One in four nurses has been abused in the workplace. Overall, the likelihood of health care workers being exposed to violence is higher than prison guards or police officers. The stories nurses tell are horrifying, and all too common. Every day, nurses are stabbed, punched, grabbed, kicked, verbally assaulted, or worse.
Nurse abuse can be prevented, with collaborative approaches. For years, ANA has led the charge to end nurse abuse, raising awareness about the threats and pushing for administrative and legislative solutions at the federal level, and supporting nurse advocates at the state level. Yet few health care employers have developed suitable plans to prevent workplace violence, putting nurses and others at risk daily, just for doing their job. It is of the upmost importance to report abuse against nurses whenever it is safe to do so. Similarly, ANA continues to advocate for pathways for whistleblowers to come forward to report such abusive actions.
In February 2021, the House of Representatives introduced the Workplace Violence Prevention for Health Care and Social Service Workers Act, (H.R. 1195), which would require the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to develop enforceable standards requiring health care and social service employers to write and implement a workplace violence prevention plan to protect employees from violence incidents in the workplace. This legislation passed the House on April 16 with wide bipartisan support on a 254-166 vote. ANA is working with the bill sponsors to hopefully see its passage in both chambers and be signed into law by President Biden this Congress.