It was one year ago when many of us gathered at our biennial Nurse Alliance conference in Las Vegas. At that time we were challenged to use our voices as nurses to create a better future for our patients, our communities and our profession.
SEIU nurses have truly taken that charge to heart.
We launched our first-ever online forum to spark a national conversation about the future of nursing. Many themes surfaced, including early recruitment and training new nurses through internship and residency programs. Vanessa Patricelli, a member of SEIU 1199NW and one of the leading Idea Forum contributors, authored a widely viewed op-ed recently in STAT news about the need for hospitals to support staff nurses to get undisturbed break time and re-charge for the remainder of their shift. Her piece, Why Can’t Nurses Get a Break?, is a great example of how we can use our voices as union nurses to advocate for change, at work and in the media. Read Patricelli’s op-ed here.
To honor National Preparedness Month, public health nurses Sharon Sylvers-Sidney and Shamika Ossy were recognized by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and invited to the White House for their leadership in training more than 300 teens on disaster preparedness. The Local 721 nurses are helping generations be prepared in basic disaster response, light search and rescue, team organization and disaster medical operations to serve the community of South Los Angeles when they will need it most.
SEIU nurses are also stepping up to make sure we elect candidates up and down the ballot who will champion issues critical to working families. Whether it’s spotting nurses for Hillary on the evening news, sharing favorite clips on social media or registering voters, SEIU nurses are making a big difference.
This past weekend in Milwaukee, I joined 15 members of our Nurse Alliance Leadership Committee and hundreds of community members in a rally for immigration and worker rights and march to the polls. It was so inspiring to see Black, white and Latino voters unite together in what proves to be the most racially and ethnically diverse election in history. I believe the endless attacks on women and communities of color are just making us stronger to win in November and build the kind of country where everyone has the freedom to pursue a path to their success.See more coverage here.
Leading up to Election Day, I encourage you to reach beyond what you’re accustomed to doing: volunteer for one more phonebank; knock on another door after the canvass ends; and don’t just vote--take a friend or co-worker with you.
In Unity, Dian Palmer, RN Chair, Nurse Alliance of SEIU Healthcare
Affordable Care Act
In case you missed it: SEIU District 1199 RN Judy Maldonado from Ohio explains in this blog post how coverage under the Affordable Care Act is making a difference for her patients. Not only are the 20 million people in this country who have gained healthcare coverage getting their checkups, they are free from the worry of being able to cover costly prescriptions and no longer fearing medical debt.
"[Patients] can now walk into the doors of a clinic or hospital and know they can get the care they need when they need it. It also means they’re taking steps to stay healthy so they can go to work and take care of their families."
However, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Burwell points out in this CNN piece, “administration, insurers, states and Congress all have a role to play in making it work even better; informed by the past three years of experience.” Read Maldonado’s post-including her pledge to make sure the ACA is here for generations to come-here.
ER Overcrowding: Nurses May Hold Key to Shorter Stays, Wait Times, Fierce Healthcare, Aug. 9 New research found that having emergency room nurses provide treatments, according to protocols, to patients presenting with fever, chest pain and other common conditions could be an answer to the ongoing problem of emergency department overcrowding.
Preventing Suicide Takes a Public Health Approach, HHS blog, Sept. 29 Each year there are more than 40,000 suicides in the United States--an average of about 117 every day. For every person who dies by suicide, more than 225 people seriously consider it. These statistics do not begin to tell the emotional and financial toll suicide and suicidal behavior exacts on individuals, families and communities.
This article suggests three simple strategies that nurses should keep in mind as we interact with colleagues, friends, loved ones, youth and older adults--and as we care for ourselves.
Raising an Alarm, Doctors Fight to Yank Hospital ICUs into the Modern Era , STAT News, Sept. 7 In addition to alarm fatigue, ICU nurses face an average of 200 duties per shift, spending a lot of time checking orders and logging simple data from one device into another. Efforts are underway to upgrade ICUs where all devices, including ventilators, compression devices, even beds, are all electronically linked.
On Your Mark, Give Birth, Go Back to Work, NPR, Oct. 4 The fact the United States is one of the only high-income countries that does not mandate paid leave of any type for its workers has been a hot issue this election. A large majority of families with young children need both parents to work and many are headed by a single parent. Hillary Clinton is advocating for stronger paid maternity and sick leave policies; and some states and cities are passing their own paid leave measures.
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