Staffing plans are coming due! #

The Nurse Staffing Committee (NSC) is one of the most impor­tant commit­tees in the hospital in which nurses can voice concerns and help to improve their day to day working condi­tions. NSC is to have repre­sen­ta­tives that help repre­sent your clinical area and help with the processes of setting up Staffing Plans and evalu­ating and resolving ADO (Assign­ment Despite Objec­tion) forms. The plans for 2021 are now being discussed and will be in rough drafts by September 21 and will be presented to the CEO on September 30.

It is crucial that you all consider the strengths and weaknesses of the current staffing you have had and speak with your NSC repre­sen­ta­tive with any concerns you would like addressed in the upcoming plans. The NSC is 50 percent WSNA nurses, and 50 percent manage­ment or other hospital staff. The plan must work with budgetary consid­er­a­tions, but also must consider factors such as:

  • Census, including total numbers of patients on the unit on each shift and activity such as patient discharges, admis­sions, and transfers.
  • Level of inten­sity of all patients and nature of the care to be deliv­ered on each shift.
  • Skill mix.
  • Level of experi­ence and specialty certi­fi­ca­tion or training of nursing personnel providing care.
  • The need for special­ized or inten­sive equipment.
  • The archi­tec­ture and geography of the patient care unit, including but not limited to place­ment of patient rooms, treat­ment areas, nursing stations, medica­tion prepa­ra­tion areas, and equipment.
  • Staffing guide­lines adopted or published by national nursing profes­sional associ­a­tions, specialty nursing organi­za­tions, and other health profes­sional organizations.
  • Avail­ability of other personnel supporting nursing services on the unit; and
  • Strate­gies to enable regis­tered nurses to take meal and rest breaks as required by law or the terms of an applic­able collec­tive bargaining agree­ment, if any, between the hospital and a repre­sen­ta­tive of the nursing staff.

These plans were put together and filed with the state, a form that attests that the factors listed above is signed and submitted with the plans. Last year’s plans that were submitted with the state can be found here: Evergreen­Health Staffing Plans. Look at your units staffing plans filed last year and see what you think. With the hospital looking at cutting back staffing, this is a very good time to become involved and aware the Nurse Staffing Committee and how it can help give nurses a voice.

Please take a few minutes to give us some feedback on staffing issues you face.

Fill out ADOs — Online Staffing Complaint form – Use it! #

You know the saying in nursing: if you didn’t document it, it didn’t happen”? We need you to please document what happens on your shift with staffing, breaks, and other concerns that can contribute to unsafe assign­ments, burnout, and unnec­es­sary fatigue.

Simply put, if the data does not exist it is very hard for your fellow nurses and WSNA to advocate for improve­ment. This advocacy means pushing for the appro­priate staff, strate­gies for you to get your breaks, and to look at those factors that can make your job on the floor very diffi­cult.

By completing the form, you are helping to make the problem known to manage­ment, which creates an oppor­tu­nity for the problem to be addressed. Addition­ally, you are documenting the facts, which may be helpful to you later if there is a negative outcome.

We recog­nize some of you may fear retal­i­a­tion. Washington State Law RCW 70.41.420 prohibits retal­i­a­tion by the hospital towards an employee who fills out an ADO submitted to the nurse staffing committee. Our collec­tive bargaining agree­ment also offers protec­tion.

If you fill one out and feel as if you are being retal­i­ated against, please reach out to your WSNA Nurse Repre­sen­ta­tive Bret Percival RN at:

Types of situa­tions where you should complete a Staffing Complaint / ADO form:

  • Missed Rest breaks and/​or Meal periods
  • Charge nurse is unable to perform charge nurse duties, secondary to increased patient care assignment
  • Inade­quate nurse to patient ratios for patient acuity based on your clinical judgment – this includes if you are covering someone for break
  • Insuf­fi­cient support staff requires you to assume additional duties
  • You are not trained or experi­enced in the area assigned
  • You have not been oriented to this unit / case load
  • Patient care equip­ment missing or unusable
  • Neces­sary equip­ment is not available
  • You are not trained or experi­enced to use equip­ment in assigned area
  • An assign­ment poses a serious threat to your health and safety
  • An assign­ment poses a serious threat to the health and safety of a patient under your direct care
  • Forced / manda­tory overtime

If you have reason to complete this form, you first should speak with your manager or charge nurse for that shift about the concern order to try to and seek a resolu­tion as quickly as possible. When you complete the online form, you are encour­aged to include your manager’s name and email. These forms do not have deadlines. It would be ideal to fill it out and submit as soon as possible, so details are fresh, but you can fill this out and submit at any time.

