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Nurses frequently suffer workplace injury from violence

For most people in British Columbia, going to the hospital is something they do to get well. However, for many workers in the health care industry, hospitals are the very places that put them at risk for a workplace injury. In fact, a recent study by the Canadian Federation of Nurse Unions reveals that going to work can be a dangerous thing for most nurses.

While only 15 percent of workers in other industries say they are victims of abuse or assault on the job, a shocking 61 percent of nurses say they routinely face harassment and mistreatment at work. While many nurses say the abuse is mostly verbal, more than 40 percent of injuries resulting from workplace violence are suffered by nurses. The profession with the second highest rate of injuries from violence was law enforcement at 14 percent.

As a result, nurses have a high rate of absenteeism to recover, both physically and mentally, from their injuries. In an environment that is statistically more prone to violence, nursing advocates say many areas need to be addressed, including risk management. Construction workers and public transit bus drivers have laws protecting them from injury and violence, but nurses have no such protections.

Fortunately, nurses in British Columbia do have protections from workers' compensation if their injuries require medical treatment or time off work. However, psychological trauma from an assault may be a difficult thing to prove to an employer or insurance company. Many nurses find the assistance of a lawyer benefits them as they navigate the complexities of seeking compensation for a workplace injury.

Source: theglobeandmail.com, "Workplace abuse comes at steep cost for nurses, taxpayers", Jared Lindzon, June 28, 2017

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