UPDATE: Federal Legislation on Workplace Violence Against Nurses Passes House and sent to Senate
On November 22, 2019, the Occupational Health and Safety (OSHA) published an update stating that recent data suggests workplace violence and harassment against nurses is on the rise. The ANA 2019 annual nursing trends survey showed that 59% of nurses report some form of assault from a patient and 43% an assault from a visitor.
In Idaho, the ANA-Idaho 2019 spring survery of issues nurses experienced in the workplace identifed "workplace violence," including physical attack, to be the NUMBER ONE issue that nurses were concerned about. Thus, ANA-Idaho and Nurse Leaders of Idaho sponsored the keynote address at the 2019 LEAP conference to be workplace violence.
To this end, the ANA and AONL worked to seek passage of HR-1309, Workplace Violence Prevention for Healthcare & Social Service Workers Act. The legislation was introduced in the U.S. House of Representatives on February 19, 2019. ANA-Idaho representatives supported HR-1309 when they were in Washington DC for "Hill Day" during the ANA House of Delegates. They met with the staffs of our 2 elected representatives. Neither Representative Simpson nor Representative Fulcher had time to meet with the nurses from Idaho.
HR-1309 passed the House on November 21, 2019, without the support of the Idaho representatives. Unfortunately for Idaho nurses, neither Representative Simpson nor Representative Fulcher have provided an explanation to the 30,000 Idaho nurses, who are voters, why they did not support this legislation that serves to protect nurses.
The bill has now gone to the Senate and has been read twice and referred to the Committee on Health, Education, Labor and Pension. Idaho nurses should contact Senators Risch and Crapo if they support nurses getting the protections outlined in the bill against being the victims of workplace violence.