After you complete the form a copy of the submitted form immedi­ately goes to you, the WSNA chair and co-chair, WSNA Rep, staffing committee co-chairs, and your manager, provided you have entered his or her email. The Nurse Staffing Committee will review the complaint at their next meeting if it is a staffing concern. Nurses who file ADOs are entitled and encour­aged to attend the following NSC meeting when their ADO will be discussed.

Find the staffing complaint form at wsna​.org/ado.

Word of Caution on Facebook and other social media: #

Your employer has a policy regarding employee’s use of social media, to include what you post away from work on your own time. There are laws that can protect you in some circum­stances such as when employees act in a concerted effort to discuss and improve working condi­tions. However, there are nuances, and miscon­cep­tions, which may lead people to believe they are protected from disci­pline when in fact they may not be. Free Speech” does not neces­sarily mean free of conse­quences. One step you can take today to help protect yourself is to remove your employer infor­ma­tion from your account profile. The employer has argued that if Evergreen­Health or its logo is contained within your profile, you could be inter­preted by the public as speaking on behalf of the hospital. Think about profes­sional conse­quences when you post on social media..

Get involved with WSNA at EvergreenHealth: #

We have vacan­cies in the union leader­ship at Evergreen­Health and are recruiting nurses willing to advocate for themselves and fellow nurses. We under­stand that between your busy shifts and life away from work that there may not be a lot of extra time. There are all kinds of ways you can become involved, and you can choose how much time you want to spend. Some positions avail­able now are unit reps on floors, all shifts, there can be more than one! This is the point person on your floor that gets infor­ma­tion to co-workers and helps relay concerns back to WSNA. We are also in need of member­ship officers, griev­ance officers and more. We can work with your inter­ests to help find ways you could contribute if you would like to. Please contact any of the Local Unit Officers, or your WSNA Organizer Tara Barnes, or WSNA Nurse Repre­sen­ta­tive Bret Percival

Membership Matters: #

Why be active in WSNA? WSNA at Evergreen is a commu­nity of members. The nurses negotiate our own contracts and we are empow­ered to be leaders, serve on commit­tees and partic­i­pate in labor-manage­ment problem solving. This is a process, not an event.

We would not have security in our working condi­tions in a contract if we did not have a union. Our union contract empowers us to act on impor­tant issues like safe staffing, ending manda­tory overtime, addressing safety issues and receiving appro­priate training. But we must stay strong and united as a commu­nity of WSNA at Evergreen.

How do we build and maintain our unified strength? Together! Our member­ship demon­strates we are invested in our continued strength and will not accept take-aways that Evergreen Nurses have worked so hard to achieve.

If you are not yet a member, join today at wsna​.org/​membership.

If you are a member, stay up to date with all WSNA commu­ni­ca­tions. Take time to learn, ask questions and teach peers how to access your contract online: https://​www​.wsna​.org/​u​n​i​o​n​/​e​v​e​r​g​r​e​e​n​-​healthcare

Please do not hesitate to reach out to one of your officers or Nurse Repre­sen­ta­tive Bret Percival directly for any questions or concerns. We are proud to work along­side you.

Your WSNA Local Unit Officers
Jomay Ruiz, RN — Acting Chair
Holly Baker, RN — Treasurer
Theresa Blazer, RN – Griev­ance Officer
Val Artamonova, RN – Member­ship Officer

Questions? Contact WSNA Nurse Repre­sen­ta­tive Bret Percival, RN at or by phone at 206 – 575-7979 ext. 3063