NY law makes violence against nurses a felony
Handling difficult patients is expected by those going into the nursing profession, but most don’t expect to be physically attacked. Nurses are routinely spit on, kicked, shoved, and verbally abused by patients, and a recent law in New York now classifies such actions as felonies.
On Tuesday, November, 2, The Violence Against Nurses law went into effect in New York state, offering nurses the same protection as provided to police officers, firefighters, and emergency medical technicians, reports the (Albany) Times-Union. Patients who physically attack nurses could serve seven years in prison.
Eileen Avery is the associate director of education, practice, and research at the New York Nurses Association. She believes that nurses are going to feel empowered by this new law, while also acknowledging that nurses know that physical altercations come with the profession.
A study by the Emergency Nurses Association found that between 8% and 13% of ED nurses experience physical violence each week from their patients, the Times-Union reported. The study surveyed 3,211 nurses from May 2009-2010. It also found that having safety precautions such as panic buttons and alarms reduced physical violence, and areas that were well lit decreased acts of violence.
Have you ever been attached by a patient? What actions does your healthcare facility take when a nurse is physically attacked?
Protect your staff and patients from violence in the emergency department. Violence in healthcare—like the recent incident at Johns Hopkins Hospital—is on the rise. Join HCPro for Violence in the ED: Proven Strategies to Keep Your Facility Safe, a 90-minute Webcast where you’ll learn a five-step approach to keeping your staff and patients safe. Our experienced speakers will also guide you through regulatory requirements related to workplace violence and provide action plans to train staff to handle unruly patients and prevent dangerous situations.