Health care organizations must do more to prevent violence against nurses

MISSISSAUGA, ON, July 26, 2016 /CNW/ - It won't come as a surprise to many that, unfortunately, nursing is one of the most dangerous jobs in Canada. Between 2008 and 2013, there were more than 4,000 reported incidents of workplace violence against nurses in Canada (incidents serious enough to prevent those nurses from going to work). There is no reason, however, why this should be the case.

Too many leaders of too many health care organizations continue to tolerate violence as 'part of a nurse's job'.  In the past week alone, there were media reports about an RPN being assaulted in the Schizophrenia Unit at St. Joseph's in Hamilton and another RPN suffering severe facial injuries, two broken ribs and being left unconscious after an attack at Royal Victoria Regional Health Centre in Barrie.

"Ontario health care organizations need to pay attention to this issue and determine how they're going to handle it," says Dianne Martin, Executive Director of RPNAO. "While they may not be able to prevent violence entirely, they can decide how they're going to deal with it. The onus is on health care organizations to put in place every mechanism possible to ensure this type of violence doesn't happen in the first place. Taking the view that 'these things happen' must never be our attitude."

Along with other nursing organizations, RPNAO continues to be involved in the development of tools to support nurses' knowledge and confidence in addressing workplace violence. And we are continuing to make progress. Ultimately, however, the greatest responsibility for this issue lies with the leaders of Ontario's health care organizations.

"These health care leaders have a real opportunity to demonstrate leadership on this issue and make their workplaces safer for employees," says Martin. "If they fail to do so, more nurses and other health care workers will be victims of violence. And the number of headlines will continue to grow."

About RPNAO
Founded in 1958, RPNAO is the voice of registered practical nursing in Ontario. There are approximately 39,000 RPNs working in Ontario, playing a vital role in the province's health care system. For more information about RPNAO, its mandate and how RPNs contribute to Ontario's health care system, please visit rpnao.org.

SOURCE Registered Practical Nurses Association of Ontario

For further information: Dianne Martin, Executive Director, 905-602-4664 ext. 226

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Registered Practical Nurses Association of Ontario

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