On September 15, 2016,
Delaware Governor Jack Markell joined prime legislative sponsor, State Representative Helene Keeley,
State Senator Bethany Hall-Long, Saint Francis Healthcare administrators
and staff, to ceremoniously sign House Bill 214, which raises the penalties
for assaults on nurses, at a ceremony at Saint Francis Healthcare.
The bill classifies physical injury caused to any nurse performing his
or her duties as second-degree assault, a Class D felony punishable by
up to eight years in prison. The bill was officially signed into law on
June 28, 2016.
“This legislation is very critical in order to protect our nurses,”
said Brian Dietz, CEO and President of Saint Francis Healthcare. “We appreciate Governor Jack Markell’s tremendous support
of Saint Francis.”
Nurses across Delaware are subject to physical or verbal abuse on a daily
basis. According to the United States Department of Justice, nearly 500,000
nurses are victims of violence at their workplace each year, and nurses
who work in emergency departments or psychiatric-mental health facilities
are more likely to be targets.
Saint Francis Healthcare nurses are unfortunately, no exception.
“Attacks happen; it’s a high, intense situation,”
said Maria LeNoir, Trauma Program Manager, Saint Francis Healthcare. “You never know what is going to happen day-to-day or who is going
to walk through the door.”
Delaware nurses are joining the company of emergency personnel and first-responders,
who already receive this level of protection. Saint Francis Healthcare
is ringing in this bill as a victory.
“This is a tremendous win for the nurses at Saint Francis Healthcare
and for those nurses in the state of Delaware. Nurses have the right to
feel safe in their work environment; whether in an emergency room setting
or while performing their other duties throughout the hospital,”
said Jennifer Kirby, Chief Administrative Officer and Chief Nursing Officer
of Saint Francis Healthcare. “With the passing this bill, it is hopeful that the number of nurses
who fall victim to assault should drastically reduce, and for that we