Empowering Nurses at the Bedside and in Business

Nurses Killed in the Line of Duty

I was sickened in learning of the death of psychiatric nurse practitioner June Onkundi who had started her job at the Freedom House Recovery Center in Durham, North Carolina only 3 months ago.

Ms. Onkundi, married with 4 children, was fatally stabbed while doing the work that she loved by the patient, James Gomes, a man who spent half of his life in prison.  He has been charged with first-degree murder and is being held without bond.

Elsewhere this past week, a shooting at the Methodist Dallas Medical Center claimed the life of a nurse and a social worker.  Jaqueline Pokuaa was a 45-year-old maternity ward nurse.  Nestor Hernandez, on parole for aggravated robbery and wearing an active ankle monitor at the time, is being held on capital murder charges.

A study released this past summer showed that two nurses are attacked every hour in the U.S.  These events are unacceptable.  Nurses should never have to risk their lives just by going to work.  Something needs to be done to ensure that events like these never happen again to any healthcare provider.

While I’ve read the public-issued statements from these facilities regarding the loss of life, I would really like to see what the facilities are going to do to protect their employees.

Press statements about the above murders make it seem like these two situations were unavoidable.  But that is absolutely not true!

Methodist Hospital in Dallas has had previous incidences of their nurses being attacked by patients but apparently the facility has done nothing to protect them.

I highly endorse supporting Nurses Against Violence Unite, a community about awareness, education, and empowerment with a mission to eliminate violence.

Activist Doctorate nurse Sandra Risoldi formed this organization in 2017 with a strong commitment to promoting mental wellness and supporting all healthcare workers while promoting violence prevention training.  I admire Dr. Risoldi for following her passion and her dedication.

If facilities are not willing or able to protect their nursing staffs, we must stand together to have legislation in place to require facilities to do that or at a minimum, hospitals take steps to protect their staff and train ALL nurses in self defense and de-escalation techniques.


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