Calling All SEIU Nurses
Deborah Bonn, the director of the Nurse Alliance of SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania, recently sent an email to more than 500 SEIU nurses about the recent cluster of tragic events facing nurses around the country. These events put a spotlight on the extent of violence against nurses and other healthcare workers.
The problem is that even though these violent acts were widely reported, they have unfortunately since fallen off the radar.
- A psychiatric technician, Donna Gross, was killed on the job at Napa State Hospital. A mentally ill patient at the facility allegedly strangled her to death.
- Two days after Ms. Gross was killed, Cynthia Palomata, a nurse at the Contra Costa County jail, was killed by a violent inmate who lost control and beat her with a lamp.
In Bonn’s letter to RNs, she wrote,
“Unfortunately, workplace violence won’t end by media attention alone…we should NOT BE OK with going to work knowing there’s a real possibility of getting hurt, traumatized or killed.”
Bonn says that nurses need to bring home the seriousness of workplace violence by telling their stories. As a nurse and union leader, she agreed to share her story with the public.
Is this what nursing has become? Was I supposed to just accept these acts of workplace violence as a ‘hazard of the job’ and expect nothing would change?
Believe me, I’ve endured many other attacks in my career besides the ones I describe here. In each case, the facility gave me the impression that this was just part of the job. The facility, in not so many words, told me that we are responsible for the patients and therefore, I was responsible for all these events!
How can we make this workplace violence stop?
For one, we need to keep it on our radar long after the traditional mainstream news drops the story.
Second, we need to hear from nurses everywhere with what their experiences have been–and what they think is the remedy to fix the issue.
SEIU has set up a form for nurses to share their experience so that we can then share their stories with others.
If you’re a Registered Nurse, tell us about your experiences with violence on the job in your hospital or care facilities at http://nursealliance.onlineactions.org/wpv.