THE BC Nurses’ Union is demanding answers after a nurse, working to screen patients for COVID-19 in Kelowna General Hospital (KGH)’s emergency department, was struck and verbally assaulted by an irate patient Wednesday afternoon.
KGH is one of a handful of hospitals in the province that is supposed to provide 24/7 security in the ER, part of a joint pilot project lead by BCNU and Interior Health in 2018 that focused on protecting nurses from violence in the workplace.
BCNU President Christine Sorensen said on Thursday that in addition to Wednesday’s disturbing incident, she was extremely concerned to hear that the COVID-19 screening desk, where this nurse was working at the time, has not been retrofitted with a plexiglass shield, something standard at many grocery stores nowadays.
“Not only did this nurse experience a traumatizing incident that left her with physical injuries, she is also working through a pandemic, on the frontlines, in a high-risk area, without the appropriate infection control measures in place,” said Sorensen. “This screening desk is the first point of access to the emergency department. It’s unacceptable to think Interior Health would not take all of the necessary precautions to protect nurses and health care workers.”