MEDIA CONTACTS: Zachary Levine, firstname.lastname@example.org
SILVER SPRING, MD—Today, the Workplace Violence Prevention for Health Care and Social Service Workers Act was introduced by Rep. Joe Courtney (D-CT) in the U.S. House of Representatives and Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI) in the U.S. Senate. This legislation would curb rising rates of on-the-job assaults against nurses and others health care professionals by directing the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to issue a standard requiring health care and social service employers to write and implement a workplace violence prevention plan to prevent and protect their employees from violent incidents.
The following statement is attributable to American Nurses Association (ANA) President Jennifer Mensik Kennedy, PhD, MBA, RN, NEA-BC, FAAN:
“Since the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic, we have seen a steady rise in incidents of violence against nurses and other health care professionals. And while this rise has been shocking and horrifying to witness, it cannot obscure the fact that for years, nurses have had to contend with the lurking menace of workplace violence. Often times, nurses do not feel safe to report when they experience any more of physical violence or mental abuse on the job.
A workplace culture that values silence over safety is just another form of violence. And while the marks they leave may not be as visible as a bruise, cut, or bite, they are deeply scarring in their own way, and can often push good, desperately needed nurses out of the profession. This bill will ensure that employers not only develop and implement plans to protect their staff, but that they also begin addressing existing barriers to reporting. This issue does not exist in a vacuum. If a health care institution is an unsafe place to work, then it is also an unsafe place to receive treatment. Fundamentally, the Workplace Violence Prevention for Health Care and Social Service Workers Act protects both providers and patients.
Nurses at risk of assault should not have had to wait for OSHA to act, which is why we are so grateful for the steadfast support of Rep. Courtney and Sen. Baldwin, who have guided this bill across multiple administrations I want to thank them for their support and efforts on this critical issue.”
A workplace survey from the American Nurses Foundation of more than 11,800 nurses between June 15 – July 5, 2022 found that almost one-third of respondents had experienced incidents of physical violence. Equally concerning is the revelation that as many as 80 percent of nurses don’t report acts of violence, often out of fear of retaliation and retribution. This culture of silence is killing nurses and endangering patients.
For years, ANA has led the charge to address workplace violence, by activating nurses where they work, launching a national campaign to end nurse abuse, pushing for meaningful laws and regulations at the federal level, and supporting nurse advocates in states. ANA has also convened a professional issues panel to develop policy, identify strategies to address barriers to nurses and other health care workers reporting violence and abuse, and to strengthen 'zero-tolerance' policies.
To learn more about ANA’s work to end nurse abuse and to download our #EndNurseAbuse resource guide, visit our website.
About the American Nurses Association
The American Nurses Association (ANA) is the premier organization representing the interests of the nation's 4.4 million registered nurses. ANA advances the profession by fostering high standards of nursing practice, promoting a safe and ethical work environment, bolstering the health and wellness of nurses, and advocating on health care issues that affect nurses and the public. ANA is at the forefront of improving the quality of health care for all. For more information, visit www.nursingworld.org