They are dealing with physical injuries as a result of an increased number of aggressive dementia patients, mental health patients and people dealing with substance abuse.

Nurses are also getting older themselves and can find some of the heavy lifting difficult.

But, the B.C. Nurses Union President Christine Sorensen said they are also dealing with verbal abuse from patients or frustrated family members.

“Usually, you know, swearing, anger about why their care isn’t being delivered quicker, why their loved one has had to wait, whether that’s in a residential care bed to be fed or changed, if they needed to be, or in an acute care hospital waiting for services or someone to come and help them, there just isn’t enough staff in the system to meet their needs.”

Sorensen said the Union is calling on the province to make improvements including having specially trained security guards in some of the most volatile settings, having more staff hired to meet the needs of care home residents and some security provided to community nurses.

She said there are specially trained security guards, “In our forensic hospitals where we deal with some of the most violent patients withing British Columbia. VIHA, the Island Health Authority currently employs that particular model of care within a number of their facilities but not all of their facilities and with those protection services officers, or security officers we’ve seen significant improvements of dealing with aggression in those units.”