Wednesday, July 19, 2017

Elise's Law

Nurse Elise Wilson
After being savagely stabbed by a patient, nurse Elise Wilson’s colleagues, friends and family testify on behalf of “Elise’s Law”.

Today the Massachusetts State House witnessed Elise Wilson’s colleagues, friends and family testify on behalf of “Elise’s Law”, a legislative protective act for healthcare workers. Elise, the nurse the law is named after wasn’t there. She was so severely injured by a patient brutally stabbing her that, a month and half after the savage attack, she is still recovering and was unable to attend the hearing. The horrific assault she endured left her in critical care – fighting for her life with scars that will last a lifetime. Thank goodness she is alive!
It is awful to think that someone almost needs to die, before felony legislation is put in place. Massachusetts legislators – it’s time to protect healthcare professionals from being assaulted.

"Elise's Law" is formally known as Senate Bill No. 1374, which was filed by state Senator James Timilty about five months prior to Wilson being attacked. Thirty-five other legislators have also signed on in support of the proposal. The Massachusetts Nurses Association proposed the law in effort to better protect healthcare workers and create programs to prevent workplace violence.

Based upon a Massachusetts Nurses Association survey of more than 220 nurses it found that fear of violence and physical and verbal abuse are pervasive in Massachusetts healthcare facilities. More than 85 percent of nurses have been assaulted physically or verbally. Nurses are assaulted on the job more than police officers and prison guards, with more than 70 percent of hospital emergency department nurses reporting being assaulted during their career. These are frightening statistics we, and others who work in the healthcare industry, face just by going to work! Enough!!

Violence should not be part of any job! It is time Massachusetts legislators make much needed, and overdue changes to protect, Massachusetts healthcare workers, their constituents and our mothers, fathers, daughters, sons, spouses, friends and colleagues by passing Massachusetts’s felony legislation!

Sheila Wilson, RN, BSN, MPH
President, Stop Healthcare Violence