DES PLAINES, Ill., March 31, 2014 – The Emergency Nurses Association commended Idaho
Gov. C.L. “Butch” Otter for signing into law a bill that makes it a felony to assault or batter
Idaho is the 30th state to make violence against emergency nurses a felony. Both houses of the
legislature passed it less than a month after it was introduced. Violators could face up to three
years in state prison if convicted.
“The quick action by Gov. Otter and Idaho’s legislature and the fact that Idaho is the 30th state to
enact felony legislation on violence against emergency nurses shows the growing recognition of
this problem,” 2014 ENA President Deena Brecher, MSN, RN, APN, ACNS-BC, CEN, CPEN,
said. “On behalf of ENA’s more than 40,000 members, I applaud Gov. Otter and Idaho’s
“Now, I ask Idaho’s law enforcement officials to vigorously enforce this new law and protect our
ENA member Julie Hoerner, MA, BSN, RN, CEN, director of Emergency and Trauma Services
at Kootenai Health in Coeur d'Alene, testified at both the House and Senate hearings on the bill.
She cited the ENA study on workplace violence in her testimony.
According to Bureau of Labor statistics, an assault on a healthcare worker is the most common
source of nonfatal injury or illness that requires days off from work in the healthcare and social
assistance industry. More than 70 percent of emergency nurses reported physical or verbal
assaults by patients or visitors while they were providing care.
“Assaults on emergency nurses have lasting impacts on the nurses and the ability of emergency
care facilities to provide quality care,” Brecher said. “As a result, we lose experienced and
dedicated nurses to physical or psychological trauma for days or sometimes permanently. We