You may ask why you should take the time to register. You may think, “My vote won’t matter.” Well, I am here to say your vote DOES matter and you CAN make a difference. The upcoming elections for 2023 include the election for Governor, Senate, and Representatives for many areas. These are the people who will be making decisions on the new legislature. These are the leaders that will decide if our healthcare providers’ safety matters.
Approximately 1 in 4 nurses have been assaulted at work. The Workplace Violence Prevention for Health Care and Social Service Act, H.R. 2663/S.1176 was introduced into Congress earlier this year to address this issue. As of the date of this publication, this bill is still being reviewed. This bill can protect you while you work as a healthcare provider. Wording for each varies slightly but basically, they direct the Secretary of Labor to create a standard that requires employers of health care facilities to develop and implement a workplace violence prevention plan. The bill requires all healthcare facilities to develop a written plan that identifies specific conditions and hazards, procedures for emergency responses, process for investigation of reported acts, and reporting of each incident to the Secretary of Labor. The facilities included aren’t just hospitals. This speaks of all “covered facilities”. This bill requires all facility types to have these plans and processes in place. It doesn’t matter if you work in a nursing home, hospital, psychiatric center, or residential treatment facility – you have the right to be protected.
This pending legislation alone should be enough to get you motivated to vote. The people elected will be the ones deciding if this should pass or not. HR 2663 has been cosponsored by 123 Representatives. That means 123 people have added their names as supporters of the bill. In the Senate, 33 senators have cosponsored S. 1176. This is a great start, but we need more to join this movement and support our safety. As healthcare providers, we should have a safe place to work. We should be able to report actions of violence that are directed toward us while attempting to provide care for our patients. We should have employer support when reporting and investigating our claims of abuse. We need to get the right people elected who will support this act.
The American Nurses Association is campaigning to build support for these bills. This link will send you to their site. Here, you can send an email to your elected officials asking them to cosponsor the bill. I urge each of you to do this. It takes less than 5 minutes.
Voter registration deadlines vary across each state. (For example, in the state of Louisiana, you must be registered to vote 20 days prior to an election if registering online and 30 days prior if doing it in person or by mail). Be proactive to ensure you’re ready and able to vote for bills designed to increase the protection of healthcare workers across the United States. You can easily verify your voter registration status or register to vote on the national voter registration website. A few minutes to register could be the time it takes to keep you and your co-workers safe.
Director of Nursing Advantage Medical Professionals
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