Nurses rallied in Sacramento today at the Capitol for the tens of thousands of healthcare workers who are attacked on the job each year. Nationwide, more than 19,000 healthcare workers report being assaulted annually, or one every 30 minutes. Nurses shared their personal stories, signed a memorial banner, and pledged to stand together to end the pandemic of workplace violence.
This year marks the fifth anniversary of the murder of psych tech Donna Gross by a known violent patient at Napa State Hospital. Nurses who spoke at today’s event said that little has changed since Donna’s death to make the healthcare industry safer.
Healthcare workers face extremely high levels of violence on the job, including physical, emotional, sexual, and verbal assaults. According to Cal/OSHA, nearly 5,000 incidents of workplace violence in healthcare settings were reported in California from 2010-2012. Many more go unreported.
“We need to work together to ensure that a clear Cal/OSHA standard is developed so that no other healthcare provider or their patients are harmed by workplace violence.” – Jeff Rockholt, RN
Nurses from around California all spoke to this fundamental issue: If we aren’t safe at work, how can our patients be safe? If we are working in fear, how can our patients get the quality care they deserve? They were joined by Assemblymembers Freddie Rodriguez and Rob Bonta and Senator Richard Pan, an outspoken advocate for healthcare workers.
“We need to ensure that healthcare workers are safe and that patients get the outstanding care they deserve. I am proud to be here with you. I continue to stand with you and we will see this through. Violence is not part of the job.” – Senator Richard Pan, MD
SEIU 121RN and SEIU Nurse Alliance of California are working to get Cal/OSHA to put a regulation in place around workplace violence prevention for all of California’s healthcare workers through the California Safe Care Standard campaign. After five public meetings to discuss the specifics of what will go into the regulation, the final draft is entering the formal rulemaking process and by June 2016, California will be the first state in the country to have a comprehensive, enforceable standard around the hazard.
Kathy Hughes, RN, co-lead of the California Safe Care Standard campaign, concluded with a moment of silence for all healthcare workers killed or injured on the job: “We shouldn’t be afraid to go to work. We shouldn’t worry that we might not make it home at the end of our shift.”