Missouri Emergency Nurses Association asks for more protection for health care workers in the ER

Published: Apr. 14, 2021 at 11:45 AM CDT|Updated: Apr. 14, 2021 at 11:58 AM CDT
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SPRINGFIELD, Mo. (KY3) - The president of the Missouri Emergency Nurses Association in Springfield says more needs to be done to protect health care workers in the ER.

Mercy Emergency Department nurse Anna Baes shared her story with KY3 News about a patient repeatedly punching her in the head. Police did not arrest the patient after her attack. After she says when the patient attacked other nurses, police then made an arrest.

Heath Jennings, president of the Missouri Emergency Nurses Association says he doesn’t know of any other profession where you can be hit, kicked, spat on, and even have human waste thrown at you, and it’s tolerated.

Missouri legislators are working on ways to better protect healthcare workers. At the state level, Missouri House Bill 398 requires hospitals to adopt workplace violence prevention plans and would track incidents. House Bill 1022 creates penalties for disrupting healthcare operations. At the federal level, House Resolution 1195, known as the Workplace Violence Prevention for Healthcare and Social Service Workers Act, improves conditions too. It should soon move to the U.S. House floor for debate.

Healthcare workers say they are glad to see some proposed solutions. Mercy psychiatrist Dr. Kyle John believes a part of the problem is a lack of treatment facilities for violent patients with intellectual and developmental disabilities.

“This specific population deserves good care,” said Dr. John. “They deserve dignity and appropriate treatment. But most facilities, I would dare say almost all facilities are not equipped with the proper environment, the staff, the training.”

Staff at the Greene County jail say they also deal with the same population, which would be better served in a treatment facility.

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