National Nurses United

Registered Nurse July-August 2008

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Profile:2 8/21/08 11:26 PM Page 23 gates convention as an alternate delegate, following up as a delegate campaign for healthcare justice through to the next level: "I would like to increase the public's awareness of single-payer and [the in 2003. 2005 was the year in which Dugan hit her stride as an RN leader. national Medicare-for-all bill] HR 676." Aside from that, Dugan's focus is on persevering through the next She decided to join the UC bargaining team, and became active in the campaigns against Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger. "That was great in round of bargaining with UC. She's also keeping an eye on the nurses' so many ways," she reminisces. "You would talk to anybody—nurses, old foe, Gov. Schwarzenegger. "I think he's up to the same old tricks," friends and acquaintances of nurses—and they thought it was won- she says. "We gave him pause, but any issues that are near and dear to us, we need to stay on them because derful. We had teachers come up to he's going to pull these things out us at the Los Angeles rally and from under us and hope that we're thank us for what we were doing." Dugan is confident about the power not watching." Impressed by Dugan's involvement wielded by her fellow UC RNs. "I feel like Dugan often looks at life through and passion, a labor rep encouraged we've had continued success or improvethe lens of her favorite musician, her to run for the board of directors ments over the last five or six years, Bruce Springsteen, and offers up a and bolster the presence there of steadily advancing over each contract." quote from him: "Life is a struggle. University of California RNs. That's what the songs are about. It's Dugan is confident about the power wielded by her fellow UC RNs. "I feel like we've had continued a fight everyone goes through everyday. Some people have more sucsuccess or improvements over the last five or six years, steadily cess with it than others. I'm a romantic. To me, the idea of a romantic advancing over each contract." In addition to settling a new contract is someone who sees the reality, lives the reality every day, but knows with unprecedented victories, Dugan and her fellow UC RNs were about the possibilities too. You can't lose sight of the dreams." Applying "The Boss'" perspective to her own life, Dugan says, recently vindicated when a California court upheld their right to strike. "It's an important right we have," says Dugan. "I tell nurses "That's what CNA/NNOC is to me; it makes the dream of singlethat it's our unity that has gotten contract success without having to payer healthcare possible. You need to stand up and fight for what strike. We've held them to the end of the line and reiterated that it's you believe in. Just because people are telling you 'no' doesn't mean you shouldn't stand up and fight. A lot of people are apathetic and good for both of us to settle the contract." After her first-hand introduction to the harsh reality of America's fearful, and we don't operate that way. We can turn the tide." I healthcare system as a patient, Dugan continues to confront injustices in her professional role as a caregiver. At UCSF, "we have a fair Erika Larson is former associate editor of Registered Nurse. share of homeless patients, a fair share of people who are picked up by county coverage." Many uninsured or underinsured patients "wait until their condition gets worse because they don't go to a clinic; they can't afford it, or don't otherwise have the ability to go." There's a "lack of continual care and follow-up care," she continues, regretting the absence of comprehensive care. "There's the whole issue of treating patients for one set of conditions while they have other issues that need treatment, but the medical team is focused on that one condiName: Maureen Dugan, RN tion and discharges them based on that. There's not a lot of compreFacility: University of California hensive care focused on that person managing their health." San Francisco Medical Center Dugan's role as a caregiver and patient advocate is all the more Unit: Med-surg complicated due to the increasing class and socioeconomic segregaNursing for: 19 years tion of San Francisco. The housing and dot-com booms of the early On CNA/NNOC board since: 2005 2000s pushed out all but the wealthiest residents and the lowSign: Gemini income service workers who staff the restaurants and Starbucks Nursing Pet Peeve: Nurses who complain but won't get cafes they frequent. Only recently, a blue ribbon committee was able involved in solving a problem to prevent the closure of St. Luke's Hospital, a Sutter-owned facility Favorite Work Snack: Coffee and chocolate in San Francisco's underserved Mission district. "If St. Luke's had Latest Work Accomplishment: Surviving continual UC closed, San Francisco General wouldn't have been able to address the bargaining flood of uninsured patients," says Dugan. "We would have seen overColor of favorite scrubs: Green flow at UCSF." Hobbies: Enjoying live music Concern for her patients, as well as her fellow nurses, has made Favorite Musician: Bruce Springsteen Dugan a strong advocate in CNA/NNOC's campaign for national sinCurrently Reading: Stuffed and Starved: The Hidden gle-payer healthcare. "It's one of those things we're going to keep Battle for the World's Food System, by Raj Patel working at until we succeed," she says. "I recall at one Obama rally Favorite Book: Well-Behaved Women Seldom Make they said they need a 'mandate' from the people. Well, the public History, by Laurel Thatcher Ulrich opinion is in support of it, and we'll just have to keep hammering at it until it happens." Dugan has made it her mission to personally see the Profile J U LY | A U G U S T 2 0 0 8 W W W. C A L N U R S E S . O R G REGISTERED NURSE 23

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