Violence in Nursing
A major problem in today’s healthcare setting is violence against nurses and other health workers as a form of retaliation by patients and even senior hospital staff. This violence reduces the ability of nurses to provide the best level of care for patients. In this situation, nurses should put their advocacy aptitude to test in advocating for each other and the entire nursing profession (Walker et al., 2015). Nursing advocates should lean towards the caring model, which facilitates a clear outline for advocating for co-workers and patients. With the caring model, a nurse begins with the assumption that the individual he/she is working with has skills that are valuable, that they are working hard, that they want to learn and improve, and that they have the best intentions. When nurses begin with such an attitude, it gives the individual the best opportunity for asserting control of his/her situation and attaining success (Walker et al., 2015). Even though the implementation of the caring model is in its infancy stages in hospitals across the country, the institutions are already witnessing an increase in understanding, empathy, and awareness among nurses.
In 2017, the state of California passed legislation aimed at tackling violence at the workplace. The California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board approved rules to mitigate workplace violence in health care institutions. The legislation is called SB 1299. The California Nurses Association/National Nurses United (CNA/NNU) sponsored the bill. The bill will have profound effects for nurses at the clinical setting.
The legislation is considered a landmark regulation and a model for the federal government and other states. It requires all healthcare providers to create a comprehensive plan for the prevention of violence at the workplace. The plans must examine threats as well as risk of verbal and physical attacks and how to reduce the risk. Nurses must be included in the planning. The guidelines require competency validation, hands-on-training, and technical controls like alarms. SB 1299 includes the whole health facility, even the parking garages. Further, it requires internal incident records and reporting to the California Occupational Safety and Health Standards Board even if an incident saw no injury. In addition, there is a provision that bans reprisal if a nurse calls or reports an incident to law enforcement. The legislation ensures that all healthcare institutions are therapeutic and safe. Nurses cannot facilitate the level of care required by their patients if they are unsafe. If nurses are at risk, then everybody within the healthcare setting is unsafe. Therefore, as the legislation ensures that nurses are safe, it raises the level of care in a hospital. This should be enforced at the national level.
A key feature of nursing advocacy at the legislative level is to hold firmly to the competencies and procedures that ensure both patients and nurses are safe, as well as including nurses in deciding how evidence-based practices and guidelines will be implemented. A good illustration of this kind of advocacy is discussed above. The California Nurses Association/National Nurses United (CNA/NNU) sponsored the SB 1299 bill, which ensures that nurses are protected from workplace violence. Since nurses form a core part of the healthcare workforce, they can use this position to ensure that policymakers enforce laws that not only protect them but also other healthcare workers.
Walker, D. K., Barton-Burke, M., Saria, M. G., Gosselin, T., Ireland, A., Norton, V., & Newton, S. (2015). Everyday advocates: nursing advocacy is a full-time job. AJN The American Journal of Nursing, 115(8), 66-70.