Nurses and midwives deserve to be safe

A NEW Andrews Government community campaign and further funding are welcome steps toward ending the everyday violence nurses and midwives experience in healthcare facilities.

It’s really important that the community understands that a large number of attacks on nurses and midwives are by angry people under stress.

The violence has to stop and people have to learn to manage their frustration in difficult circumstances rather than hurt the people who are trying to care for them or their loved ones.

Nurses are hit by frustrated parents waiting with their children in emergency, midwives are threatened by former partners of mothers who have just given birth and nurses are chastised for calling the police when a patient throws furniture at them.

The challenge now is for all chief executive officers and hospital boards to drive the changes so that all levels of management embrace a safer way of doing things.

We know anecdotally that the culture of accepting violence as part of the job is changing in hospitals where the CEO actually chairs the occupational violence and aggression committee.

The families of nurses, midwives, doctors and paramedics should not have to worry if they will come home safely tonight.

Lisa Fitzpatrick,

Australian Nursing and Midwifery Federation Victorian branch

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