Workplace Violence, Pediatric Emergency Care Top ENA Agenda on Capitol Hill
May 20, 2019 • Advocacy Day off the Hill
SCHAUMBURG, Ill. (May 20, 2019) – Emergency nurses from across the country will come together in Washington, D.C., on Wednesday as the Emergency Nurses Association hosts its annual Day on the Hill event to advocate for federal legislation to protect health care workers and continue funding of a critical emergency care program for children.
Nearly 175 members from 47 states are scheduled to meet with members of Congress and their staffers to discuss The Workplace Violence Prevention for Health Care and Social Service Workers Act of 2019 (H.R.1309/S.851) and The Emergency Medical Services for Children Program Reauthorization Act of 2019 (H.R.776/S.1173).
“ENA’s voice in our nation’s capital is vitally important,” said ENA President Patti Kunz Howard, PhD, RN, CEN, CPEN, TCRN, NE-BC, FAEN, FAAN. “The growing number of Day on the Hill participants is a sure sign that our members are interested and engaged in advocacy.”
This year’s legislative focus ties into ENA’s mission of safe practice and excellence in emergency care.
The epidemic of workplace attacks on emergency nurses, and health care workers in general, is borne out in statistics from the Occupational Safety and Health Administration that show 50 percent of workplace assault victims are employed in the health care sector. OSHA further noted that between 2002-13, serious workplace violence incidents were four times more likely to occur to a health care worker compared to all other workers in the United States.
ENA supports H.R.1309/S.851, which will ensure that health care and social service employers across the country take specific steps to prevent workplace violence and ensure the safety of patients and workers. This legislation directs the Secretary of Labor, through OSHA, to require these employers to develop and implement workplace violence prevention plans that are worker driven and comprehensive.
“Supporting legislation related to the prevention and/or mitigation of workplace violence is a key responsibility for emergency nurses,” Howard, a two-time ENA president, explained. “We are on the receiving end of violence in the ED every day. We should be able to provide care for our patients in a safe environment without being distracted by concerns for our safety or the safety of our patients.”
With 30 million children and adolescents visiting emergency departments each year, ENA recognizes the unique challenges – including the need for specialized supplies, equipment and medications – this patient population presents. As part of its commitment to care, ENA is encouraging lawmakers to reauthorize the EMSC program through 2024 to ensure it continues to make a positive impact on the treatment of children in the emergency department.
First established in 1984, EMSC is the only federal program dedicated to improving emergency care for children by ensuring that – no matter where they live, attend school or travel – they receive appropriate care in a health care emergency. The EMSC program, last reauthorized in 2014, gives ED professionals and prehospital emergency medical services personnel with improved access to pediatric-appropriate equipment, medication, supplies and training.
“EMSC reauthorization is vitally important to ensure the appropriate prehospital and ED care is available for children in our country,” Howard added.
Follow ENA on Twitter this Wednesday for Day on the Hill updates from Capitol Hill.