BATON ROUGE, LA (WAFB) - The death of a nurse at Baton Rouge General is renewing the focus on workplace violence that nurses experience nearly every day.
Lynne Truxillo was just trying to finish her shift at BRG when Jessie Guillory, a patient, reportedly became violent and started attacking one of her colleagues. According to a warrant, Truxillo stepped in to help, but she became a victim and later died from her injuries.
Unfortunately, these attacks are not uncommon for healthcare workers. In fact, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), violence against healthcare workers is four times more likely than for other jobs. The organization also says the number of attacks is likely drastically under-reported.
"We want to create an environment that nurses feel conformable and safe reporting and they don't feel penalized in doing so,” said Vanessa Shields-Haas.
Shields-Haas worked as a nurse, but now has turned her focus to fighting for them through the Louisiana State Nurses Association (LSNA).
“We don’t want this to be the norm,” she said. “We don’t want people working in healthcare to think that they don’t have recourse and they shouldn’t be speaking about these incidents because it impacts their work, it impacts burnout and we want people to feel safe at work.”
She says if these attacks are reported more often, hospitals can implement better protections like deescalation techniques and self defense training.
LSNA President Patrick Reed says he wants all of the above implemented in every hospital across the state.
“If you are in a situation where you have a patient that is compromised, you’re not trapped by that patient,” Reed said. “There’s a way to run, that there’s observation, and there’s other people to assist.”
According to a representative with BRG, the hospital is working to honor Truxillo with policies that will protect nurses in the future. In a statement, a representative said:
“The devastating loss of Lynne Truxillo highlights one of the most difficult issues in healthcare. The sad reality of patient care is that aggressive behavior is not uncommon. In 2017, more than half of all workplace violence incidents reported to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics took place in a healthcare setting.
Over the years, this deeply concerning trend prompted us to develop robust employee safety procedures focused on the growing risks in patient care. Today, we continue to enhance our employee safety and training with ongoing feedback from our front-line team members. While there may be no way to completely eliminate all risk from healthcare, Baton Rouge General is committed to honoring Lynne’s memory by doing everything we can to keep our team safe.”
WAFB also reached out to Our Lady of the Lake about any potential changes following the death of Truxillo. They had this to say:
In response to Truxillo’s death, LSNA has teamed up with Rep. Dustin Miller to introduce legislation that would create a study of workplace violence against nurses in the state.
Ochsner Baton Rouge says it conducts “daily safety huddles with collaboration and feedback between all departments, including nursing and security.” “Our work continues to evolve in order to stay top-of-mind about safety” said Ochsner BR Chief Nursing Officer Dianna Teal.