How can nurses avoid situations like Utah arrest?

WCPOPublished: September 11, 201710 views
Published: September 11, 2017

The video of a Utah nurse being arrested on the job caused an uproar in the medical community. Now, a local expect has advice about what a nurse and others can do in a similar situation. The nurse, Alex Wubbels, was following hospital procedure when she wouldn't allow an officer, Jeff Payne, to draw blood from an unconscious patient without consent or a warrant. The same laws apply in Ohio. Gordon Gillespie with the University of Cincinnati College of Nursing has researched ER violence prevention.  "When the aggressor is the police, I think it kind of leaves you at, 'What next?' Because who do you call above the police officer to help?" he said. Gillespie recommended calling 911 as well as hospital administrators in a similar situation.  "Start calling lots of people and get tons of people down," he said. Many say Wubbels did what she was supposed to do. But, some are wondering about the others who witnessed what happened at the hospital. "It looked like the security officer pushed the button open, for the doors to open, for the nurse to be drug out, as opposed to trying to intervene," Gillespie said. Gillespie said it's possible a larger number of hospital workers could have persuaded the officer. He called the nurse a hero for following the nursing code of ethics. "So really, what's best for the patient? We have a duty to collabortate with law enforcement," Gillespie said. "But, we have a greater duty to our patients." The American Nurses Association issued a "zero tolerance" policy for violence and bullying after a number of nurses who were surveyed said they had been assaulted or bullied on the job. Gillespie said he hoped police would use the case as an instructional tool.

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