Hospitals must have a clear plan to protect nurses from violence, says National Nurses United leader

A leader for the largest union of registered nurses in the nation is calling on hospitals and health systems to implement comprehensive workplace violence prevention plans in the wake of an online video documenting the forcible, unlawful arrest of a University of Utah Hospital nurse.

In an article for The Salt Lake Tribune, Bonnie Castillo, BSN, RN, director of health and safety for National Nurses United, said nurses nationwide are standing with Alex Wubbels, RN. Ms. Wubbels was arrested July 26 for adhering to hospital policy that does not permit blood draws from unconscious patients without a warrant.

"There's no excuse for what happened to this heroic RN, who did not waiver in her patient advocacy, even when the result was being roughly handcuffed and detained," wrote Ms. Castillo. "In this moment, when nurses and the public are standing together in outrage over our sister being assaulted at work, it's important to remember that our collective voice can be used to protect not just Wubbles, but also nurses across the country, who face the potential of workplace violence every single day."

Ms. Castillo believes comprehensive workplace violence prevention plans are a practical step hospitals can take to prevent nurses from arm. Such plans should include an assessment of the specific needs of individual facilities, training for staff in the event of violence and safe staffing levels to prevent violence.

"In the case of Wubbles' assault, an armed police officer committing the violence understandably complicates matters," Ms. Castillo wrote. "However, the training built into this comprehensive workplace violence prevention standard includes education for all staff — including security guards — and also for coordinating agencies, including police departments. It's impossible to predict when or where violence will occur, but employers need to listen to nurses, think proactively and form a clear plan to keep nurses safe."

To read the complete article in The Salt Lake Tribune, click here

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