We need your support!! State Rep Bruce Ayers has introduced a bill HB 1164 which will stiffen penalties for assault on nurses, EMTs and other healthcare workers. If it becomes law it will be a felony to assault a healthcare worker, which is currently only a misdemeanor. Sheila WIllson, the President/CEO of stophealthcareviolence.orgrecently spoke at an open hearing at the statehouse with nurses who have been assaulted. For more information on this bill and other activities or to findout who your rep is visit the stophealthcareviolence.org website.
I urge you to call your rep today in support of HB1164. We need to be united in our fight against assault on healthcare workers!
Jeanne Ulmer BSN, RN
MA ENA Government Affairs Chair
Healthcare is challenging today and we face many issues that make caring for patients difficult. As emergency nurses we work in a high pressured area that is stimulating, demanding, unpredictable and dangerous. Violence against healthcare workers is on the rise in this country. A survey conducted by the ENA in 2011 found that 54% of ED nurses have been verbally assaulted and 11% have been physically assaulted. To date 31 states have laws in which assault against a healthcare worker is a felony, unfortunately Massachusetts is not one of them. Have you or someone you know ever been assaulted while working? Did you report it or did you just consider it a risk of your job?
Recently the government affairs committee began working with Sheila Wilson RN MPH, CEO of Stop Health Care Violence, a company founded by three ED nurses who were victims of assault while at work. Sheila is working with state representatives to get a bill into the legislation that will make assault on a healthcare worker a felony, this is a long and tedious process, but one which she is passionate about. You can get more information about Sheila's efforts and hear testimonies from nurses who have been assaulted and the effects the assault had on their ED careers by going to her website (stophealthcareviolence.org).
As government affairs Chair I look forward to working with Sheila to fight for tougher laws that will protect nurses and I encourage you to join me. We need to be one voice and make our legislators aware of the issues we face each day as emergency nurses. What are your thoughts on the ICU ratio that has been passed in Massachusetts? How do you think this will impact the emergency departments? Contact me email@example.com
Make your voices heard; join other emergency nurses from around the country for ENA Day on the Hill in Washington DC, April 28 and 29th. Go to ENA website for more information on this event.