Mass. hospital struggles with patient violence

Massachusetts nurses have mounted a campaign against workplace violence, triggered in part by incidents taking place over the past year at one suburban hospital. At Boston-area Brockton Hospital, one nurse was kicked to the floor and beaten, another punched in the face, and yet a third threatened with a knife. Still others have had their hair pulled. 

In response to these incidents, and others across the state, the Massachusetts Nurses Association has called for a close look at this problem across the state. By their measurements, 50 percent of nurses surveyed by the Massachusetts Nurses Association and the University of Massachusetts reported they'd been punched at least once during a two-year period.

The incidents at Brockton Hospital led to an investigation by OSHA, which sent the facility a letter expressing concerns over violent conditions found by its investigator, particularly in the psych ward and emergency department. However, OSHA couldn't take official steps since there are no specific workplace violence standards detailed in its charter. However, it has recommended the hospital create a workplace safety committee, perform a worksite analysis and provide more violence prevention training. OSHA has also asked the hospital for ongoing progress reports.

To learn more about the violence problem:
- read this article from The Boston Globe

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