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Minnesota nurses fight for workplace injury protections

Many overlook the physical part of a nurse’s job. Usually people connect workplace injuries with the world of construction or factories. But nurses have a physically strenuous job that requires them to lift and support patients. They also are at risk of injuries from violent patients.

Twin Cities nurses recently negotiated with hospitals for more protections against patient assaults. With an increase in violent patients and incidents, they hope to make hospitals safer for the employees.

High risk of patient assault

Assaults in Twin Cities Hospitals by violent patients are high. Every year since 2014, at least 65 or more nurses file for workers’ compensation because of severe injuries obtained in violent assaults. Hospitals report seeing more patients with mental health conditions who may get violent.

Twins Cities nurses provided examples of assaults to hospital negotiators. They described events such as bites, punches, kicks and even a case where a patient swung a metal bar at several nurses.

New safety agreements

The agreements made by hospitals and nurses include automatic time off for nurses injured in a violent situation before workers’ compensation kicks in. Previously, nurses needed to use their sick time first.

Nurses will also not have to go back to taking care of the individual that caused the injury. Taking care of a patient who deliberately attacked them can often be difficult. Hospitals will be flexible with rescheduling nurses to different patients.

A dangerous workplace

Nursing is not always associated with danger. But a hospital can be a dangerous workplace. In addition to the amount of physical labor in a nurse’s job, there is a risk of assaults from patients. These assaults can leave physical and emotional scars for nurses.

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