National Nurses United

National Nurse Magazine October 2010

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TOC Revised_Layout 1 11/6/10 1:35 PM Page 2 Letter from the Council of Presidents kudos to all of you who vote nurses' values and encourage your family, friends, neighbors, and coworkers to do the same. But we're here to tell you that the hard work of building a national nurses movement extends well past Election Day. Who keeps our elected officials accountable after they take office? That's right. We do. By calling and writing them, by getting involved with our union's legislative and political advocacy program, and by hitting the streets, whether it's a picket line, vigil, or a rally, to let them know where nurses stand and that we're watching them closely. Across the country, employers are using the down economy as an excuse to lay off needed nurses, restructure the workplace, skirt regulations, and go after unions. Some lawmakers are proposing gutting safety, environmental, and labor protections in the name of "job creation." In this issue's news section, you can read too many examples of the many battles we're fighting. We had RNs at two California hospitals, Children's in Oakland and Watsonville Community Hospital, go out on strike in October. Nurses in Maine are considering doing the same to defend patients and RN standards. Nurses at Tufts Medical Center in Boston are beating back a dangerous floating plan. And facing incredibly tough contract negotiations this year with a recalcitrant employer, the nurses at Washington Hospital Center in Washington, D.C. recently voted overwhelmingly to join NATIONAL NURSE,™ (ISSN 2153-0386 print/ISSN 2153-0394 online) The Voice of National Nurses United, October 2010 Volume 106/8 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 National Nurses United. Management is proposing outlandish takeaways, and now the nurses are ready to fight— with the strength of more than 150,000 RNs backing them. We are so excited to welcome them into NNU. So keep your walking shoes handy, because you'll need them for all the activity this fall. Also in this issue is an article and continuing education home study on an inane, marketing-driven phenomenon that many of us are fighting at our hospitals: hourly rounding and scripting. Hourly rounding and scripting are programs that management implements to improve patient satisfaction survey scores by creating the illusion that patients are receiving lots of personal attention. Most of them involve requiring nurses to recite certain pat lines (hence the idea of "scripts"), such as "Is there anything else I can do for you? Because I have the time." These programs are not only insulting by telling RNs how they should talk to their patients, but actually interfere with nursing practice and judgment. Guess what? Patient (and nurse) satisfaction naturally rises when units have safe staffing ratios! If your workplace has not instituted such programs, consider yourself lucky—but perhaps not for long, because federal reimbursements are becoming increasingly tied to patient satisfaction scores. Read these important pieces to learn about this troubling trend so that you can either be prepared to challenge management when it arrives at your hospital, or band together with coworkers to oust these programs entirely. We're registered nurses, not actors. 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 Rose Ann 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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