Safeguarding Health Care Workers


In August 2014 came horrifying news: Two nurses attending a workshop in the African kingdom of Lesotho were brutally murdered, their bloodied bodies found abandoned in a field. Subsequent reports urged governments to “prioritize the safety of nurses,” warning that the scarcity of nurses coupled with danger to their well-being threatens the ability to provide care for people in need.

News from conflict zones across the globe only highlights the crisis in care. In Iraq, health care has broken down after medical professionals fled the country following a series of murders and abductions. In Afghanistan, nearly 60 districts are unreachable by health care workers. Murders, abductions, and assaults have resulted in the country being identified as “one of the most dangerous places for aid workers.” (For information on violence against American nurses, see Homegrown Dangers.)

Across the globe, nurses, patients, and the ability to deliver care are increasingly under attack. What can we do? The ICN Code of Ethics for Nurses states, “The nurse takes appropriate action to safeguard individuals, families and communities when their health is endangered by a co-worker or any other person.” When danger threatens an individual nurse or an entire health care facility, it jeopardizes our ability to meet the needs of our patients and compromises our ability to care.

Full article continues at: