National Nurses United

National Nurse Magazine May 2010

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TOC_May 6/23/10 7:24 PM Page 2 Letter from the Council of Presidents professional athletes often talk about being 'in the zone'—that sweet spot where time slows down, dramatic feats are accomplished with seeming ease and a lifetime of hard work and conditioning pays off in a few shining moments. We were reminded of that metaphor this month as we watched our colleagues achieve a series of swift and impressive victories for RNs and patients around the country. In just a few short weeks in late May and early June, over 3,000 nurses at six different hospitals voted to join National Nurses United—most of them in Texas, a state notorious for its hostility to unions. Soon after, 12,000 nurses in Minnesota staged the largest RN strike in United States history. On the same day, nurses in the University of California system—where NNU represents another 11,000 RNs—held coordinated rallies at university medical centers calling for safe staffing. Thousands of nurses in different states, standing up together to protect patients—it was a day for the history books. Even the press and the hospital industry took notice, and have begun to recognize that our movement is not going away anytime soon. Just as in sports, these stunning accomplishments came only after years of discipline and dedication—in this case, on the part of nurses who are fighting every day to organize their hospitals and create the conditions they need to provide superior patient care. We're also seeing the benefit of the solidarity that RN leaders in different geographic areas have painstakingly built over the last few years. As the Minnesota nurses will NATIONAL NURSE,™ (ISSN pending) The Voice of National Nurses United, May 2010 Volume 106/4 is published by National Nurses United, 2000 Franklin Street, Oakland, CA 946122908. 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 combined issues tell you, knowing that nurses nationwide have your back can make a world of difference on the picket line. All of these factors came together in early May at NNU's RN Heroes Conference in Washington, D.C., a whirlwind three days of education and activism that made us proud to help lead such a dynamic organization. In this issue, neonatal intensive care nurse Deborah Klaus shares her reflections on the conference. At first, she was reluctant to take time out from her busy schedule to attend, Klaus confesses. But once at the conference, she was moved by the sense of connection she experienced with RNs from other states. "Even if our voices are not heard on our individual units, or at one particular hospital, we have collective strength across this nation with our new super-union," Klaus writes, "and by coming together and supporting each other, we turn this from a mere nation into a place truly worthy of the title, 'great nation.' " We couldn't agree more. Deborah Burger, RN | Karen Higgins, RN | Jean Ross, RN National Nurses United Council of Presidents 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 ACTING EDITOR Felicia Mello 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, Lauren Reid

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