Petition Closed

Pass SB2658 Barnes /HB2857 Maggart -- Criminal Law: Assault

This petition had 1,289 supporters

SB2658 Barnes /HB2857 Maggart -- Criminal Law: Assault and aggravated assault against health care provider. Increases the punishment for assault and aggravated assault against health care providers.

In 2009, more than 50% of emergency center nurses experienced violence by patients on the job. There were 2,050 assaults and violent acts reported by RNs requiring an average of four days away from work. Of these acts, 1,830 were inflicted with injuries by patients or residents (Emergency Nurses Association).
From 2003 to 2009, eight registered nurses were fatally injured at work (BLS, 2011). (see ANA website on Workplace Violence

National Standards
The National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) defines workplace violence as any physical assault, threatening behavior or verbal abuse occurring in the workplace (NIOSH, 1996). ANA recognizes that workplace violence is a problem in the health care industry and works hard to provide resources to protect nurses.

Several major nursing organizations endorse the protection of nurses/health care providers from growing violence against them during their provision of professional health care to patients:

ANA Official Position on Workplace Violence

The American Nurses Association (ANA) upholds that all nursing personnel have the right to work in healthy work environments free of abusive behavior such as bullying, hostility, lateral abuse and violence, sexual harassment, intimidation, abuse of authority and position and reprisal for speaking out against abuses.


Although, there is no federal standard that requires workplace violence protections, effective January 1, 2009 The Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organization created a new standard in the “Leadership” chapter (LD.03.01.01) that addresses disruptive and inappropriate behaviors. Additionally, there are several states that have enacted legislation or regulations aimed at preventing workplace violence.

More Evidence

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, healthcare and social services workers have the highest rate of nonfatal assault injuries in the workplace and nurses are three times more likely to experience violence than other professionals. Erickson and Williams-Evans reported that 82 percent of nurses surveyed had been assaulted during their careers, and that many assaults go unreported. (see American Association of Critical Care Nurses Public Policy Statement and position

AACN Policy Position

Given strong evidence that violence in the workplace threatens the delivery of effective, quality care and violates individual rights to personal dignity and integrity, the American Association of Critical-Care Nurses condemns acts of violence perpetrated by or against any person and calls upon healthcare institutions to create organized programs to prevent and combat workplace violence. It is the responsibility of every nurse and every employer to take immediate measures to address and prevent workplace violence.

It is estimated that more than 80 percent of all assaults on registered nurses go unreported. Despite the findings of recent studies which document growing incidents of assaults against the country’s nurses, hospital violence is still little known to the general public and few states offer specific legal deterrents for assaulting nurses.

Studies have shown that working conditions in healthcare environments place nurses and other healthcare personnel at greater risk of violence. Characteristics such as demanding workloads, inadequate staffing levels, interventions demanding close physical contact, emotionally charged environments, shift work, highly accessible worksites and poor security measures have been associated with increased incidents of violence.

Violence has been shown to have negative organizational effects such as low worker morale, increased job stress, increased worker turnover, reduced trust of management and coworkers, hostile working environments as well as significant costs associated with lost workdays and wages.

Research reveals that most workplace assaults occur in healthcare service settings. Forty-eight percent of nonfatal assaults in the workplace are committed by patients.

AACN Actions
1. Endorses the National Institute for Occupational Safety & Health (NIOSH) and the Occupational Safety & Health Administration (OSHA) Guidelines for preventing workplace violence.
2. Will lobby for mandatory federal workplace violence standards and enforceable legislative and regulatory protections.
3. Endorses the International Council of Nurses (ICN) position statement: Abuse and Violence Against Nursing Personnel.

Workplace violence is a serious occupational risk for the emergency nursing workforce and has been recognized as a violent crime that requires targeted responses from employers, law enforcement, and the community. Workplace violence can be defined as an act of aggression, physical assault, emotional or verbal abuse, coercive or threatening behavior that occurs in a work setting and causes physical or emotional harm. The health care industry leads all other
sectors in the incidence of nonfatal workplace assaults, and the emergency department is a particularly vulnerable setting. A significant amount of workplace violence is preventable. (see entire Emergency Nurses Association Position Statement on Workplace Violence available @

It is the position of the Emergency Nurses Association that:

* The risk of workplace violence is a significant occupational hazard facing emergency nurses.

* Emergency nurses have the responsibility to report incidents of violence and abuse to their employer, without fear of reprisal, as well as the right to report incidents to local law enforcement authorities and pursue legal action. Procedures for reporting violent incidents should be clear and consistent.

* Legislation that mandates and regulates safety standards and controls for workplace violence prevention should be strengthened and supported.

* Stronger legislation to protect emergency nurses that have been victims of workplace violence helps to reinforce the standard that violence is not part of the job. Felony legislation and penalties for workplace violence, including assault or battery against emergency nurses and their health care colleagues, should be strengthened and supported in every state.

If you are Tennessee health care professional please sign this petition.

If you support Tennessee health care professionals as a concerned family member, friend or citizen please sign this petition.

If you are a colleague of a Tennessee health care professional please sign this petition.

Please add comments on your specific concerns or experiences (please no confidential information should be shared) and be sure to note in which Tennessee District you vote and your senator or representatives name.


Today: Margie is counting on you

Margie Gale needs your help with “Tennessee State Senators and House of Representatives: Pass SB2658 Barnes /HB2857 Maggart -- Criminal Law: Assault”. Join Margie and 1,288 supporters today.