It's Time to End harassment and violence against healthcare workers
Have you ever been physically attacked or assaulted while doing your job?
Nurses and other front line caregivers are punched, kicked, spit on, groped, threatened, and harassed at work entirely too often. This status quo is not acceptable.
Pennsylvania has seen a string of high-profile incidents over the last two years, ranging from nurses held with scalpels at their necks in Hershey, a nurse sexually assaulted in Pittsburgh, and a nurse stabbed in the neck in the Lehigh Valley. More incidents happen every day. Most never make the news and many are never even reported.
It is already a felony to assault a healthcare worker in Pennsylvania. We believe in strong enforcement of the law, but we also know that simply prosecuting offenders isn’t the solution. We want to prevent violence, not just punish it after it has occurred.
- Changing the culture that treats violence and harassment as “just part of the job”
- Ensuring that nurses and front line caregivers have a real voice in safety and security in our own facilities
We work through our unions to promote safety, improve security, and assure our coworkers that violence and harassment are not accepted. When necessary, we also work together to hold management accountable and push them to implement better safety practices.
At one hospital, PASNAP members proposed over 20 recommendations to improve safety and security, which management ultimately accepted because they could see that the union was strong and united behind the effort.
In the Legislature
PASNAP helped to develop legislation to bring the issue of violence and harassment into the open and prevent incidents by giving direct caregivers a stronger voice in safety and security at their own facilities.
This legislation (HB 1658 and SB 815) would require every facility to create a violence prevention committee made up of at least half direct caregivers. The committee would perform annual risk assessments to identify safety and security threats, and develop a prevention program reducing/preventing violence. If management acted in bad faith in refusing to adopt reasonable recommendations made by the committee, the PA Department of Labor and Industry could hold the facility accountable through fines and penalties.