NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WKRN) — Nurses in Nashville are hoping to put a new bill on the books that would add another layer of protection against registered sex offenders.
“We face anything from any gross sexual comments, people have been threatened, and unfortunately, they have been trapped in a room where the patient has been a wall between the door and the nurse themselves, so it’s scary,” said nurse Ciearria. She asked News 2, not to reveal where she works but says sexual harassment has become a constant.
We asked her what she endures the most, Ciearria explained, “comments, sexual comments, and people who come in and they are able to do things for themselves […] and not anything basic, but regarding to any sexual parts and stuff like that.”
Now, she along with others are pushing for change on a state level. The hope is to have legislators take up a bill that would require sex offenders to present their offender identification card once inside the hospital.
“You would go register at the front desk, like any other patient, the only difference is that you would hand them your sexual offender identification card, and let them know,” explained Carissa Kohne, co-writer of the bill.
Kohne pointed to an incident back in 2020 where a registered sex offender was arrested after assaulting his nurse at Vanderbilt University Medical Center. The nurse told police she was later adjusting the 46-year-old’s pillow when he grabbed her breast. She said she told him to stop, but he did it again.
Carissa explained if the bill passes, it wouldn’t stall medical services being given to patients. Instead, she explained that at the time a patient would give their name either upon entering the hospital or once conscious, then they would disclose their sex offender card information.
“It would allow us to plan how we would do patient care, not that it would change the care itself any, but we would be able to maybe go in with another nurse, let the charge nurse know hey I’m going in this room, and let them know when we are leaving,” explained Ciearria.
“I think it’s terrible that we don’t already have something in place in order to help nurses, and in order to help physicians […] there have been so many stories about patients and providers getting assaulted by patients just because their sex offender status wasn’t revealed,” explained Kohne.
They hope to have the bill presented during the next legislative session.