National Nurses United

National Nurse magazine October 2013

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Letter from the Council of Presidents no matter what state you live in, where you work, or what type of nursing you practice, RNs all have one thing in common: We understand the need for safe RN-to-patient staffing ratios because our patients' safety is paramount, period. We know that it is not safe nor humane to have to take care of too many patients, for them and for us! Too many things get missed, too much is left up to chance, meds are passed late, pain is not managed, and the stress of it all is causing nurses to burn out fast. This is not the kind of safe, therapeutic nursing care that we signed up to provide when we all worked so hard to become registered nurses! Fortunately, California led the way in passing safe staffing ratios legislation in 1999, numbers which took effect in 2004. It's hard to believe that it's been 10 years since California nurses started working under the protection of ratios. In this issue, we review how nursing practice has changed in this state over the past decade, how National Nurses United is preparing to launch a new social media strategy and revamped ratios resource section of its website to help win it for the other 49 states, and what still must be improved—given the ever-skyrocketing acuity of our patients. The nurses' stories are sobering and inspiring, particularly for those California nurses who have always enjoyed working under ratios. Their experiences are a good reminder of how far we've come and how far we still have to NATIONAL NURSE,™ (ISSN 2153-0386 print/ISSN 2153-0394 online) The Voice of National Nurses United, October 2013 Volume 109/8 is published by National Nurses United, 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 go. Massachusetts nurses are working hard to put the ratios issue before the state's voters, and District of Columbia nurses succeeded in October in finally winning a hearing about their safe staffing ratios bill. Also in this issue is much news of all the good, nitty-gritty work of this organization and its affiliates. Nurses in Massachusetts may have to resort to a strike to get a fair contract, nurses in Minnesota are also turning up the heat on some of their contract, and nurses in Michigan are celebrating some recent, hard-fought contract victories. In California, the 17,000 nurses of Kaiser Permanente, held up as a "model" system under the Affordable Care Act, have for months been engaged in an all-out war with their employer over what they see as a steady diet of cuts intended to deprive patients of needed hospital care by skilled registered nurses. Look for news about their activities in this issue; many hospital chains aspire to Kaiser's model, so your community may be next. Deborah Burger, RN | Karen Higgins, RN | Jean Ross, RN National Nurses United Council of Presidents combined issues 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. Stay connected @RNmagazine, @NationalNurses FLICKR: YOUTUBE: DIGITAL MAGAZINE: FACEBOOK: TWITTER: 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 RoseAnn DeMoro EDITOR Lucia Hwang 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, Tad Keyes, Erin FitzGerald

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