National Nurses United

California Nurse magazine May 2005

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You know in the movies, when the hero has seriously injured the bad guy, but doesn't totally finish the job and the villain comes back to take another whack at the hero? That's how I'm feeling these days about dealing with Governor Arnold. After a seminal April 5 protest of one of his fundraisers at the Ritz- Carlton, during which we were able to block traffic to the event and force donors to trudge up to the hotel on foot, he withdrew his plan to privatize pensions. A few weeks later, he's reported as trying to make nice with nurses by putting more money into nurse schooling. Hooray, another one for us, you think. But he hasn't changed one bit. He's just regrouping. If you listen carefully, he still says in public that he's appeal- ing to roll back ratios, and that he's still against unions like CNA. The pension privatization plan will resurface another day, and he still has several proposals on the table that would hurt teachers, the poor, the elderly, and all working Californians. We've definitely begun to turn the political tide, but it would be folly to depend on politics to meet our goals. That's why the negotiations this summer between 20,000 nurses and five major hospital chains— Catholic Healthcare West, Sutter Health, University of California, Daughters of Charity, and Hospital Corporation of America—are so criti- cal. In this round of talks, which is the largest group of RNs CNA has ever had bargaining at the same time, we are fighting to put safe staffing ratio language directly into our contracts. Then ratios won't be subject to the whims of governors, courts, or even the Legislature. We are also trying to win language that protects RNs from new technology that restricts their professional judgment or replaces them entirely. Check out the cover story for more details. It will be a tough battle, and expect a showdown this summer. Another feature we have this issue hits close to home for me. The story explores how medical assistants in the Kaiser Permanente medi- cal offices are performing clinical tasks beyond their training. As a long- time Kaiser RN, I have witnessed the very kinds of situations and errors described in the story. Kaiser's administration needs to take a hard look at the risks of staffing its outpatient offices with more medical assistants than RNs, and correct the problem immediately. Remember, the bad guy is just temporarily hurt, but not defeated. We need to stay out there. Our next big protest is a dual event on May 25, with rallies in Sacramento and Los Angeles. I expect to see you there. Deborah Burger, RN CNA President Editor Lucia Hwang Executive Editor Rose Ann DeMoro Graphic Design and Production Jonathan Wieder Communications Director Charles Idelson Contributors Hedy Dumpel, RN, JD Liz Jacobs, RN California Nurse May 2005 Volume 101/04 (ISSN 0008-1310) is published by the California Nurses Association, 2000 Franklin Street, Oakland, CA. 94612-2908. It provides news of the Association's activities and reports on developments of concern to all Registered Nurses in the state. It also carries general coverage and commentary on matters of nursing practice, community health, and healthcare policy. It is published ten times a year with combined issues in the summer and winter. Periodicals postage paid at Oakland, California. Postmaster send address changes to California Nurse, 2000 Franklin Street, Oakland, CA. 94612-2908. To send a media release or announcement: Phone: 510-273- 2200 Ext. 249 Fax: 510-663-0629 California Nurse is carried on the CNA Website: For permission to reprint articles write to Editorial Office. To subscribe: Send $40 ($45 foreign) to Subscription Department. COVER PHOTO: JACLYN HIGGS Letter from the President President's | Note ■ ■ ■

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