Nurses from around the province descend on the legislature steps in Victoria Thursday to deliver 25,000 postcards to B.C.’s Health Minister while calling for more to be done to create a safer workplace.
The postcards, each individually signed by a member of the public, are part of the B.C. Nurses Union campaign Violence is NOT Part of the Job. According to the union, 26 nurses a month suffer a violent injury at work, and account for 31 per cent of all injuries from acts of violence in B.C.
“Bruises, black eyes, racial slurs, concussions, chipped teeth are patient injuries that nurses frequently see in hospital, community and residential care. However, the problem with this description is that nurses are increasingly also being treated for the latter injuries due to violence in their workplaces,” union president Christine Sorensen said in a statement.
The union has long advocated for nurse safety, launching its first anti-violence campaign in 1992. Statistics released by the union say that the overall injury rate due to workplace violence has increased by 50 per cent since 2006.
While the statistics are alarming, Sorensen said, “they are entirely preventable, and this is supported by evidence.”
During the last provincial election all three party leaders signed a candidate pledge that, if elected, they would work to advocate for a violence-free workplace.
“The government needs to act now to honour their pre-election pledge to create safer workplaces and province the security to keep nurses safe,” the union said in a statement earlier this week.
In May, nurses rallied in Vancouver, that time calling on Labour Minister Harry Bains to include nurses in the province’s latest PTSD legislation, which will amend the Workers Compensation Act to add post-traumatic stress disorder and other mental injuries to a list of “presumptive conditions,” no longer requiring workers to prove their disease or disorder is work-related.
Following several calls by union president Christine Sorensen to increase security at Coquitlam’s Forensic Psychiatric Hospital, the Provincial Health Services Authority announced more staff and expanded training would be implemented at the facility.
Black Press Media has asked the ministry of health for comment.