National Nurses United

Registered Nurse July-August 2008

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Profile:2 8/21/08 11:26 PM Page 22 Social Responsibility CNA/NNOC board member mau re e n dugan, rn was raised with the ethics of serving her local San Francisco community. by e ri ka larson M aureen dugan, rn remembers acutely the day the national fight for guaranteed healthcare became personal. After her father passed away when she was a teen, her mother was unable to keep up with the premiums for family health insurance, and they were forced to forgo coverage. Dugan visited a doctor shortly after for a scratched cornea and the delicate issue of payment came up. "I remember they put this conspicuous 'No insurance' sticker on my file," she says. "I was branded." Twenty years later, the surprise and shame of being labeled solidified the community service and social justice ethics that defined Dugan's working-class, Irish-Catholic upbringing, eventually forging a dedicated caregiver and uncompromising healthcare justice activist. "Being raised in that environment, that's why I wanted to do something that wasn't about me, but was something that had meaning to society." Dugan grew up in San Francisco's East Bay until the divorce of her parents, a San Francisco firefighter and an elementary school teacher, 22 REGISTERED NURSE prompted her to move north to Sacramento with her mother. For Dugan, however, San Francisco was always home, and she returned as soon as it was time for her to begin college at the University of San Francisco. For Dugan, given her family's values and ethics, entering nursing school was an instinctive decision. "I wanted to do something that I felt mattered," she said. "I like that with nursing, you're using your brain as well as your hands and your heart." Her senior year, she began working as a nursing assistant at UCSF medical center, where she still works today. After graduation, her work life radically changed: "I was totally overwhelmed by the responsibility in the transition from student to full-time nurse." Also marking a significant new chapter in Dugan's life was her membership in the California Nurses Association. As the daughter of public servants, "I grew up in a union-supportive family," Dugan explains, referring to the natural way she became involved in her bargaining unit. Today, Dugan is one of many family members who remain active in local unions. "I first got involved with CNA by going to the Professional Practice Committee as a nurse representative. I helped with things like voting on the contract, helping to count the votes." In 2001, Dugan attended her first House of Dele- W W W. C A L N U R S E S . O R G J U LY | A U G U S T 2 0 0 8

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