A group of Region 4 members met with Senator Steven Baddour on February 8th in Haverhill to pass on a message: a nurse is not a punching bag. The group, which included members from Merrimack Valley, Lawrence General and Tewksbury State Hospitals, told Senator Baddour their stories and discussed the importance of passing Workplace Violence Prevention Legislation.
In the group of eleven, personal stories ranged from being punched and spit on, to having a finger broken and being verbally assaulted. The nurses explained the need for a comprehensive package of legislation to curb the growing violence in health care settings. Three pieces of legislation were discussed:
Prevent the Violence: An Act Requiring Health Care Employers to Develop and Implement Programs to Prevent Workplace Violence (SB988) filed by Rep. Costello and Sen. Timilty. This bill would require health care employers to perform an annual risk assessment and based on those findings, develop and implement programs to prevent the violence in the first place.
Punish the Offenders: An Act Relative to Assault and Battery on Health Care Providers
(HB1696/SB1753) filed by Rep. Rodrigues and Sen. M. Moore. This legislation would enhance
penalties for patients/clients who assault nurses and healthcare professionals who are providing treatment to patients.
Manage Chronic Risks: An Act Relative to Creating a Difficult to Manage Unit within
the Department of Mental Health (HB1931) filed by Rep. Haddad. This legislation would create
a "Difficult to Manage" unit for women within the Department of Mental Health and reinstate the "Difficult to Manage" unit for men.
The Region 4 nurses were able to discuss each bill and explain to the Senator how each one would help them in their facility. The group had a lively discussion and the Senator left the meeting with a greater understanding of what MNA nurses are experiencing on a regular basis in their workplace.
Similar meetings are being planned between now and March 31st with Representative Barbara L’Italien and Representative Harriett Stanley. If you are interested in attending one of those meetings, or would like to be involved with the Workplace Violence Prevention campaign, please contact Lainey Titus at 978-977-9205 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Pictured, from left, are Marie Melanson (MVH), Deirdre Tremblay (MVH), Jeanette Cholewa (MVH), Norma Ouellette (Lawrence General), Rita Stogryn (MVH), Senator Baddour, Doreen (Dodie) Pacheco (Lawrence), Al DeSantis (Unit 7/Tewksbury), Sharon Hellman (Lawrence), Charles Palmer (Unit 7/Tewksbury), Kathy Renzi (MVH).