The BC Nurses’ Union brought its mission to end violence against nurses to the federal level this week, giving a presentation to the House of Commons Standing Committee on Health, a body that studies issues relating to the mandate, management and operation of Health Canada.
BCNU Executive Councillor Adriane Gear was joined by the union’s Occupational Health and Safety Director, Moninder Singh to speak to the committee about the growing epidemic of violence against nurses in British Columbia and the rest of Canada.
“All too often, we hear statements like ‘Violence IS part of the job’ and ‘Is it really a crime?’ It is this lack of understanding that motivates all of us at BCNU to work towards changing this culture,” Gear reported. “From a nurse manager in an emergency room, to a federal politician in parliament, we believe the safety of our nurses is everyone’s responsibility.”
The presentation acknowledged much of the work BCNU has done to engage with all levels of government, to help ensure nurses’ needs are met. It also highlighted union recommendations aimed at reducing violent incidents, such as adding appropriately trained security personnel, improving nurse staffing, enforcing existing zero-tolerance violence policies and reducing overcrowding in hospitals.
Comprehensive statistics and data, collected through BCNU-commissioned surveys and WorkSafeBC reports conducted over the last few years, were also presented to the committee.
“According to a survey we conducted in 2017, more than 40 per cent of nurses said they were thinking of leaving the profession entirely because of workplace violence,” said Gear. “It is this level of despair that pushes us at BCNU to keep asking, ‘Why?”
To listen to the full presentation, click here.
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