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New bills would protect nurses from violent attacks by patients and their families

nurse dressing wound on hand
Nurses are urging the state legislature to pass bills to crack down on workplace violence.

Nurses are urging the state legislature to pass bills to better protect them from violent attacks by patients and patients' families.

Jamie Brown is a registered nurse and the President of the Michigan Nurses Association.

She says workplace violence against nurses is common.

One bill would require hospitals to train nurses to deescalate potentially violent situations.

“I would say 90% of nurses do not report the violence that is happening,” Brown says.

Brown says one reason for that is nurses don't trust hospital administrators or prosecutors to do anything about it.

Another bill would make it a felony to assault a nurse, just as it's a felony to assault a firefighter or EMT.

“Gender definitely plays a role in it,” Brown says. “Nurses are typically women, though we are getting more men in the workplace now, but women are looked at as caregivers and we are expected to put up with different forms of abuse and we're finally speaking out.”

Brown says another bill would require a minimum nurse to patient ratio. 

Tracy Samilton covers energy and transportation, including the auto industry and the business response to climate change for Michigan Radio. She began her career at Michigan Radio as an intern, where she was promptly “bitten by the radio bug,” and never recovered.
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