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Violence Has No Place in the Workplace

Liz Shuler
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Patt Moon-Updike wanted to be a nurse since she was 9 years old. In 2007, after raising her family, she was finally able to make that dream come true after graduating from nursing school and joining the Wisconsin Federation of Nurses and Health Professionals, a union affiliated with the American Federation of Teachers.

She was only three days into her position as a psychiatric nurse at the Behavioral Health Division of Milwaukee County in the Child and Adolescent Treatment Unit when a young patient with a history of aggression kicked her in the throat, collapsing her trachea.

“All I remember is sitting in a chair, not being able to breathe, holding on to my trachea for dear life. I just knew if I let go, I would die right there in that hallway,” said Moon-Updike. The incident left her with lifelong injuries and post-traumatic stress disorder so severe that she can no longer work in health care, her childhood dream.

Violence should never be part of the job. But the reality is violence is now the third-leading cause of workplace deaths, resulting in nearly 29,000 serious injuries every year. 

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