‘A constant battle’: Meth putting health care workers safety in jeopardy, says former nurse

We turn to nurses and doctors for help, but a former Winnipeg nurse says no one is helping health care workers who she says are increasingly becoming targets for abuse on the job.Kardene Campbell worked at Seven Oaks Hospital for 38 years and says she saw a significant spike in violent patients in the months before she retired last June.“When I started nursing we may have been injured or assaulted a little bit, but it was, you know a little old granny who was confused and would give you a little pinch,” she said.Story continues below

“But this has progressed above and beyond that … I’m not being pinched anymore — I’m being physically assaulted.”Campbell said she regularly experienced verbal abuse while working, and two of her colleagues were physically assaulted, one attacked in the waiting room and the other “punched out” in the hospital’s stretcher bay area.READ MORE: Winnipeg acts on task force’s recommendations on Manitoba’s meth crisisShe has no doubt the violence is tied to the city’s growing meth problem.“Everyday we hear about what the fire paramedic service or the police are dealing with in regards to the meth crisis, but we have to remember that those individuals come into emergency departments and the safety concerns aren’t always addressed there,” she said.“We would see a lot of those individuals, they’re difficult to deal with, they’re very challenging.”In October the Manitoba Nurses Union reported a 1,200 per cent increase in meth-related emergency room visits in Winnipeg since 2013.