2005 News

Health and safety conference signals close of research portion of PHASE Project

08.15.2005

From the Massachusetts Nurse Newsletter
July/August 2005 Edition

By Evelyn Bain, M Ed, RN, COHN-S
Associate Director/Coordinator, Health & Safety

Around 1999, the MNA’s Congress on Health and Safety staff and members were approached by a group of researchers from University of Massachusetts Lowell. The researchers were interested in gaining the MNA’s support for and participation in a grant-funded research project to study the working conditions, across the spectrum of job titles, in the healthcare industry.

The Congress on Health and Safety, the Workplace Violence and Abuse Prevention Task Force, the MNA Board of Directors and other members gather with Evie Bain, coordinator, Health and Safety Division at the PHASE Conference in Tyngsboro on April 28. From left, Mary Bellistri, Maryanne Dillon, Terri Arthur, Kate Opanasets, Rosemary O’Brien, Marcia Robertson, Noreen Hogan, Evie Bain, Liz O’Connor, Cecil Pryce, Sharon McCollum, Gail Lenehan, Mike D’Intinosanto and Sandy Hottin.

The Congress members supported the project and requested approval of the MNA Board of Directors, thus, MNA members at large. Once this approval was secured, MNA began a continuous, interesting and valuable relationship with the researchers, planners and program staff of the PHASE project.

 
  Diane Michael, left, from the MNA’s Board of Directors and Andrea Fox, associate director in the MNA’s department of labor relations, listen intently as workplace violence prevention strategies are discussed. Photos courtesy of Terry Arthur.

MNA members participated in five focus groups and gave input on conditions in their work environment. Group discussions were monitored and recorded by the researchers and the topics addressed included workplace violence, return-to-work issues following injury, and workers compensation issues from the perspective of the injured worker.

MNA representatives were active members of the planning committee, as well as presenters and participants for three health and safety conferences presented at the educational component of the grant. Occupational health issues such as occupational asthma,musculo-skeletal injuries, workplace violence, needle-stick injuries and workplace stress were the topics addressed in the breakout sessions at these conferences. The first and second conferences were directed at the problems faced by workers in this industry in relation to hazards. The third conference was directed at presenting “best practices.” In five short years, changes were notable across the health care settings and the MNA was helpful to the conference planners in locating those programs that could be showcased.

 
  Chris Pontus, associate director in the MNA’s health and safety division, talks with Paul Morse, project manager at the New England Consortium.

As the PHASE project winds down, the MNA anticipates that as research findings are released they will be highlighted in the Massachusetts Nurse and made available on the MNA’s Web site. We also anticipate that the research findings will be very valuable as the MNA continues to address the need for improving the working conditions and health/safety of nurses and other healthcare workers.

Thanks to all the PHASE researchers for their dedication to this project.

Copies of several of the presentations from the April 28 conference are available. Visit www.uml.edu/PHASE and click on “conferences.”

FPO