Nurses Praise Law Increasing Penalties for Attacks on Health Care Workers

The Tennessean has a feature story on the recently-enacted state law that increases the penalty for assault when the victim is a health care provider, focused on a nurse who was attacked in 2004. The new statute, passed as HB306 and signed by the governor May 13, takes effect on July 1.
An excerpt:
“The law acknowledges our professional role,” said Jill Kinch, president of the Tennessee Nurses Association. “In a way there is a symbolic piece to this. The community is saying, ‘We value you as nurses and we are going to include you with this other profession that has this level of penalty for assault, which is the police officer.’ ”
The fines are not symbolic. People convicted of assaulting health care workers will have to pay up to $5,000 — double the normal fine.
Health care is a dangerous profession. The incidence rate for violence against health care workers is more than triple the rate for all of private industry, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. From 2003 to 2009, eight nurses were killed on the job in the United States, and 2,050 nonfatal assaults occurred.

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