National Nurses United

National Nurse Magazine November 2012

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Letter from the Council of Presidents regardless of age, experience, work environment, or geography, nurses are united in their love of minimum RN-topatient staffing ratios because, at the end of the day, we all care about one thing: patient safety. As the healthcare industry steps up its relentless pursuit of profits, we nurses know that we are often the last line of defense for patients between life and, well, death. But there needs to be enough of us nurses around so that we can do our jobs. And that���s why laws establishing minimum, numerical RN-to-patient staffing ratios are so critical, whether at the state or national level. Penalties for breaking the law are needed, too! If we hear one more proposal for a toothless ���hospital staffing committee��� that invites a few nurses to come and sing kumbaya with managers, we just might have a brain aneurysm. No, we need real, honest-to-god ratios. In this issue, we have prepared a special section focusing on everything you ever needed to know about staffing ratios. Currently, California is the only state in the nation with hospital-wide ratios set by law, so we devote some space to examining how nurses there won that legislation and have had to defend it at every turn. We also cover which other states are trying to pass ratio bills, what bills NNU is proposing at the federal level, and even what RNs internationally are doing to win safe staffing standards. The studies show that ratios are a win-win: they help save lives and save the hospital money NATIONAL NURSE,��� (ISSN 2153-0386 print/ISSN 2153-0394 online) The Voice of National Nurses United, November 2012 Volume 108/8 is published by National Nurses United, 2000 Franklin Street, Oakland, CA 94612-2908. It provides news of organizational activities and reports on developments of concern to all registered nurses across the nation. It also carries general coverage and commentary on matters of nursing practice, community and public health, and healthcare policy. It is published monthly except for at the same time. And don���t miss the second part of our continuing education home study on ratios and complete the test for five contact hours! We hope that this special focus on ratios brings you up to speed on what���s happening and motivates you to get involved in securing safe ratios where you live and work. Because you know, as we like to say, we���re all going to end up in that hospital bed some day. In other matters, the 2012 general elections are over and, overall, the results were good news for nurses and working people. Many NNU-backed candidates won, and some critical state ballot measures shook out the way we wanted. Check out the news section for details and more. But our work is not over. There���s still a long road ahead toward rebuilding our country, winning healthcare for all Americans, holding the officials we just elected accountable, and fighting the corporatization of everything. Starting on the cover and continuing inside, NNU���s executive director RoseAnn DeMoro lists these among at least 101 reasons for RN unity. What���s your reason? Get involved, and let���s find out. Deborah Burger, RN | Karen Higgins, RN | Jean Ross, RN National Nurses United Council of Presidents combined issues in January and February, and July and August. Periodicals postage paid at Oakland, California. POSTMASTER: send address changes to National Nurse, 2000 ��� Franklin Street, Oakland, CA 94612-2908. To send a media release or announcement, fax (510) 663-0629. National Nurse��� is carried on the NNU website at For permission to reprint articles, write to Editorial Office. To subscribe, send $40 ($45 foreign) to Subscription Department. Stay connected @RNmagazine, @NationalNurses FLICKR: YOUTUBE: FACEBOOK: TWITTER: Please contact us with your story ideas They can be about practice or management trends you���ve observed, or simply something new you���ve encountered in the profession. They can be about one nurse, unit, or hospital, or about the wider landscape of healthcare policy from an RN���s perspective. They can be humorous, or a matter of life and death. If you���re a writer and would like to contribute an article, please let us know. You can reach us at EXECUTIVE EDITOR RoseAnn DeMoro EDITOR Lucia Hwang GRAPHIC DESIGN Jonathan Wieder COMMUNICATIONS DIRECTOR Charles Idelson CONTRIBUTORS Gerard Brogan, RN, Hedy Dumpel, RN, JD, Jan Rabbers, Donna Smith, David Schildmeier, Ann Kettering Sincox PHOTOGRAPHY Jaclyn Higgs, Tad Keyes, Erin FitzGerald

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