DES PLAINES, IL--(Marketwired - June 20, 2014) - As workplace violence increasingly threatens emergency departments across the country, the Emergency Nurses Association congratulates Louisiana for becoming the latest state to make it a felony to physically attack an emergency nurse. Gov. Bobby Jindal signed H.B. 1077 into law this week.
"The unanimous approval of this bill shows there is bipartisan support in Louisiana in favor of addressing the growing problem of violence directed at healthcare workers," said ENA president Deena Brecher, MSN, RN, APN, ACNS-BC, CEN, CPEN. "The Louisiana Emergency Nurses Association successfully worked to bring this issue to the forefront, and we're thrilled with the outcome. We hope Louisiana law enforcement officials will rigorously enforce this important new law."
Research released earlier this year in the Journal of Emergency Nursing shows that more than 70 percent of emergency nurses encountered physical or verbal assault by patients or visitors while they were providing care in the emergency setting. Several factors such as long wait times, patient boarding, patients with a history of violence and patients under the influence of drugs or alcohol significantly contributed to the violence.
Louisiana joins thirty other states that have enacted laws making it a felony to assault or batter an emergency nurse. Most recently, Ohio, Texas, Illinois and Idaho joined the list of states that have strengthened their laws protecting emergency nurses against violence. ENA is committed to making this crime a felony in all 50 states.
About the Emergency Nurses Association
The Emergency Nurses Association (ENA) is the premier professional nursing association dedicated to defining the future of emergency nursing through advocacy, education, research, innovation, and leadership. Founded in 1970, ENA has proven to be an indispensable resource to the global emergency nursing community. With more than 40,000 members worldwide, ENA advocates for patient safety, develops industry-leading practice standards and guidelines, and guides emergency healthcare public policy. ENA members have expertise in triage, patient care, disaster preparedness, and nearly all aspects of emergency care. Additional information is available at www.ena.org.
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