Violence at work

Excerpt from the Nurse Alliance Roundup for February 16, 2012

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By Richard A. Negri

When I learned about Stephanie Moulton from Massachusetts, I had to get involved. Let me explain: Stephanie was killed on the job about this time last year — she was only 25-years old. She was working ALONE with a known violent patient who’d been self-medicating when he lost his way and attacked her. Stephanie was stabbed to death. This was a preventable situation that took Stephanie’s young life. Anything from having added staff, security, or even a panic button could have helped — but none of that was available.

Stephanie’s family, along with SEIU Local 509 and a number of other human rights and labor organizations came together to put together a Massachusetts state-wide candlelight vigil on what would have been Stephanie’s 26th birthday.

I created an online form so people could send the family letters of condolence, solidarity or even tell their own story if they felt comfortable enough to do that. I wanted to show the family that this is not a Massachusetts-only issue, obviously, and that we’re all in this together. The response was overwhelming. We have heard from more than 50 nurses, doctors, and some activists who happened upon the links and were moved to send a message. (This effort is ongoing, if you haven’t already, by all means head over to the form to send a letter to Stephanie’s family now.)

The day after the vigil I had the good fortune to have a discussion with Stephanie’s mom. She was on a conference call with a number of the organizers of the event. I told her that she should take pride in knowing how unbelievably brave she is in speaking out and bringing state and national attention to what happened to Stephanie. I also told her that what she is doing in her daughter’s name is not going unnoticed, that we are making sure every healthcare provider we can reach knows about Stephanie, and of the Revere Nursing Home where she worked (the facility is actively fighting back OSHA for citations).

Stephanie’s mom kept saying, “thank you,” over and over again. She was so moved that so many people came out in support of her and her family. So, reread some of what all took place since the last RoundUp went out, and tell me if you agree that our union is as strong as our members’ passion to strategically fight the right fight — and not just for ourselves alone, but for our patients, our communities, our country. Every item mentioned in the RoundUp (and any that are missed) are open to your input. Please be reminded time and again that if you want to share your thoughts, stories, or anything else — including good recipes — bring it. To make that happen, just email me. Richard.Negri@nursealliance.org.

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