Crisis hotline for nurses attacked at work

KELOWNA–Healthcare workers in B.C. have a new tool to help deal with workplace assaults.

It’s a 24/7 hotline for nurses who experience violence on the job.

“We’re pleased and disappointed at the same time,” says Gayle Duteil, B.C. Nurses Union (BCNU) President.   “Pleased we are able to offer the support to nurses and members. Disappointed we have to.”

According to the BCNU, health workers in this province are injured because of workplace assaults more than any other profession, including police officers.

This past summer, the BCNU teamed up with the Ministry of Health to launch a $2-million dollar pilot project in four of the province’s most dangerous facilities, aimed at improving safety.

One of those is Hillside Psychiatric Centre in Kamloops.

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“We’ve looked at some new technologies; more cameras, etcetera,  to provide better viewpoints around the site; also at increasing staff to see if increased staff at certain times of day will help us see
a reduction in incidents,” says Heather Cook, Executive Director of Acute Services for Interior Health.

The BCNU president says the union is pleased with the changes, and improvements have been noted at all four facilities, but attacks continue to happen.

“In the last two weeks, another nurse has been assaulted at Hillside,” says Duteil.

So as work continues to make healthcare facilities safer for staff, councilors will remain on hand to help nurses abused on the job deal with their injuries, both
physical and emotional, so they can get back to the job of caring for their patients.



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