Hawaii nurses union calls for 'zero tolerance' workplace violence policies

The Hawaii Nurses Association is calling on officials at Queen's Medical Center to intervene with new policies to protect staff amid increased incidents of violence at facilities across the state, according to a Nov. 8 press release from the organization.

"Violence and sexual assaults perpetrated against the nursing staff seem to have worsened over the past year, but the nurses’ complaints are not being taken seriously," said Daniel Ross, Hawaii Nurses’ Association president. "We’re demanding Queen’s implement a zero-tolerance policy for violence and threats of violence to put an end to this dangerous work environment and immediately discharge patients who threaten or inflict violence on nurses."

The union cited increased incidents of violence against nursing staff throughout the letter, also calling on leaders to immediately discharge patients who threaten or inflict violence. 

"The Hawaii Nurses’ Association is also urgently demanding that nurses at Hale Pulama Mau to stop being assigned more patients than nurses at other medical-surgical units at Queen's and that Hale Pulama Mau have 24/7 security presence to protect staff and patients," Mr. Ross said.

The Queen's Medical Center said "patient and staff safety is the highest priority" in a statement to Becker's.

"Workplace violence is a troubling issue, nationally and locally, and we take all reports of violence against our patients and staff seriously. We have convened a Workplace Violence Prevention Committee which is committed to implementing best practices addressing workplace violence, and we look forward to continuing to work with our nurses, our employees, and our unions to keep staff safe when caring for our patients," said Cedric Yamanaka, director of corporate communications at The Queen's Health Systems. 

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