02/24/2015 01:59 EST | Updated 04/26/2015 05:59 EDT

B.C. nurses to pursue legal action against violent and aggressive patients

VANCOUVER - The head of the B.C. Nurses' Union says it will pursue legal action against patients who assault nurses.

Gayle Duteil says the BCNU has requested better security for nurses across the province, including more safety officers and alarm systems.

The union has also created a new policy that includes a range of supports for nurses who are physically or psychologically injured on the job.

The union says that may involve financial support for nurses waiting for compensation from WorkSafeBC.

Duteil says the union has waited too long for the government and health authorities to take action as nurses continue being hurt.

The union has repeatedly drawn attention to the issue of safety, most recently after a doctor was severely beaten by a patient at Penticton Regional Hospital.