A new province-wide campaign is aiming to shed light on the dangerous side of nursing.
The BC Nurses’ Union (BCNU) is hoping the campaign will create awareness about the fact that violence is B.C. health facilities is on the rise.
“We are determined to see a number of solutions come from this awareness campaign, including the addition of trained security personnel at sites 24/7, enhanced education in workplace violence and legislated changes to the criminal code for harsher sentences for those who perpetuate violence against nurses,” said BCNU President, Gayle Duteil.
According to a 2015 report from WorkSafeBC, the overall injury rate due to workplace violence has increased more than 50% since 2006.
Over the past decade, 9,231 injury claims due to violence have been accepted from health care and social services workers, which is nearly three injuries a day.
“When it comes to nurses, there’s a chronic underreporting of violent incidents,” Duteil said. “Often when it is reported, the manager comes back and says, ‘what could you have done differently?’”
Duteil says that’s like blaming the spouse for getting beaten and that management and the public need to be educated that this is not part of the job.
The stories behind these incidents are the driving force behind the BCNU campaign.
One of those stories involves Virna Bation, a nurse who’s worked in elder care for 17 years and never expected her job would ever take a violent turn.
That’s exactly what happened, however, when a 75-year-old patient became agitated and bit Bation during treatment.
The bite was so bad, Bation had to go to the emergency department and was unable to work for three months.
“The pain was excruciating,” said Bation. “Emotionally and physically, I was really distraught. When I remember what happened, I feel shaky.”
The campaign’s television ad has now started broadcasting around the province.
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