Political and Health Concerns Surrounding Violence at the Nurse’s Workplace
The definition of violence that takes place at the workplace is given by the National Institute for Occupational Safety and Health (NIOSH) as hazardous actions, assaults of the physical nature, or verbal abuse that takes place at the place of work (Goudreau & Smolenski, 2013). Additionally, violence encompasses covert and overt actions that range from verbal harassment that is aggressive in nature to murder.
As a matter of fact, there are states with legislative solutions that include an obligatory development of an all-inclusive prevention plan for healthcare providers. Such states also have advanced penalties for the persons who are convicted of assaulting the nursing personnel. There are several reported cases to the police concerning patients as well as members of the public who have caused mental or physical harm to nurses. On the other hand, nurses are always at a risk of violence at the place of work.
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American Nurses Association (ANA) has convened a panel of experts to address the growing violence against nurses at the workplace. The analysis of the research findings of the panel has proposed guidance that is in detail for employers and nurses to reduce and prevent incivility, bullying, and workplace violence (Ellis, & Hartley, 2004). The panel of experts’ recommendations encompasses developing a policy of zero tolerance for all sorts of violence; nurturing an environment which is not punitive that encourages the creation of comprehensive prevention plans and reporting incidents of violence to the relevant authorities. The panel also recommends the implementation of professional and safety standards that can be critical in curbing incivility, bullying, and workplace violence. ANA also prioritizes the training of nurses concerning the type of environment and a variety of techniques that are applicable in all sorts of surroundings.
Ethical Issues that Policy Makers should be aware of when creating Law about Violence at the Workplace
Ethical issues that this section of the paper will discuss that policy makers should be aware of when developing legislation that safeguards nurses against violence at the workplace will be those stipulated in the ANA.
Firstly, according to the Code of Ethics, it is a requirement on the side of nurses for them to ensure that patients get the utmost care while in a hospital (Fowler & American Nurses Association, 2008). As such, it is critical for policy makers to put into consideration the patients’ care when developing legislation about violence facing nurses at their workplace. Even though some patients do inflict mental or physical harm to nurses, the code of ethics still demands that all patients get the care that they should get from the nursing fraternity.
Secondly, the code of ethics requires nurses to carry out their duties with respect and compassion for the worth, inherent dignity, and exclusive qualities of every individual (Milstead, 2013). This code seems not to care about the dangers that a patient may pose to a nurse who is the caregiver. Policy makers can therefore, come up with proper legislation that will safeguard nurses and patients if they are aware of the code of ethics mentioned in this paragraph.
Thirdly, the code of ethics requires a nurse to protect, promote, and advocate for the safety, rights, and health of the patients (Milstead, 2013). A nurse is forever under the obligation to ensure that patients under her care are safe even if the environment is not safe enough for the nurse to carry out her duties with diligence. Additionally, the nurse is also under the obligation to protect and promote the rights of patients even if there are no measures in place that protect the rights of the nurse. When legislating on the laws that prevent violence in hospitals, policy makers should ensure that both the nurse’s and patient’s aspect are put into consideration.
Fourthly, the code of ethics demands that the critical commitment of a nurse should be to a patient regardless of her behavior. Therefore, it is difficult for a nurse to neglect a patient whose conduct is not in order even if the patient is a threat to her life. When legislating, policy makers must ensure that they come up with laws that provide safety to both the patients and nurses.
The final ethical issue is that a nurse has accountability, authority, and responsibility for her conducts (Polifko, 2010). Her decisions and actions must be consistent and also be in a manner that ensures that patients get the utmost care and also promotes their health. It means that the nurse will be responsible and liable for neglecting the patient and also upholding health. When policy makers formulate legislations then they must consider that nurses have the responsibility and are also accountable for their conducts. The legislation must therefore, safeguard both parties.
The Impact that the Nursing Profession could have regarding Workplace Violence if Nurses became familiar with the Issue and reached out to Policy Makers
It is imperative that nurses become aware of the violence that takes place at their places of work in order to develop ways for safeguarding themselves against such violence. Conversely, the nursing profession could have the impact of nurse turnover if the policy makers fail to implement their views (Polifko, 2010). Nurses could demand the formulation and implementation of laws that totally protects them from providing care to patients who prove to be violent. As such, it will be difficult for the mentally ill patients who are mostly violent to get care from nurses and thus, the public could blame the nursing profession.
Ellis, J. R., & Hartley, C. L. (2004). Nursing in today's world: Trends, issues & management . Philadelphia, Penns: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.
Fowler, M. D. M., & American Nurses Association. (2008). Guide to the code of ethics for nurses: Interpretation and application . Silver Spring, MD: American Nurses Association.
Goudreau, K. A., & Smolenski, M. C. (2013). Health policy and advanced practice nursing: Impact and implications .
Milstead, J. A. (2013). Health policy and politics: A nurse's guide . Burlington, MA: Jones & Bartlett Learning.
Polifko, K. A. (2010). The practice environment of nursing: Issues & trends . Clifton Park, NY: Delmar Cengage Learning.