The Michigan Nurses Association today applauded introduction of a bipartisan legislative plan to protect nurses and other health care workers from workplace violence, sponsored by Rep. Richard Steenland of Roseville.
Steenland’s plan, Michigan House Bill 5530, would require hospitals and public health departments to establish a workplace violence prevention program created with input from frontline workers; provide training and reporting procedures for employees; and track and disclose violent incidents.
“We shouldn’t have to put up with abuse, but nurses and other health care workers deal with violence on the job on a regular basis,” said Jamie Brown, RN, president of the Michigan Nurses Association. “Whether it is a patient, visitor or family member, no one has the right to attack a health care worker. Rep. Steenland’s bill makes that clear and will go a long way toward preventing the violence that takes a heavy toll on us health care workers and hurts our ability to do our jobs.”
Workplace violence against health care workers can include everything from verbal harassment to punching, biting, kicking, strangling, sexual assault, and even fatal attacks.
The health care and social service industries experience the highest rates of injuries caused by workplace violence and are five times as likely to suffer a workplace violence injury than workers overall, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics; statistics show that violence against health care workers is on the rise. Healthcare workers accounted for 73 percent of all workplace injuries and illnesses due to violence in 2018, the most recent year for which numbers are available.
“From having health care professionals in my immediate family, I know personally that violence against nurses, doctors and others is far too prevalent,” Steenland said. “We need to do everything we can to take care of those who take care of us. The people who understand the problem and the solutions best are the ones doing the work every day. This plan will allow frontline health care workers to help create policies to protect themselves and their colleagues and focus on preventing violence before it takes place.”
The Michigan Nurses Association is the largest union and professional association of registered nurses and healthcare professionals in Michigan, representing approximately 13,000 members across the state. MNA is an affiliate of National Nurses United.
Contact: Amelia Dornbush, 517-896-7478