PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Lifespan launched a campaign Thursday morning to raise awareness about the rise of workplace violence against health care workers.
The campaign, #ScottStrong, Keep Healthcare Workers Safe, asks the public to sign a pledge to help keep health care environments safe and advocate for protecting workers.
Last month, a nurse was critically injured after he was attacked by a patient at Rhode Island Hospital.
Police said Scott Amaral was “violently assaulted” by George Bower in the Jane Brown building — the hospital’s psychiatric department.
“We were deeply saddened and angered by the assault on Scott, one of our dedicated nurses,” said Dr. Dean Roye, Senior Vice President for Medical Affairs and Chief Medical Officer at Rhode Island Hospital.
WATCH: Lifespan announces their new anti-violence campaign (Story continues below.)
“That’s why, with the support of Scott’s family, we are launching this campaign to solicit the public’s help in ending violence against health care workers,” Roye continued.
Amaral has recovered enough to be discharged from the hospital, officials said.
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics states that health care workers have the highest rate of workplace violence injuries – they are five times more likely to be injured than other workers.
Additionally, a 2023 national health care survey by Premier found that 40% of health care workers have experienced at least one incident of workplace violence within the past two years.
Rep. David Bennett, who’s a retired psychiatrics nurse, supports the initiative. He said he knows all too well the dangers of workplace violence.
“I’ve had the experience of meeting really nice people, and really bad people,” Bennett said. “I’ve had people hit me, bite me, punch me, throw me into walls … I’ve had my knee messed up, my finger broken.”
“Every nurse in this state right now is saying to themselves, ‘That could have been me,'” he continued. “We’ve got families, we’ve got lives. We wouldn’t be in this profession if we didn’t want to help … [But] we can’t have nurses getting hurt.”
The pledge, which is available online, urges people to commit to creating a safe and respectful environment for health care workers, patients, families and visitors.