Rep. Gabbard Backs Legislation to Improve Nurse Safety

March 9, 2018, 2:02 PM HST (Updated March 9, 2018, 2:02 PM)
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Rep. Tulsi Gabbard, Co-Chair of the House Nursing Caucus, joined fellow lawmakers in introducing the Health Care Workplace Violence Prevention Act of 2018 to improve the safety of nurses and other healthcare workers. Workplace violence in healthcare facilities has been linked to decreased productivity, increased employee turnover, and reduced quality of patient care. According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 52% of all workplace violence in 2014 involved workers in the healthcare industry. The Health Care Workplace Violence Prevention Act would strengthen requirements on workplace violence prevention plans at hospitals and healthcare facilities in Hawai‘i and across the country. This bill is supported by National Nurses United, which represents more than 150,000 registered nurses across the country.

Rep. Tulsi Gabbard at the nursing caucus. Courtesy photo.

“Nurses and healthcare workers are at high risk for violence in the workplace– including strangling, punching, kicking, and even stabbings and shootings,” said Rep. Gabbard. “This threatens the personal safety of our healthcare workforce and impacts their ability to do their job and care for patients in need. Our legislation will require healthcare facilities to develop and enforce violence prevention plans to keep our healthcare workers safe and empower them to continue serving our communities.”

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“National Nurses United applauds the introduction of the Heath Care Workplace Violence Prevention Act. If passed, this legislation would have a dramatic impact on the lives of nurses, healthcare workers, and patients across the country,” said Bonnie Castillo, RN, Executive Director of National Nurses United. “Nurses and other healthcare workers regularly suffer violent incidents while caring for patients at the bedside. We know that the frequency and severity of these violent attacks can be drastically reduced through workplace violence prevention plans that are specific to the needs of each facility and are created with input from nurses and other workers. We thank Congresswoman Gabbard for supporting this bill, and we urge every Member of Congress to do so.”

“There is a need to recognize the risks that healthcare employees face just going to work.  We support a focused discussion that makes progress towards protecting the people who care for us and our families,” said Hilton Raethel, president and CEO of the Healthcare Association of Hawai‘i

Background: Rep. Gabbard serves as Co-Chair of the House Nursing Caucus with Rep. David Joyce (OH-14). The congresswoman joined a bipartisan group of lawmakers to introduce H.R.959, Title VIII Nursing Workforce Reauthorization Act in February of 2017. The bipartisan legislation would reauthorize federal funding for nursing workforce and education programs to help grow and support nurses across the United States. The congresswoman has also hosted a congressional briefing focused on the severe shortage of nurses in Hawai‘i and across the country.

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