News & Events

Fighting for victory—it’s your decision

From the Massachusetts Nurse Newsletter
March 2005 Edition

By Joe Twarog
Associate Director, Labor Education & Training

Each and every day we are faced with difficult decisions. Often they have to do with the care we provide our patients. At times they have to do with what may be an unsafe working condition with a potential direct affect on us.

When faced with such a situation our natural reaction is to go to our supervisor and look for direction. Because we work in health care it is natural to think this is the type of problem we can work out. That is often not the case. We have found that in many cases the supervisor will say the condition is really not unsafe. Too often the nurse will drop the complaint at this point.

There are alternatives and they all start with your MNA officers and representatives. All of our representatives can go to bat for you. Here at MNA we can help you to determine some of the principal elements surrounding unsafe working conditions or potential hazard. MNA can bring information to you and your employer on how to control and prevent the working condition from becoming worse.

You have the following options:

  1. Ask your MNA representative to speak with the administration and try to settle the issue informally.
  2. Consult with the MNA representative and the MNA health and safety staff for information that would help your position.
  3. Through the MNA seek the advice and counsel of an expert outside attorney.
  4. Consult with your MNA representative about calling in the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to investigate.
  5. File a formal grievance and request a hearing.
  6. File a stress-related Workmen ’s Compensation claim if it applies.

I am sorry to say that in some cases nurses have decided to resign their position when faced with an unsafe condition. It doesn’t have to be this way. You have many options when faced with such a situation. The MNA has a very active Health and Safety Program that works closely with OSHA and is here to serve you. Take advantage if it. When faced with such a problem remember, you have options.