United Nurses of Alberta supports a petition calling for nurses to be included in presumptive coverage for traumatic psychological injuries.
UNA member and Registered Nurse Heather Murray spearheaded the collection of around 1,000 signatures from nurses and supporters calling for nurses to have access to presumptive coverage for compensation, meaning that the Workers’ Compensation Board would presume that a confirmed psychological or psychiatric injury happened because of an incident at work.
“Through the nature of their work, nurses are routinely exposed to traumatic events in the workplace,” said Heather Smith, president of United Nurses of Alberta. “Nurses should not be forced to wait for – or be denied – access to workers’ compensation benefits after experiencing traumatic events while on the job.”
The petition is expected to be tabled in the Legislative Assembly around 1:30 pm today by Edmonton-Beverly-Clareview MLA Peggy Wright and supported by Edmonton-Glenora MLA Sarah Hoffman, Edmonton-City Centre MLA David Shepherd, Calgary-Varsity MLA Luanne Metz and Calgary-Currie MLA Janet Eremenko.
The petition calls on the government to include in presumptive coverage legislation any nurse registered or licensed with a college of nursing in Alberta.
“Nurses are on the front lines of the health care system and should be included with other front-line workers like emergency medical workers, firefighters, dispatchers, police and corrections officers in not needing to provide proof of a causal link to post-traumatic stress disorder and workplace incidents to receive coverage” Smith said.
Nurses are frequently exposed to traumatic events and are twice as likely as members of the general public to suffer a diagnosis such as PTSD. If the legislation is changed, nurses will have access to Workers’ Compensation programs and treatment initiatives that will assist them in their recovery and get them back in to the health care workforce faster.
The wording of the petition is as follows:
We, the undersigned residents of Alberta, petition the Legislative Assembly to urge the Government to introduce legislation to amend the Workers’ Compensation Act to extend presumptive coverage for workplace injuries related to post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) and other traumatic mental health injuries to all nurses who hold a practice permit or are registered with a college of a regulated profession under the Health Professions Act.