Health care facilities implement alert assessment for violent patients

Publish date: Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Health and safety

MNU President

Sandi Mowat

Workplace issues/practices

Over the coming months, a new workplace safety and health policy will go into effect in Winnipeg emergency rooms. The new regulation, based on one of MNU’s recommendations from a 2011 report - Violence against nurses in Manitoba, will give nurses the ability to place an alert on the medical charts of patients deemed to be violent or verbally abusive.

In some cases, violent patients might have to wear special bracelets to warn staff of their behaviour.

"We know from our member research that emergency room nurses experience physical violence at least once per week,” said MNU president Sandi Mowat and co-chair of the Provincial Advisory Group on Violence Prevention. “If nurses are made aware of the potential for violence, they will be better prepared to treat the patient as well as protect themselves.”

The new alert system is being rolled out across the province and is in various stages of implementation.

Violence against nurses has risen steadily over the last few years and has reached a point where it is expected and even accepted part of the nursing profession. Based on a recent MNU survey, 10 per cent of our members have stated they had to learn to normalize and accept violence as part of their jobs. 

On an international scale, the situation is no different; an overwhelming 72 per cent of nurses do not feel safe from assault in their workplace.

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