National Nurses United

National Nurse magazine January-February 2015

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NATIONAL NURSE,™ (ISSN 2153-0386 print /ISSN 2153-0394 online) The Voice of National Nurses United, January | February 2015 Volume 111/1 is published by National Nurses United, 2000 Franklin Street, Oakland, CA 94612-2908. It provides news of organi- zational activities and reports on devel- opments of concern to all registered nurses across the nation. It also carries general coverage and commen tary on matters of nursing practice, community and public health, and healthcare policy. It is published monthly except for combined issues in January and Febru- ary, 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 announce- ment, 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. Please contact us with your story ideas They can be about practice or manage- ment 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, Choppy Oshiro we all have experienced it: violence on our nursing jobs. Whether it was a delusional patient who lashed out and spat at or kicked us, an angry family member who cursed at and threatened us, or even a coworker with issues, we nurs- es suffer disproportionate rates of physical, verbal, and mental abuse in our positions. Did you know that, for healthcare work- ers, the rates of violence we experience are almost five times as great as other professions combined? And have you noticed how much more frequently the horror stories are surfacing? It seems like every week there are new reports of attacks on nurses, doctors, and other staff at hospitals around the country. One of the most horrific ones against nurses just happened in November at St. John's Hospital in Minnesota, when a med-surg patient pried a bar from his hospital bed and used it to chase and hit nurses. What's really sick is that, for many years, the vast majority of us have normalized and absorbed this violence as just "part of the job." Today, nurses are standing up and saying, "No, vio- lence at work is never ok" and that it is the hospital or clinic's responsibility to ensure a safe work environment, as they are required to do by law. In this issue's feature story, we explore what appear to be the main factors contributing to the rise in violence against healthcare workers—severe staffing cuts, lack of mental healthcare services, and practices and policies that have greatly relaxed who can be present on the unit—and what nurses in various states are proposing as solutions. We hope you will read and share this important story with your colleagues and family and—most critically—get involved! Help nurses in your state lobby for stricter rules about how hospitals must prevent and plan for violent incidents. Also in this issue, we have news about the fabulous new contract that 18,000 Kaiser Permanente RNs and NPs just won. Even if you don't work for Kaiser, this contract affects YOU because the standards these RNs set become a model and benchmark for contracts across the entire country. So please give thanks to and congratulate the Kaiser nurses. There's lots more in this issue, from a review of an important new book by Steven Brill on the politics and money behind our dysfunctional healthcare industry, to news about staffing fights in Massachusetts, to a picket by Veterans Administration nurses in Cincinnati. It's also a new year. May we propose a new year's resolu- tion for us all? If you've already been active with the union, try to step up your participation. If you haven't been active, try to attend one event a month, or quarter, whether it's a regular union meeting or a rally or class. Do it for yourself, your family, and your community. Deborah Burger, RN | Karen Higgins, RN | Jean Ross, RN National Nurses United Council of Presidents Letter from the Council of Presidents Stay connected FACEBOOK: TWITTER: @RNmagazine, @NationalNurses FLICKR: YOUTUBE: DIGITAL MAGAZINE:

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