News & Events

A history of activism and accomplishment

The MNA Workplace Violence and Abuse Prevention Task Force

From the Massachusetts Nurse Newsletter
April 2005 Edition

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

  • Feb. 24, 2000: Task force organized by Karen Higgins, chairperson for the MNA Cabinet for Labor Relations. "We are here in response to all incidents, but the catalyst was the episode in Quincy related to a violence episode that when the nurse pressed charges, the magistrate said, "It was part of the job."
  • May 30, 2000: Task Force members addressed by Trooper Linda P. Orlando, Massachusetts State Police, Michael Jackman, office of District Attorney William Keating, Jim Thomas, captain of detectives, Weymouth PD and Jan D’Allessandro RNC, BS on short- and long-term resolutions for the problems being faced. Mission statement adopted.
  • November 2000: Seven members attend meeting with Justice Barbara Dortch-Okara, chief judge of the Trial Court. Members testify on workplace violence before the Massachusetts Legislative Nursing Commission.
  • January 2001: Bills on workplace violence prevention and accountability filed with the Massachusetts Legislature: Pension parity for Unit 7 members; safe staffing; felony to assault a healthcare worker; and violence prevention programs and employee counseling following assault.
  • March 21 2001: MNA Lobby Day. Workplace violence is the topic. MNA members featured in a story in Revolution magazine.
  • April 20, 2001: "In healthcare or anywhere, violence is not part of the job," educational conference, in conjunction with AFL/CIO Worker Memorial Day, held at MNA headquarters; 65 attended and TV and radio coverage provided. Members testify on assault and violence prevention and education bills.
  • May 2001: "Workplace Violence, Prevention and Intervention" brochure ready for distribution.
  • May 2002: MNA regional workplace violence education programs begin in three parts; nurses who are injured, the local district attorney and OSHA.
  • June 2002 : "Top Ten Actions Following an Assault" ready for distribution.
  • September 2002: Japanese nurses visit to share concerns about workplace violence in healthcare settings.
  • January 2003: OSHA complaint filed relative to workplace violence against MNA members. Massachusetts Office of Victim Assistance (MOVA) representatives visit task force meeting.
  • April 2003: Task force members speak at UMass Lowell NIOSH-sponsored educational conference on issues of workplace violence.
  • June 2003: Members learn of technique to aid victims of violence and post traumatic stress disorders after violence—Eye Movement Desensitization and Reprocessing (EMDR).
  • October 2003: Members participate in focus group for research project at UMass Lowell; promoting safe and healthy employment in healthcare, PHASE.
  • January 2004: Workplace violence and abuse survey developed cooperatively with the UMass Amherst and distributed to three MNA hospitals.
  • February 2004: Members participate in two focus groups at Suffolk University Law School on bullying in the healthcare system. Abuse prevention added to the title of the task force and all its activities.
  • April 2004: "Workplace Violence and Abuse, Changing the Culture that Allows it to Continue" is the second day-long educational session developed and presented by the Task Force members with 64 people in attendance. Workplace violence and abuse prevention position statement ready for distribution.
  • August 2004: A well-deserved summer outing.
  • January 2005: Attorneys Christine Pulgini and Lori Harling visit to discuss issues of workers’ compensation.
  • February 2005: Chris King, RN, student at Regis College, will do an internship at MNA health and safety program and focus on issues of workplace bullying.
  • And they are not through yet!