Photo of Christine Sorensen courtesy of the BC Nurses Union
Nurses and health care workers across the province will have easier access to mental health compensation for things like Post Traumatic Stress Disorder.
With a presumptive condition, once a formal diagnosis like Post Traumatic Stress Disorder has been made, there is no longer a need to prove that a mental health disorder is work-related.
However, filing a claim with WorkSafe BC is still necessary.
In an interview with Vista Radio, BC Nurses Union President Christine Sorensen stated nurses from across the province including the north put up with a lot on a daily basis.
“Violence is something they are exposed to. I have heard from nurses who have been hit or bit, spit on or sexually assaulted also, we’ve had nurses who have been stabbed as physical injuries are not uncommon.”
“We do have a number of nurses who register every year claims with WorkSafe for PTSD meaning they have been injured in the workplace and they now have a mental illness that is related to injuries from workplace events and is now struggling with PTSD.”
Sorensen is also happy to see nurses given the same assistance as first responders as the previous legislation only gave this benefit to first responders.
“While we support our first responder colleagues we also recognize that nurses are equally as impacted as first responders so we have been lobbying for this change for a year and a half now.”
“What this does is recognize that mental injury is related to the work that takes place within the health care profession for nurses and health care aides. This acknowledges what we have been saying is happening in health care and what it does is allow nurses to access earlier treatment and care, so once this piece of legislation was changed, what it allowed was the validation of the injury and the acknowledgement that the treatment was required and the nurse could then access treatment quicker rather than having to prove their case.”
Nursing remains a very demanding profession and the change was long overdue.
“We are constantly exposed to human suffering, trauma and sometimes violence and a lot of physical contact and some of that contact is unwanted and patients perhaps may purposely sometimes take advantage and do things they shouldn’t do.”
During the announcement, a BC health care aide who has been diagnosed with PTSD shared her traumatic experience where she was assaulted for three days straight, which included repeated sexual attempts, biting, licking, and kissing.