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B.C. nurses 'Rise Up' to end workplace violence

Close to 500 nurses gathered outside of Vancouver's Art Gallery today as part of BC Nurses Union's "Rise Up" campaign focused on ending violence against health care professionals.

“The simple truth is nurses are subjected to more violence related injuries annually than police officers,” said President of BC Nurses Union Gayle Duteil.

"BC Nurses Union held a campaign to bring attention to this problem in 1989, and we've seen little to no improvement since.”

<who> Photo Credit: Contributed.

According to WorkSafe BC, health-care professionals are the most vulnerable of any workers to acts of violence, including verbal threats and physical violence.

In fact, health-care and social-services professionals reported more than 9,200 accepted claims for violence in 2015.

<who> Photo Credit: Contributed.

“Hospitals have long been considered a sanctuary,” said Duteil.

“I think our health care settings are just a microcosm of our communities and violence is increasing in society, so we're seeing that reflected in our hospitals and long-term care facilities.”

<who> Photo Credit: Contributed.

BC Nurses Union have recently released a series of television commercials that draw attention to workplace violence.

The "Rise Up" campaign has highlighted three demands for the province:

  • Two-way communication devices for each nurse, similar to what police officers use in the field.
  • Safety and security officers in hospitals across the province.
  • Change to federal legislation to make assaulting a nurse a felony.

"Right now public bus drivers have greater protection against violence than nurses do," explained Duteil.

"Nurses want to provide safe patient care every day and it's the government as well as the health authorities job to provide safety for their nurses."