Ellis Nurses Speak Out Against Workplace Violence

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: February 28, 2020
Contact: Kristi Barnes I kristi.barnes@nysna.org I 646.853.4489

After violent hospital attack, nurses demand change

Schenectady, NY – On February 27, a patient at Ellis Hospital stabbed three nurses, including one student nurse, who all suffered injuries. It is a felony in New York State to assault a nurse, and the patient now faces charges.

“Nurses’ safety should be paramount to hospital administrators,” said Denise D’Avella, RN, a critical care nurse at Ellis Hospital. “Nurses shouldn’t have to fear for their well-being while tending to their patients’ needs.”

She continued, “This hospital needs to address our concerns with safety and with safe staffing. Security is more concerned about where we park and whether our union rep is in the building, than with the safety of our staff. When there’s a violent incident, security is nowhere to be found.”

NYSNA nurses have repeatedly brought forward safety concerns at Labor Management meetings. A NYSNA Representative filed an information request to learn more about yesterday’s incident.

“It’s hard to understand how this patient, who had a history of felony convictions and who was well-known to hospital staff, was placed in an open patient unit,” said Sarah Cornett, RN, Membership Chair, Bellevue Woman’s Center Executive Committee.

Other nurses from Capital Region hospitals spoke out about the incident. NYSNA Nurses at Ellis Hospital and Bellevue Woman’s Center are engaged in contract negotiations and share the same management, policies and procedures.

Cornett continued, “No one wants a violent incident like this to happen. It’s another thing to put safety policies and procedures in place to actively prevent incidents like this from happening. That is what nurses need and what management has refused to address at the bargaining table.”


The New York State Nurses Association (NYSNA) represents more than 42,000 members in New York State. We are New York’s largest union and professional association for registered nurses. For more information, please visit www.nysna.org.


We are 42,000 nurses working together to win safe staffing, keep hospitals open for care, stop the Wall Street attack on our patients, and win healthcare for all.