Nurses and healthcare staff feel unsupported and leaving the field altogether due to unsafe work environments and lack of organizational support.
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Nurses and all those that help us with our jobs are at risk for our safety, have less than adequate training which should focus on prevention, not solely on the de-escalation of verbally aggressive patients and their families. We are losing nurses and healthcare staff every day and feel as if we do not have a voice, as our employers discourage us to report, make every effort to silence us while making vicious retaliation attacks, by also using micromanagement and attempts to ruin careers. When we do report an incident or injured on the job, we are frowned upon, made an example of and many have lost their jobs because of the injuries they received. There are many issues that still need to be addressed with the Workplace Violence Bill 1309, that was recently passed.
Workplace Violence Bill 1309
Other areas that need to be added for clarity:
1) Clear reporting on the computerized program for reporting incidents, to not be under the tabs labeled “miscellaneous” or “provision of care”. By having the titles unclear, the reports are not accessible to count.
2) Implement anonymous reporting for workers who are afraid to report, encrypted by a government system so the employer cannot detect the person to retaliate against.
3) Offer therapeutic services as a 3rd party vendor and no way connected to the partnered agency. This will enable the healthcare provider to feel safe and move onto recovery.
4) Overhaul OSHA’s system to have a healthcare sector that does not make recommendations but instead, OSHA will enforce investigation of retaliation within the organization.
5) Behavior Prevention programs designed with systemwide training that is not monopolized by a single company and have frameworks applied that target the problem. It should be mandatory for all healthcare agencies to build from the provided extensive frameworks without the healthcare worker being penalized by losing their job for making an error by hyperextending an inch farther due to fear of being injured or trying to shield and protect themselves.
6) Lateral violence of demeaning, hateful, targeted behavior to another staff member including turning pumps off without a rationale, not assisting with potentially violent or upset patients or family members, and not blending the acuity fairly with the patient assignments, should not be tolerated.
7) Implement acuity to patient ratios with algorithms to assist and color coding to mild to severity patient care, including mental health incorporated with medical.
8) Mental health/addiction in nursing education is subpar and schools are not preparing nurses for the reality of societal trends, resulting in the newly graduated nurse not being prepared. This includes behavior from other nurses or healthcare staff that have endured high levels of stress, burn-out, and PTSD. According to the recent ANA study, 1 in 4 nurses are suffering from workplace violence, and these represent those individuals that have reported.
9) Organizations to offer light-duty positions for all healthcare workers. Many nurses and healthcare staff would rather continue to work while injured and should have this option.
10) Organizations should not use personal time off that is accrued for injuries that occurred on the clock, and the employer’s obligation to keep the healthcare worker safe. Instead, organizations have been taking the earned time off to supplement the employee’s time off from work. This is a form of retaliation, as the recipient is a victim of violence.
11) Workers Compensation should cover mental health, including PTSD for employees that witness severe self-injurious behavior (suicide) of the patient or the person being attacked by a patient.
12) Penalties to employers with high turn-over and investigated for the root of the issue, such as employees being afraid to come forward, and offer a retraining program to assist in the retention of healthcare staff.
13) Increased security measures, cameras in all garages, hallways including patient rooms, drug and weapon dogs, police officers with tasers — more than 1–2 security personnel in the facility. Trained behavior techs, CNA’s and nurses should be on every unit in every facility, to have an enhanced violent code team that immediately intervenes without a delay of a code team to arrive.
14) Streamline police reports through the reporting system and the police to take the report on-site and not on the employee’s own time. The incident happened during working hours and should not be penalized to report it on their own time.
15) Have therapists round the clock who are in-house to assist with patients suffering from acute mental illness, or escalating to be called for assistance.
16) All patients that consciously threaten to cause bodily harm, stalk, harass, physically attack or cause the worker to fear for their own safety should be held accountable and punished to the fullest extent of the law. If the patient was incompetent, the employer should be held accountable.
Do you feel safe at work?
9,510 participants reached, 547 votes 71% No 29% Yes
Have you suffered Lateral/Horizontal Violence from co-workers or administration?
5,971 participants reached, 279 votes 81% Yes 19% No
Please sign and share this petition as we are on the verge of making a huge impact in our profession. More things will be added along the way, but this is the data from doctoral project research, and from all valued members who participate in Nurses Against Violence Unite, Inc. Without your voice, we cannot get the protection we need to feel safe in our roles. This is the change that We have been asking years for…Our Time is NOW!!
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