BC Nurses’ Union applauds government decision to include nurses in mental injury presumption legislation

THE BC Nurses’ Union said on Tuesday the government’s move to include nurses in the list of occupations that have the presumption of workplace mental injury, is a huge step forward for the health and well-being of all nurses.

The changes that take effect on Tuesday give nurses greater access to services and compensation to treat mental health injuries including, but not limited to, post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). BCNU has been calling for this change to the Workers Compensation Act, adding nurses to the list of recognized professions which currently includes front-line workers such as firefighters, police officers, sheriffs, correctional officers, and paramedics.

“We are very pleased that BCNU’s needs, and the voices of thousands of nurses, have been heard,” said union president Christine Sorensen. “Nurses experience severe trauma on a daily basis. This announcement shows that the mental health needs of nurses are a priority for the government.”

WorkSafeBC data from 2016 shows that nurses accounted for nearly 12 per cent of all mental disorder claims and over 10 per cent of all claims registered for PTSD. In 2016, 76 nurses registered claims for PTSD.

“Whether you’re in an acute, residential or community setting, nursing is a mentally demanding profession that exposes us to human suffering, trauma and violence,” said Sorensen. “BCNU has worked hard to highlight this reality through our violence prevention campaign and public outreach. Today’s announcement will provide both resources and support for all nurses who are suffering from mental injury.”