National Nurses United

Registered Nurse May 2009

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LET TER FROM THE COUNCIL OF PRESIDENTS ladies and gentlemen, the national nurses movement has officially arrived. (Did you ever have any doubt?) We've all been surely and steadily building it for years now, but the momentum we've gained in the past year has been phenomenal, with our decision to form the country's biggest union of RNs by joining forces with United American Nurses and the Massachusetts Nurses Association being just one highlight. This year's National Nurses Week was the perfect time to debut our movement in Washington, D.C. We were the talk of the town as Sen. Barbara Boxer introduced S. 1031, our "National Nursing Shortage Reform and Patient Advocacy Act," a federal bill that would establish nationwide minimum RN staffing ratios among other patient protections. We turned more than a few heads as hundreds of us marched on the Capitol in support of guaranteed healthcare by expanding Medicare to all. And we quickly headlined many news stories and political blogs when two of our brave RNs were even arrested during a Senate Finance Committee hearing on healthcare reform for pointing out that the discussion was a sham because it excluded debate over the merits of a single-payer system. Apart from all the work we got done in D.C., can we just say what a mind-blowing feeling it was to be in the same room with so many other vocal, powerful, and passionate RN leaders who are all working for the same goals? For the first time, we were truly united as a national movement of registered nurses and it felt like nothing—not even the REGISTERED NURSE,™ (ISSN 1932-8966) The Journal of Patient Advocacy, May 2009 Volume 105/4 is published by the California Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee, 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 combined issues in January and February, and July and August. Periodicals postage paid at Oakland, California. POSTMASTER: send address changes to Registered Nurse, 2000 ™ Franklin Street, Oakland, CA 94612-2908. To send a media release or announcement, fax (510) 6630629. Registered Nurse™ is carried on the CNA/NNOC website at healthcare corporations and the politicians who love them—could stop us. We'll need to hold onto this energy as we return to our home states and go back to our workplaces because, as this month's feature story details, hospitals are eagerly using the recession as an excuse to slash patient services and staffing to save money and boost profits. Whole departments are disappearing, as the UCLA Medical Center home health RNs can attest. Kaiser Permanente RNs in Northern California are fighting to save their urgent care and other outpatient clinics from extinction, as Kaiser has decided to cut access to those in favor of sending more patients to telephone appointments and, ultimately, the emergency room. Yes, it's clear there's still so much work for the national nurses movement to do. Enough talking. We better get to it. Deborah Burger, RN | Geri Jenkins, RN Malinda Markowitz, RN | Zenei Triunfo-Cortez, RN CNA/NNOC Council of Presidents For permission to reprint articles, write to Editorial Office. To subscribe, send $40 ($45 foreign) to Subscription Department. California Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee also produces California Nurse, which it will ™ continue to publish periodically. 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. Our contact information is in the masthead. executive editor Rose Ann DeMoro editor Lucia Hwang graphic design Jonathan Wieder communications director Charles Idelson contributors Hedy Dumpel, RN, JD Donna Smith photography Jaclyn Higgs Lauren Reid

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