The American Nurses Association (ANA) applauded the U.S. House of Representatives for passing the Workplace Violence Prevention for Health Care and Social Service Workers Act (H.R. 1309) in November 2019. This legislation will require employers to implement comprehensive plans that protect healthcare professionals from violence in the workplace and prohibit acts of retaliation that discourage reporting of violent incidents.
“Nurses face varying degrees of physical and verbal abuse in healthcare settings across the country. This is not OK,” said ANA President Ernest J. Grant, PhD, RN, FAAN. “Nurses should never have to fear for their safe-ty when they deliver patient care. Workplace cultures that discourage nurses from reporting incidences of violence for fear of retribution and retaliation continue to be at the heart of this issue. Any barriers that impede reporting hamper progress to address workplace violence despite the presence of ‘zero tolerance’ policies.”
Grant added, “This bill helps reinforce the urgency for employers to implement plans that establish processes for reporting to better protect and empower their staff. ANA is indebted to the members of Congress who remain steadfast in addressing this public health issue. This bill is a step toward meaningful progress to end workplace violence in healthcare.”
Workplace violence continues to be a critical issue in today’s healthcare system and for nurses. In a 2019 American Nurse Today survey of over 5,000 nurses, 59% said they have been verbally assaulted by a patient. A 2016 ANA Health Risk Appraisal shows 1 in 4 have been physically assaulted by a patient or a patient’s family member. Safe work environments and quality care are critical to promote positive health outcomes for patients and communities. When health-care workers are safe, patients and communities can achieve better health outcomes. ANA works to ad-dress workplace violence through #EndNurseAbuse— a social movement that puts the spotlight on these alarming and frequent incidents and encourages nurses and patients to take a stand.Get updates on this legislation’s progress in the Senate and other actions at ANACapitolBeat.org and RNAction.org.