National Nurses United

Registered Nurse June 2008

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LETTER FROM THE COUNCIL OF PRESIDENTS at cna/nnoc, we have always prided ourselves on being the nation's premier nurses' union run by and for working staff nurses. The motivating factor behind our 1992 revolution and restructuring was the belief that staff nurse members should have a greater stake in leading and controlling a union that was dominated by corporate-friendly management nurses. For far too long, women and nurses (who are still predominantly female) have been told to keep their heads down and have faith that the "higher-ups" know what's best for them. We're proud not only of bucking that advice, but of proving it wrong. Since they took power in 1992, the staff nurses of CNA/NNOC have become some of the most admired and powerful workers and political figures in the entire country. We're proud of our organization or of its achievements. Speaking of achievements, the nurse leadership at CNA/NNOC continues to charge ahead in leading the call for change and action. We're proud to report back to you on the enormously successful June 19 action for guaranteed, single-payer healthcare, which took place in San Francisco and a number of other cities across America. Thousands of concerned citizens showed up to protest the greed and heartlessness of the private health insurance industry and to tell their own stories of struggle and "death by denial." It was a sobering reminder of why we're leading this charge, and why the only real healthcare reform is the kind that covers every single person, and not one less, with the same high quality of care. REGISTERED NURSE,™ (ISSN 1932-8966) The Journal of Patient Advocacy, June 2008 Volume 104/5 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 Also in this issue, we're happy to bring you positive updates on the Sutter Health RNs' fight for justice. Sutter RNs on both sides of the San Francisco Bay have enjoyed enormous community support over the past several months, a foundation which has bolstered and energized them in the continuing crusade for patient safety and workers' rights. We're also pleased to report back from not one, but two states where NNOC RNs are making great strides in bringing safe staffing ratios to hospitals throughout their communities: Texas and Ohio. We'll also report on legislation affecting nurses in California, in which CNA/NNOC has been involved and active. Plus a fascinating and disturbing first-hand report from an RN whose large public hospital in Atlanta was just privatized. No doubt about it, things are heating up in the national nurses' movement this summer. We say thank you to our nurse activists for keeping the heat turned up high! 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 associate editor Erika Larson graphic design Jonathan Wieder communications director Charles Idelson contributors Hedy Dumpel, RN, JD Donna Smith photography Jaclyn Higgs, Lauren Reid

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