Massachusetts Association of Occupational Health Nurses

Bonnie Thornton is retiring

Posted 7 months ago by Nancy Clover

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Bonnie Thornton (3.1 MB)

Bonnie Thornton, an active member of MaAOHN & a friendly face at many conferences is retiring on July 6.

Here is what she wrote about Occ Health:

Many of you know I started my career in Radiology in the early 70’s.  Mind you, that is right when computers making their way into medicine (First CAT Scan unit at Baystate Medical 1976).  These were times when we had to wait in line for gas to get to work in 1973 and the draft had ended for the Vietnam war. We were 18 years old and allowed to drink too.  I grew up in Northampton, MA a very liberal community then and now.  My career took me from Radiology in 1979 when I started Nursing School.  I got the idea I could combine both fields Nursing and Radiology. 

I worked in Interventional Radiology for about 10 years until I met Dr. Rab Cross, Medical Director of Occupational Medicine, at Franklin Medical Center in 1990.  He told me he was opening a new Occupational Health Clinic in Springfield (Business & Health) and needed someone like me with Radiology experience and Nursing experience to open the clinic.  So off I went and started in Occupational Medicine.  It was a fascinating place to work, a mini ER/Urgent care clinic located in the heart of the industrial park in Springfield.  We would tour all the companies who had signed up to be our “Customers.”  I learned a lot seeing workers in their work environment and was further intrigued with Occupational Health and pursued my MS degree in Occupational and Environment Health and Safety. I joined the WMAOHN group in 1994 and attended many interesting meetings and became a board member for about 17 years serving as Treasurer, Board of Directors and Nominating Committee. I received the Nurse Excellence award in 2007. We were a fun loving and active chapter and helped each other along the way.  I went on to work onsite in manufacturing for 5 years at Intelicoat Technologies in S. Hadley , MA doing direct care and managing the workers comp injuries.

This experience has segued into my current role of Occupational Health Nurse Case Manager at UMass Memorial Medical Center for the past 16 years.  I have worked with a diverse group of professionals and have learned from each of you.  You have given me pointers on treating and dealing with people, and help complying with the regulatory bodies we deal with in this specialty, of Occupational Health Nursing.  This is a profession of life-long learning and adjusting.  It is important to participate/ get engaged (a slogan from Joan Balkus) in the profession of Occupational Health Nursing as a specialty and help the worker keep safe/healthy in the workplace.

I look back and will miss all the friends I have made, and the wonderful people working in Occupational Health, I have met along the way.

Thank you all for your support and sharing of knowledge, time, laughter, words of wisdom and reaching out to help one other.

Bonnie Thornton RT (R), RN,MS,COHN-S,CCM


 Bonnie, We wish you a happy, healthy & long retirement.  We hope you will stop by a conference some time.

Best wishes,



Nancy Beaudoin 7 months ago

Thank you, Bonnie for not only sharing your wonderful story but also for the kind advice you have passed along to so many including myself. You will never know how nice it was to receive your emails with reminders for upcoming conferences and meetings. May you have a wonderful restful retirement! Thanks again!
Nancy Beaudoin

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