New Brunswick

Nurses want province to clearly define violence as workplace hazard

Nurses in the province say they want more action from government to help protect them from workplace violence.

Nurses want more action from government to help protect them from workplace violence

Paula Doucet, the newly-elected president of the New Brunswick Nurses Union, said nurses have been verbally abused, kicked, hit and slapped on the job. (Canadian Press)

Nurses in the province say they want more action from provincial government to help protect them from workplace violence.

The New Brunswick Nurses Union is asking the provincial government to clearly define violence as a workplace hazard.

Paula Doucet, the newly-elected president of the New Brunswick Nurses Union, told Information Morning Fredericton that nurses been verbally abused, kicked, hit and slapped on the job.

"Nurses are standing up and saying enough is enough," said Doucet.  

"We're hearing more and more incidents across Canada that are making people stand up and become more aware."

Doucet said New Brunswick is the only province without occupational health and safety protection against workplace violence.

The union leader said nurses want the province to include a risk assessment have preventative measures put in place and support provisions for those who are directly involved with workplace violence.

Ongoing process

Doucet said nurses started meeting with cabinet ministers in 2012 to try and get help for nurses, who are dealing with workplace violence.

"I think there's an obligation out there for employers to provide workers with a safe work environment and to protect their workers and we're talking about nurses and health care but I believe it should be for all workers in the province," she said.

Doucet said preventing violence is challenging, but education to the public on what's acceptable when they go into a health care centre is important.

The nurses union wrapped up their annual meeting this week with roughly 200 nurses attending. The issue of workplace violence was raised as an important issue.

"I think it's very urgent," said Doucet.  

"They unanimously passed a resolution to say that workplace violence has to stop, something has to be done, and the law needs to be fixed.

About the Author

Philip Drost is a reporter with CBC New Brunswick.

With files from Information Morning Fredericton