Violence Against Kansas Nurses
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Nurses, as a whole, sign up for a certain level of employment challenges with the ones we care for on a day to day basis. This can include multiple levels of difficulty from emotionally adapting to empathize better with those we serve to dealing with the occasional physical assault. In Kansas, if you are employed at a state level facility, a physical assault on a nurse or other health care worker can carry a level 7 person felony. However; if you are employed at the private level and an assault occurs, the police may respond, but may do nothing but take statements and walk away.
I feel that Kansas nurses should push to adopt the same law that New York has called the "Violence Against Nurses" law. I see too many of my fellow nurses being used as punching bags to look away. Some of them are pregnant, others are elderly, and some are healthy, but none of us deserve to be hit on the job with absolutely no repercussions to the abuser. If we adopt this law it would force law enforcement to take nurses more seriously. I had a police officer answer my call for help tonight at my small facility. The response I got to being physically attacked was as follows: "Well, that's what you guys are here for, this is the job you chose to do and sometimes it happens. But we are not nurses and do not perform nursing duties so there is no place in our county jail for your resident."
Now some of you may side with the law enforcement officer who said this, but ask yourself this. If you signed up to be a police officer, and a suspect pulled out a gun and shot you in the knee, should they be arrested? You signed up for that risk to be shot when you graduated from the academy, so you asked to be shot then? By this officers logic, she could be shot in the knee by an individual, and be unable to press any charges simply because she knowingly took that risk when she took her job.
Now, I know we are all busy. We work long hours, for little pay to come home and take care of our children, spouses, parents, and friends. But we have to take a stand for the other nurses out there in those small facilities who have no voice. If we march together for a change it can happen. Each one of us took an oath of some form to take care of our patients, residents, and neighbors, but what about each other?
To all my fellow unappreciated, exhausted, break less, bladder the size of bowling ball nurses out there, please help me take a stand for a cause that would benefit us all at some point in our careers. Because even if you are sitting behind a desk right now, you never know when a swift job change can turn you into a punching bag for the ones we take care of.
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