1. Hresko, Rita RN

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We were pleased to see that Nursing Management addressed the widespread problem of violence in the healthcare workplace in the July 2008 article "Workplace Violence: Survey 2008." Violence in healthcare facilities jeopardizes the safety and security of staff, patients, and visitors; undermines the recruitment and retention of nursing and other frontline caregivers; creates additional costs for employers; and destroys the trust our patients should have in the safety of their healthcare facility.


My union, the Health Professionals and Allied Employees (HPAE), representing 12,000 nurses and healthcare workers in New Jersey, was instrumental in passing the New Jersey Violence Prevention in Healthcare Facilities Act, a landmark legislation enacted in January 2008. This new law gives direct care staff a much-needed voice in developing and monitoring a facility's violence prevention plans through their participation in mandated, joint employee-employer violence prevention committees. Committees are required to conduct annual risk assessments and to develop violence prevention policies and risk reduction methods, including training and changes to job design, staffing, security, equipment, and facilities. The law also requires facilities to establish postincident response systems to provide support and counseling to affected employees and their families.


A comprehensive approach, with the full involvement of frontline staff, is critical to ensuring the safety of our caregivers and our patients.

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