PHOENIX, AZ (3TV/CBS5) -- Nurses have a tough job as it is; some are even get attacked on the job. Now, there's new proposed legislation that would give them more protection. The bill would hold Arizona hospitals more accountable if a nurse gets attacked; it also brings harsher penalties against the attacker. One nurse shared her story with Arizona's Family in hopes of getting the bill passed.
We first told you about June Nanke in December, the now-retired Prescott VA nurse who was attacked by a patient. "He took a right hook and bam bam, hit me on the lower right part of my jaw," said Nanke in December. We spoke with Nanke again, this time about new legislation geared toward protecting Arizona nurses and healthcare workers.
"The biggest thing is accountability," said Nanke. State Rep Dr. Amish Shah introduced HB2538 after drafting the bill with the Arizona Nurses Association. "He's an emergency room physician, and he sees attacks on healthcare workers first hand," said Arizona Nurses Association Executive Director Robin Schaeffer RN.
The bill mandates institutions like hospitals with 50 employees or more to develop workplace violence policies and keep records of all assaults, as well as upgrading the felony from class 6 to class 5 for the attacker. "It's time we address the assault on healthcare workers," said Schaeffer RN.
In a two week survey taken by 377 Arizona nurses, 66 percent of them said they'd been attacked, and not by patients suffering a mental illness. About 42 percent said they've been injured. "Some with minor injuries, some with horrific injuries like fractured jaw and a broken back," said Schaeffer RN.
Now, they're hoping lawmakers see the story and pass the bill. The bill goes before the committee next week, where Nanke is expected to tell her story.