For Immediate Release
Contact: Erin Silk, 518.782.9400, ext 224
LATHAM, November 1, 2010 - Beginning today, the Violence Against Nurses law takes effect, making it a felony to assault a registered nurse (RN) or licensed practical nurse (LPN) while on duty. The law, which was signed on Aug. 14, was a top priority for the New York State Nurses Association, which represents more than 37,000 registered nurses statewide.
Nurses who report to work often face acts of violence while caring for patients. Hospitals have characteristics that create unsafe working environments, including the unrestricted movement by the general public through facilities. Gang members, drug or alcohol abusers, trauma patients, mentally ill patients and distraught family members may create additional risks. Understaffed units lead to isolated work with patients during exams or treatment. Shift work often requires nurses to arrive and leave hospitals during darkness, increasing the risk of assault. Additionally, nursing is a female-dominated profession that has not been considered as dangerous as traditionally male-dominated professions, such as law enforcement or emergency medical response.
“Providing for a felony charge against those who assault an RN or LPN at work will encourage employers to take action to address violence that occurs in the workplace and signals to nurses that it’s time to speak up about the violence they experience on the job,” said Tina Gerardi, MS, RN, CAE, Nurses Association CEO. “Any deterrent that encourages a potential attacker to think before they assault a nurse on duty is a positive step towards increased safety for everyone.”
The New York State Nurses Association is the voice for nursing in the Empire State. With more than 37,000 members, it is the state's largest professional association and largest union for registered nurses. It supports nurses and nursing practice through education, research, legislative advocacy, and collective bargaining.
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