Thanks for keeping us safe! International Security Officers’ Day 24 July

Photo of Chris Dickenson and colleague Tommy Touloupas

Saturday 24 July is International Security Officers’ Day, an opportunity to thank our Monash Health Security Team for keeping us safe, 24/7.

“Security within a health facility is a very specialised field within the broader security industry because of the unique mix of skills required. The team performs an amazing job in very challenging circumstances,” says Steve Bills, Director, Security and Emergency Management at Monash Health.

“The skill of our security officers to communicate with and de-escalate highly agitated people, while displaying empathy, compassion and understanding of the circumstances is a credit to them and the vital role they play in the organisation,” he adds.

The Security Team are called to de-escalate incidents of clinical aggression across Monash Health sites on a regular basis. They work with a diverse range of employees, from our mental health and inpatient wards, to patients with dementia and delirium at our sub acute sites.

Andrew Perta, Acting Chief Operating Officer says, “the fantastic service our Security Team provides is not just an extension of the patient care we offer. The Team supports our people to feel safe at work, and helps to create a welcoming environment for our community.”

Unsurprisingly, as the largest healthcare provider in the State, Monash Health also has the largest security team in the Victorian health sector. There are currently 70 security personnel in permanent roles across five hospitals and three community sites. Contracted security employees are also part of the team at Casey Hospital, and a pool of almost 40 casuals are available to provide additional support as required.

To mark International Security Officers’ Day, we caught up with Chris Dickenson, Security Officer In Charge, Dandenong Hospital, for an insight into the world of Monash Health security.

Profile: Chris Dickenson, Security Officer in Charge

Please tell us a little bit about yourself and your role?

I’ve been with Monash Health for nearly seven years after moving across from The Alfred Hospital. I am currently in charge of the Day Shift Security Team at Dandenong Hospital. I really enjoy my role and am lucky that I have such a supportive team.

What does a day-in-the-life look like in your role?

Patrolling, static postings, and responding to wards are some of the tasks we undertake daily. We must exhibit sound judgement under extreme pressure at times, and remain calm in all circumstances. Being able to engage with all types of patients, stakeholders, and members of the multi-disciplinary team we work with makes maintaining strong relationships invaluable. We often receive feedback from Monash Health employees on how helpful we are in de-escalating an agitated patient, but also our contribution in managing the whole atmosphere during an incident.  

Our team works collaboratively to ensure the safety and effectiveness of the day-to-day running of one the busiest hospitals in the South Eastern catchment. We strive to support all our wards and Monash Health employees on site, and encourage a team environment. We offer the highest customer service to every person that steps through the doors of the hospital and hold no prejudice to anyone. We continue to extend those high standards to new employees who join the Security Team and guide them as they settle into their new positions.

What is the best thing about your role?

Seeing customers leave the site with a smile or with a ‘thank you for your help’ is rewarding. Using compassion and empathy to get positive outcomes in less than ideal situations is what I strive for.


Feature image: L-R Chris Dickenson and colleague Tommy Touloupas.

Written by Steve Bills and Chris Dickenson

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