Atlanta summit addresses violence against health care workers

“Violence is not acceptable and health care workers should not have to worry about being attacked,” Mary Chatman told attendees at the first Workforce Violence Prevention Summit at the Georgia State Capitol.

“Understanding the prevalence of violence and the circumstances surrounding these incidents is important. We owe it to our workforce to partner together to address these issues, and we are proud to be part of efforts to find solutions to this problem,” added Chatman, Georgia Hospital Association board chair and executive vice president of acute care operations for Wellstar Health System.

The GHA and Georgia Nurses Association co-hosted the summit, which served as an opportunity for law enforcement, legislators, state leaders and health care leaders to collaborate and devise solutions to the workplace violence being experienced by today’s nurses and hospital personnel.

According to a three-year assessment by the American Nurses Foundation in 2022, 53% of the more than 12,000 nurses surveyed said verbal abuse has increased in the workplace. In addition, 43% of nurses said they either don’t have a reporting mechanism in place at their health care system or they are unsure if they have one.

“Our healthcare workers remain committed to providing quality care to those who depend on us,” Chatman said at the summit.

According to a 2022 Press Ganey analysis, on average, two nurses were assaulted every hour for the entire second quarter ofof that year. That’s 57 assaults per day and 5,217 for the entire quarter.

Georgia Rep. Matt Reeves (R) provided an overview of the Safer Hospitals Act during the summit, which is designed to increase penalties for assault and battery against health care workers. The Georgia Hospital Association and the Georgia Nurses Association also announced they will be partnering more in the future on initiatives to eliminate such violence.

“GHA is focused on convening meaningful conversations that address our toughest health care challenges and advance the priorities and sustainability of our hospital members and the Georgians they serve,” Chatman said.