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New nurses survey released by PASNAP Union indicates fear regarding workplace violence

05.27.12

JUNE 2012, Allentown/Bethlehem/Easton edition of The Union News

New nurses survey released by PASNAP Union indicates fear regarding workplace violence

BY PAUL TUCKER
THEUNIONNEWSABE@AOL.COM

REGION, May 15th- The Pennsylvania Association of Staff Nurses and Allied Professionals (PASNAP) Union, which represents nurses employed at medical centers in Philadelphia, Wilkes-Barre and Scranton, released a survey of 25,000 Registered Nurses (RN’s) regarding workplace safety.

The survey was released on May 8th, and shows nurses are concerned about staffing, and workplace violence.

The report indicated that nurses continue to be alarmed by chronic unsafe nurse staffing at their facilities and that most believe they have much less time to spend with their patients than in prior years.

“These results clearly show that the issues of adequate staffing and patient safety continue to dominate the concerns of Pennsylvania nurses. All of the academic research lines up with the day to day concerns of nurses, minimum nurse to patient ratios would both keep patients safer and save millions for the health care system.

This new survey confirms what front line nurses have been saying for years, the hospitals industry should listen,” stated PASNAP member Patricia Eakin, an emergency department nurse at Temple University Hospital in Philadelphia.

Legislation was introduced in the Pennsylvania House of Representatives in November, 2011 which would require Pennsylvania hospitals and other health care facilities to take proactive steps to protect nurses and other health care workers from suffering violence on the job.

House Bill 1992 was supported by PASNAP and would require hospitals to assess the security risks in their facilities, find ways to create a safer workplace, and help victims of violence report incidences.

The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) released data in November 2011 that showed the incidence rate for health care workers that require days away from work because of nonfatal occupational injuries increased 6 percent in 2010. There were 283 cases per 10,000 full-time workers, almost 2 1/2 times the rate for all private and public sector workers at 118 cases per 10,000 full-time workers.

The rate among nursing aids, orderlies and attendants rose 7 percent to 489 per 10,000 workers. Also, the rate of musculoskeletal disorder cases with days away from work for nursing aids, orderlies and attendants increased 10 percent to a rate of 249 cases per 10,000 workers.

The PASNAP survey revealed a significant uptick in verbal and physical violence directed on the job. The union is affiliated with the California Nurses Association (CNA). The CNA is a member of the American Federation of Labor and the Congress of Industrial Organizations (AFL-CIO) labor federation in Washington, DC.

Eighty percent of surveyed nurses say that during the past five years they have had less time for their patients, citing low nurses-to-patient ratios as the main cause, and that 70 percent believe that having less time with each patient has negatively effected patient outcomes.

Other findings of the survey found that 46 percent of all nurses feel that threats to their safety and workplace violence are issues on their unit and 24 percent of nurses plan to retire in the next 3 years, 48 percent in the next 10 years.

“It is unacceptable that the workers who have dedicated their lives to caring for our loved ones when they are sick are the very same workers who face the highest risk of work-related injury and illness,” stated OSHA’s Assistant Secretary, Dr. David Michaels.

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