Press Release

University Medical Center nurses demand hospital act to prevent workplace violence

Large group of nurses outside hospital holding signs "New Orleans RNs:Ready to Fight"

80 percent of UMC nurses say workplace violence is a ‘major issue’

Registered nurses at University Medical Center in New Orleans, La. will hold a speak-out on Thursday, June 20 to highlight urgent safety concerns facing nurses and patients and hospital management’s lack of action. 

The nurses, who are members of National Nurses Organizing Committee/National Nurses United (NNOC/NNU), will share recent experiences with workplace violence and how they are impacting staff morale and retention. For example, this year alone, there have been at least three incidents where the hospital failed to detect lethal weapons before they were brought to patient care settings.

The nurses will also call on the hospital’s board of directors to intervene following repeated inaction by hospital management. Nearly 80 percent of nurses at UMC signed the following petition addressed to UMC’s CEO John Nickens:

“The Nurses and Nurse practitioners at University Medical Center are committed to fighting for improved workplace violence and safety protections. Workplace violence and staff safety has become an increasingly major issue in our hospital. Many workplace violence instances get swept under the rug with no support for the victims after the incident, this has been especially acute over the last year. As it stands nurses are leaving our hospital and the profession due to the violence and trauma they experience at work. This letter endorses that the wellbeing of all nurses and healthcare workers must become of the highest priority and measures must be improved upon now. 

Who: Nurses at LCMC’s University Medical Center and community members, including Reverend Gregory Manning from Broadmoor Community Church and Dave Cash from United Teachers of New Orleans 
What: Nurses speak-out against workplace violence and for urgent hospital action. There will be some time for reporter questions after nurses share their personal experiences.
When: Thursday, June 20, 6:00 - 6:30 p.m.
Where: University Medical Center, 2000 Canal St., New Orleans, La., at the intersection of S. Galvez St. and Canal St.

The petition continues: “We are asking that the hospital takes action to create a comprehensive workplace violence prevention program that is implemented at all times, in all units and work areas, and on all facility grounds, including parking structures. When the wellbeing of nurses and healthcare members is put in jeopardy it directly impacts their ability to care for their patients. If the safety of nurses and other health care employees is not guaranteed, the safety of our patients cannot be guaranteed. We urge UMC/LCMC to work with us and commit to create real change that will help us provide better care for our patients.”

UMC nurses rallied on March 25 to mark the start of negotiations on their first union contract with LCMC Health, the hospital’s management. Months earlier, in December 2023, they made history when they overwhelmingly voted to join National Nurses Organizing Committee/National Nurses United (NNOC/NNU) – becoming the first unionized private-sector hospital in the state of Louisiana and members of the largest nurses union in the United States. 

Health care workers are experiencing a surge in workplace violence rates nationally, which has been exacerbated by the health care industry’s actions during the Covid-19 pandemic. A nationwide survey conducted by National Nurses United found that the majority of nurses have experienced workplace violence and nearly half have seen a rise in rates in the past year. 

NNOC represents nearly 600 nurses at University Medical Center, including registered nurses (RNs) and nurse practitioners (NPs).

National Nurses Organizing Committee is an affiliate of National Nurses United, the largest and fastest-growing union and professional association of registered nurses in the United States with nearly 225,000 members nationwide. NNU affiliates also include California Nurses Association, DC Nurses Association, Michigan Nurses Association, Minnesota Nurses Association, and New York State Nurses Association.