Emergency Nurses Association Commends Illinois for Passing Stricter Workplace Violence Laws
January 2014 Law Makes Assaulting Nurses a Class Three Felony
DES PLAINES, Ill., Sept. 6, 2013 – The Emergency Nurses Association (ENA) commends Illinois Governor Pat Quinn for signing into law a bill that will improve workplace safety for nurses. ENA would also like to thank Rep. Susan Scherer for sponsoring this important legislation and working tirelessly for its passage. The bill will make battery against nurses on duty a Class Three felony, punishable with a two to five year prison sentence. The Illinois House and Senate approved this legislation by an overwhelming margin this spring.
A 2006 report by the Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that more than sixty percent of workplace physical violence occurs within healthcare environments. A 2009 study in the Journal of Nursing Administration found that physical violence against Emergency Department nurses is highly prevalent, with one in four nurses having experienced a violent incident (shooting, stabbing, spitting or hitting) within three years of the study.
“Nurses in Emergency Departments save lives; they shouldn’t have to worry about their own lives while on the job,” said 2013 ENA President JoAnn Lazarus, MSN, RN, CEN. “We are hopeful that this law is the first step in making Emergency Departments a safer place to work for our nurses.”
When this legislation takes effect on January 1, 2014, Illinois will join 25 other states that have already made it a felony to commit any degree of assault or battery on an emergency nurse.
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About the Emergency Nurses Association
ENA, which has more than 40,000 members worldwide, is the only professional nursing association dedicated to defining the future of emergency nursing and emergency care through advocacy, expertise, innovation and leadership. Founded in 1970, ENA develops and disseminates education and practice standards and guidelines, and affords consultation to both private and public entities regarding emergency nurses and their practice. Additional information is available at ENA's Web site, www.ena.org or on Twitter: @ENAorg.