Nurses on the Psychiatry and Behavioral Medicine Unit at Seattle Children’s have been asking for help on the unit for at least two years. They were being stabbed, bit, hit, kicked, put in chokeholds. The number of violent restraints skyrocketed.
On Nov. 17, 44 nurses on the unit, almost every nurse who was not injured on the job, sent a letter to hospital leadership Nov. 17, saying they feared for their life and needed help. Hospital leadership denied an urgent meeting with nurses, so the nurses took their stories public. WSNA has been right there by the nurses' side along the way.
The nurses say workplace violence is a symptom of a broken system of pediatric mental health with many contributing factors -- high turnover in nurses on the unit and among hospital leadership, not enough security, not enough staff, a lack of long-term beds, a failure of state funding, not enough training among nurses, and an increase in traumatized youth.
WSNA is so proud of this unit. The nurses, none who had spoken to the media before, rallied and handled an onslaught of press requests.
More than 150 people attended a candlelight vigil Dec. 12 to support them and their pursuit of better care for their patients and a better system of pediatric mental health.
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