National Nurses United

National Nurse magazine May 2011

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TOC_Layout 1 6/2/11 3:56 PM Page 2 Letter from the Council of Presidents we have said for so long that none of us is an island. Though we nurses have worked hard through our unions and National Nurses United for good contracts that offer us a degree of protection in our working lives and retirements, none of us are immune from the effects of this endless recession. In preparing to launch our Main Street Contract for the American People campaign, we need to document to what extent the economic crisis has caused us all to suffer. So we've started sharing stories about what hardships we've been observing among our patients, in our neighborhoods, and experiencing ourselves in our own households. The struggles we've heard about so far have been profound: lots of uninsured and underinsured family members; many more mainstream folks joining the ranks of the homeless; people delaying medical care until their problems turn into emergencies; massive cuts to safety net programs for the elderly; and the list goes on. We've been quiet about these problems for too long. Please help us grow awareness for why the rest of us need a Main Street Contract by sharing your stories. Check out this issue's feature story on the Main Street Contract for examples of what many of us have been experiencing. People are not the only ones getting squeezed. Our other feature story in this issue explores how many skilled nursing facility units attached to hospitals are being shuttered NATIONAL NURSE,™ (ISSN 2153-0386 print/ISSN 2153-0394 online) The Voice of National Nurses United, May 2011 Volume 107/4 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 because they lose money or don't make enough money. At the same time, patients need skilled nursing more than ever. We all know they are entering the hospital sicker and sicker and getting discharged faster and faster. Where will these patients go if these units shut down? The answer is not encouraging. In other news, many NNU nurses have been waging bitter contract fights with their employers this spring. Through their unity, hard work, and bravery as patient advocates, many RNs have nevertheless been able to win stellar agreements. This group includes Massachusetts nurses from Tufts Medical Center and St. Vincent Hospital; University of California medical center nurses; and Washington Hospital Medical Center nurses in our nation's capital – among others. They deserve our kudos. And let's not forget the RNs who are still fighting: nurses at Children's Hospital in Oakland, Calif., and at multiple facilities in Minnesota. To end on a happy note, however, we wanted to point out that Southern California nurses scored a victory with the successful unionization vote of Saint John's Health Center RNs. They won in the face of a vicious union-busting campaign by the hospital. A big welcome to these nurses into our NNU family. And families always stick together. 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. 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, Lauren Reid

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