Mass. Nurses Account Violence on the Job

BOSTON, March 30 (UPI) — Nurses in Massachusetts say they want two bills in the state Legislature that would stiffen the penalties of those who assault nurses.

Officials of the Massachusetts Nurses Association are holding a news conference Wednesday to support the bills HB1696/SB1753 and afterwards hundreds of nurses will lobby their legislators in the statehouse to have the bills approved.

SB988 requires healthcare employers to develop and implement programs to prevent workplace violence, while HB1931 creates a special unit in the department of mental health to treat repeat perpetrators of violence.

Nurses are assaulted at work on a par with police officers and correctional officers, but most hospitals and healthcare facilities fail to address workplace violence, the nurses say.

The nurses say they will recount their own experiences of violence at work. An emergency department nurse at St. Elizabeth’s Medical Center says she was exposed to HIV and hepatitis C when a patient assaulted her dislodging an IV line, while a nurse from Baystate Franklin Medical Center describes her assaults while working in a psychiatric unit.

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