The following statement is attributable to Pamela F. Cipriano, PhD, RN, NEA-BC, FAAN, president of the American Nurses Association (ANA):
“ANA is pleased that The Joint Commission has issued a Sentinel Event Alert on physical and verbal violence against health care workers. They reinforce the urgency to halt the cycle of harm and prevent, handle, and heal from incidents of violence in the workplace. In particular, we welcome its recommendations to employers to help reduce the incidence of violence across all health care settings and roles.
Evidence indicates that barriers to reporting exist and hamper progress despite the presence of “zero tolerance” policies. Employers must address the workplace culture that discourages health care workers from reporting for fear of retribution. In order to see real change, employers, individual nurses, and policymakers must work together to remove impediments to reporting. Only then we will begin to make impactful and long-lasting steps to truly eradicate this epidemic.
Nurses routinely face varying degrees of violence while on the job. A 2018 ANA survey revealed that 62 percent of nurses have personally experienced physical and verbal abuse on the job. ANA has bolstered our work to reverse the increasing assaults against nurses – including sexual harassment. ANA supports enforceable “zero tolerance” workplace policies and call on nurses and their employers to work together to prevent and reduce violent and abusive incidents. Even when faced with patients experiencing impaired judgement or mental status, it is essential that we keep nurses and all health care workers safe.
ANA launched #EndNurseAbuse for nurses, other health care professionals and the public to stand with nurses and is asking nurses to share their stories on workplace violence. Currently, almost 14,000 individuals have pledged to:
* Support zero tolerance policies for abuse against nurses.
* Report abuse against nurses whenever safely possible.
* Share the pledge and ask friends and family to sign.
Additionally, ANA will convene a panel of experts to address barriers to reporting abuse against nurses. With more than 4 million registered nurses, #EndNurseAbuse strives to foster safe work environments for the largest group of health care professionals.
ANA invites The Joint Commission and all citizens and organizations to collaborate on ways to get at the root of workplace violence to combat this critical issue.”