As a registered nurse in the Fraser Valley for the past seven years, I have seen the effects of violence toward nurses.
Nurses are kicked, slapped, punched and sworn at on a daily basis. Personally I have been punched, bit, spit on and called disgusting names.
In March of 2015, a nurse colleague of mine was working in the Abbotsford ER when he was punched multiple times in the face, resulting in long-term injuries. Last week I attended the sentencing of his assailant. I was expecting that this man would at the very least be given a token amount of jail time. I was sadly mistaken. His sentence amounted to a slap on the wrist – a conditional sentence, no jail time – but worse, he will not have a criminal record. Currently, our laws give bus and taxi drivers more protection than nurses.
I am proud to be a nurse. I am privileged to have the opportunity to care for people. To do this work I need to know that violence toward nurses and other health care workers will not be tolerated. Sadly, that was not the message that the court sent last week.
The nurse who was assaulted will live with the effects of that assault for the rest of his life. His attacker will not even have a criminal record. Is it too much to ask that we provide nurses with as much protection as a taxi driver? Maybe we need new laws that mandate any assault on a nurse will result in jail time.