to hospital security working conditions. Let’s dive in!
Key Duties & Responsibilities
Healthcare security officers are expected to respond to alarms, emergency requests, and use verbal de-escalation skills to resolve safety incidents. They are also expected to maintain confidentiality and discretion when handling private information, along with presenting strong customer service. At times, healthcare security guards will be required to effectively manage agitated or aggressive patients or visitors. At any moment, a patient could get upset and it’s important to know the techniques to properly deal with them. Other responsibilities include:
Patient/Visitor/Hospital Staff Duties
Assisting with visitor management is an important duty for a hospital security guard. This could include visitor screening or escorting visitors after hours. Other duties may include assisting in the transfer of high-risk patients or performing morgue release procedures.
Security is often the first person a visitor encounters when entering a facility, so it’s important to proactively approach and challenge (in a professional and courteous manner) unauthorized people. Other duties include:
- Responding efficiently and effectively to fire drills, external and internal disasters and/or drills, trauma alerts, emergency response codes, etc.
- Maintaining self-control in stressful situations,
- Managing verbally or physically aggressive situations without injury to patients and staff, using verbal intervention/de-escalation skills, remaining calm, exercising judgment, and avoiding unnecessary physical force and abusive language,
- Assisting clinical staff in the application of clinical restraints, including physical holds when necessary.
Officers may be expected to greet and screen visitors who enter the hospital reception/lobby areas. This includes explaining and enforcing hospital guidelines, directing visitors to appropriate locations, maintaining the hospital’s identification/visitor policies by issuing contractor/vendor/visitor passes, calling departments and verifying approval for visitation, and screening deliveries to patients and staff.
Patrols are a regular part of healthcare security and include the following:
- Premise patrols on foot/vehicle,
- Thorough patrols of buildings, grounds, parking lots, and surrounding Medical Center parking lots,
- Inspection of areas for any security or safety hazard.
- Checking Medical Center entrance gates, doors, and windows to determine that they are secure, including maintaining the integrity of security-sensitive areas, e.g., ED, Neonatal, Behavioral Health, etc., and detecting unauthorized individuals and vehicles.
- Checking exterior lighting and access routes to emergency entrances, including ensuring the helipad, ambulance, and fire lanes are clear.
- Securing all Medical Center doors at the specified hour and unlocking all Medical Center doors at the prescribed hour.
As security professionals, it’s crucial to understand the importance of report writing and note-taking. These two critical skills can have a significant impact on the success of operations, investigations, and the overall posture of the security program. As part of their daily duties, officers must write forensic incident reports that comply with rules of discovery, insurance investigations and other hospital requirements. They also must investigate all incidents, prepare incident reports on completion of the investigation, write accurate incident reports and documents investigatory steps and results, and use objective data and clear, concise language.
Required Skills and Qualifications
Before you can become a security guard in the US, you must meet the basic requirements. That includes being of age in the state you are looking to work in, having a clean criminal record, and being eligible to work in the US. A high-school diploma is also required.
When it comes to healthcare security, the standards are much higher. Some college education is preferred, along with one year of law enforcement, military police, hospital, or industrial security, or any other relevant experience.
The role of a healthcare security guard is multifaceted, always changing, and requires officers to adapt quickly and efficiently. It’s a job that usually requires previous experience because of the complexities of the work.
PalAmerican is revolutionizing the healthcare security sector through its people-first approach, accountability, strong customer-savvy relationships and powerful engagement with patients, hospital staff and the public alike.
Here are some of the necessary skills/requirements for being a healthcare security officer:
- The ability to remain calm under pressure,
- Have good judgment,
- Have an empathy-led mindset,
- Good physical fitness and strength,
- Ability to lift and drag 50 pounds.
- Strong customer service and communication skills,
- Knowledge of healthcare environments, such as what threats and vulnerabilities are present,
- The ability to form strong working relationships with hospital staff,
- Have a working knowledge of computers, including Microsoft Word.
When it comes to being a healthcare security officer, having an empathy-led approach is one of the best ways to deal with any issue that arises. Empathy-led security allows the officer to truly understand a patient or visitor and provide a response that helps address their needs. It could be as simple as lending an ear to their troubles or providing support and encouragement. It’s a simple method that can go a long way.
Effective communication and collaboration are essential in a healthcare environment. A strong relationship between security and hospital departments could be the difference in tough situations. If doctors, nurses, or hospital admin can trust security, emergency situations will go smoother and have a higher chance of ending positively.
Certifications and Qualifications
In most jurisdictions, Healthcare Security Officers must be licensed as a security officer/guard with the applicable local or state licensing agency. They must also be of legal age in the relevant state to acquire any required licenses.
They are generally required to have specialized de-escalation training and are limited by regulations regarding the physical tactics that can be used with patients. Some companies, like PalAmerican, offer training to new hires. Taser training is also a qualification that is looked upon positively but not necessarily in all locations. Finally, having CPR and First Aid certificates are beneficial for working in the healthcare industry.
In order to become a healthcare security guard, applicants must pass a criminal background check along with a drug screen and rescreen as necessary. While each state is different, various other health screening requirements, such as vaccination information, may be required prior to starting the job. Other screening includes:
- Past employment verification.
- Confirmation of required education and certification.
- Personality or psychological screening or testing.
- Driving records, where applicable.
Due to the nature of the job, de-escalation training is mandatory for healthcare security officers. Training, such as MOAB (Management of Aggressive Behavior), is an in-depth program that teaches people how to recognize, reduce, and manage violent and aggressive behavior. PalAmerican has been teaching MOAB training for years, and it’s helped our staff stay safe professionally.
Interested in learning about strategies for preventing and diffusing aggressive behavior? Read more here.
Interested in creating safe and secure healthcare environments with a highly trained team of security experts? Learn how Palamerican goes above and beyond!
Benefits and Opportunities for Advancement
While benefit packages vary depending on the company you work for, a healthcare security officer with PalAmerican will be offered the following:
- Competitive wages
- Company-paid training & uniforms
- A comprehensive benefits package that includes:
- Medical Insurance
- Life Insurance
- Dental Insurance
- Vision Insurance
- Paid vacation
- Sick days
Opportunities for Advancement
Working as a healthcare security guard can also be a rewarding career in terms of personal growth and development. It can provide you with invaluable skills, experience, and specialized training. You'll learn how to communicate effectively, de-escalate situations, develop strong problem-solving skills, and more. These skills are transferable to many other industries and can help you advance your career in the future.
PalAmerican has a promotion from within philosophy where employees can plot their career paths within PalAmerican. Our goal is not just to fill shifts; it’s to nurture careers and professionalize the security industry.
Ready to join our team to become a hospital security guard? Apply now to protect and serve hospital patients, staff, and visitors, to ensure a safe environment for all.