DES PLAINES, Ill., March 31, 2014 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Emergency Nurses Association commended Idaho Gov. C.L. "Butch" Otter for signing into law a bill that makes it a felony to assault or batter emergency nurses.
Idaho is the 30th state to make violence against emergency nurses a felony. Both houses of the legislature passed it less than a month after it was introduced. Violators could face up to three years in state prison if convicted.
"The quick action by Gov. Otter and Idaho's legislature and the fact that Idaho is the 30th state to enact felony legislation on violence against emergency nurses shows the growing recognition of this problem," 2014 ENA President Deena Brecher, MSN, RN, APN, ACNS-BC, CEN, CPEN, said. "On behalf of ENA's more than 40,000 members, I applaud Gov. Otter and Idaho's lawmakers.
"Now, I ask Idaho's law enforcement officials to vigorously enforce this new law and protect our nurses."
ENA member Julie Hoerner, MA, BSN, RN, CEN, director of Emergency and Trauma Services at Kootenai Health in Coeur d'Alene, testified at both the House and Senate hearings on the bill. She cited the ENA study on workplace violence in her testimony.
According to Bureau of Labor statistics, an assault on a healthcare worker is the most common source of nonfatal injury or illness that requires days off from work in the healthcare and social assistance industry. More than 70 percent of emergency nurses reported physical or verbal assaults by patients or visitors while they were providing care.
"Assaults on emergency nurses have lasting impacts on the nurses and the ability of emergency care facilities to provide quality care," Brecher said. "As a result, we lose experienced and dedicated nurses to physical or psychological trauma for days or sometimes permanently. We thank Gov. Otter and the legislature for acting to curb the violence and urge law enforcement officials in Idaho and elsewhere to follow the governor's lead and protect our nurses."
About the Emergency Nurses Association
ENA, which has more than 40,000 members worldwide, is the only professional nursing association dedicated to defining the future of emergency nursing and emergency care through advocacy, expertise, innovation and leadership. Founded in 1970, ENA develops and disseminates education and practice standards and guidelines, and affords consultation to both private and public entities regarding emergency nurses and their practice. Additional information is available at ENA's Web site, www.ena.org or on Twitter: @ENAorg.
SOURCE Emergency Nurses Association