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National Nurses Organizing Committee (NNOC), an affiliate of National Nurses United, the largest U.S. organization of nurses, is sponsoring a campaign to reinforce that “It’s not OK to hit a nurse.” The campaign was inspired partly by recent incidents of violence against nurses.
NNOC — Florida, which represents thousands of Florida registered nurses, is sponsoring a national conference of NNOC nurses from Texas, California, Missouri, Kansas, and Nevada, all of whom are also calling for stepped-up action to reduce hospital violence. Model legislation on the issue was enacted in California in September 2014. Like the California law, proposed legislation in Florida would require hospitals to have comprehensive plans to assess and reduce factors that contribute to hospital violence, including inadequate staffing and security.
Such plans also would need to include personnel education and training programs to recognize and respond to potential violence, and improved reporting requirements.
U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics demonstrates that healthcare workers are far more likely to be the victims of workplace violence than other workers. In 2007 a report commissioned by the National Institute of Occupational and Environmental Health found that nurses have the highest rate of victimization among occupations in the healthcare industry.
According to a study published in 2014 by the Journal of Emergency Nursing, 76% of nurses with 10 years of experience or more reported that within the last year they had been the victims of workplace violence, and 30% of that violence was physical violence. While the Occupational Safety and Health Administration has issued guidelines for workplace violence prevention programs in hospitals, there is no federal statute that mandates that hospitals follow them.