Massachusetts Nurses Association's Workplace Violence Prevention Task Force Wins Honors for Poster Presentation at International Conference

Tuesday, November 18, 2008 General News
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CANTON, Mass., Nov. 17 The Massachusetts NursesAssociation's (MNA's) Workplace Violence Task Force recently received thehonor of "Best Poster Presentation Award" for its submission entitled "LegalInterventions for Addressing Workplace Violence in the Health Sector" at theInternational Workplace Violence Conference in Holland.

The conference, which was held in Amsterdam between October 22 and 24,focused on the ever-increasing rate of violence against health care workersacross the globe. In the United States, 48 percent of all non-fatal assaultsin the workplace are committed by health care patients. Nurses and otherpersonal care workers suffer violent assaults at a rate 12 times higher thanother industries. In a 2004 survey of Massachusetts nurses, 50 percentindicated they had been punched at least once in the last two years, and 25-30percent were regularly pinched, scratched, spit on or had their hand/wristtwisted.

The specific goals of the conference were to: sensitize stakeholders tothe issue of workplace violence; promote effective policies and strategies tocreate safe work environments; and to understand the manifestations and thehuman, professional and economic implications of workplace violence.

"Workplace violence in the health sector is progressively gainingattention and recognition as being a global challenge," added Susan Vickory,an RN, and member of the MNA's Workplace Violence Task Force, and the personresponsible for developing the information for the poster presentation. "Thisoccupational health hazard affects workers across all sectors, but it hasbecome a major concern for many different stakeholders in the health careindustry."

"Our poster presentation focused on the specifics of how to holdperpetrators of workplace violence accountable for their crimes against nursesand other health care workers," added Rosemary O'Brien RN, chairpersonWorkplace Violence Task Force, and the poster presenter. "In health care oranywhere, violence is a crime. Holding perpetrators accountable is the onlyway to create a safer environment for workers and, ultimately, for patients."

The MNA's poster presentation emphasized, among other things, how thereporting and documentation of violent acts must be part of an organization'sculture. Specifically:

Also attending the conference and assisting in the development of theposter presentation were Terri Arthur, RN, MNA member, and a member of theMNA's Congress on Health and Safety, and Evie Bain, RN and coordinator of theMNA's health and safety program.

More than 20 countries were represented at the conference and a total of43 posters were presented. "This is a great honor for the MNA and for theTaskforce," said O'Brien. "As we move forward with our work, we will know thatwe're not only helping local health care workers but workers from across theglobe as well."

Founded in 1903, the Massachusetts Nurses Association is the largestprofessional health care organization and the largest union of registerednurses in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Its 23,000 members advance thenursing profession by fostering high standards of nursing practice, promotingthe economic and general welfare of nurses in the workplace, projecting apositive and realistic view of nursing, and by lobbying the Legislature andregulatory agencies on health care issues affecting nurses and the public.-- Violent acts should be part of the public record no matter where they occur -- Reporting must be consistent to bring attention to the problem -- When reporting, prepare and keep records of everything that happens -- from crime scene photos to facility incident reports -- Know ahead of time who to call when an act of violence is committed -- File criminal charges

SOURCE Massachusetts Nurses Association

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