Gov. Deval Patrick recently signed a law that stiffens penalties for people who assault nurses and other health care workers. A June 2008 study by the Massachusetts Nurses Association showed that health care workers are 16 times more likely to face violence on the job than in any other service profession. A 2007 study by the national Emergency Nurses Association found that half of ER nurses had been punched at least once in two years.
It's a dangerous job. But some health consumer advocates are concerned about the new law. What constitutes "assault" — and would mentally unstable patients be prosecuted?
Listeners, have you ever seen violence in the emergency room? Or maybe you have been restrained after a crisis? Are you a nurse who fears violence in the workplace? Join the conversation in the comments.
- Linda Condon, emergency room nurse at Morton Hospital, Taunton
- Karen Coughlin, nurse at Taunton State Hospital; vice president of the Massachusetts Nurse Association
- Nicki Glasser, Board Member, MPower
This program aired on July 12, 2010.