We all know staffing has been a big problem throughout the bargaining unit. Here are five things we want you to know that involve you and your fellow nurses at EvergreenHealth:
ADO Forms — document problems you face at work. This is important to fix these problems and to protect yourself in the workplace.
Mandatory Overtime – WSNA is aware it is happening in some departments, and we want to make sure the nurses and patients remain safe in times of critical staffing needs.
Incentive Pay – WSNA is demanding to bargain incentive pay that is fair and equitable for all nurses in our bargaining unit.
The Nurse Staffing Committee is hard at work to create staffing plans to be proposed this summer for 2022. In these plans nurses are asking for improvements that account for things like acuity, census, available resources, and staff and mechanisms for nurses to get their breaks.
Lastly, but definitely not least, it is time we get rolling for contract negotiations! Expect a survey to come to you shortly and please take the time to fill it out. Not a member yet? No problem! Join today and get involved. We must bargain from a position of unity and strength.
We need all nurses in our bargaining unit to document what is happening by filling out an ADO form.
ADO — Assignment Despite Objection or Unsafe Staffing Forms
We know after a long shift, without enough staff, the last thing you want to do is stick around and fill out a form. Thankfully, you can fill out an ADO form later, from the comfort of home or anywhere else. It is ideal to fill the form out as soon as possible but there is no formal deadline.
By submitting the ADO you are taking part in a process improvement committee, laying out an issue you faced so a resolution can be worked on in collaboration between nurses and management. A couple important examples of when it is important for you to be filling ADOs out:
If you work through breaks and do not document that they were missed, you really are being part of the problem. Some WSNA bargaining units have successfully negotiated adding the use of break nurses to ensure nurses are receiving rest breaks and meal periods. If we can show that you are missing your breaks, and why you are missing them, it will be much easier to work with the employer to find solutions such as break nurses.
If you are given an unsafe assignment or put into an unsafe situation, you have liability as a nurse, and could be putting your job and your license on the line. It is essential to document the situation that put you into that position, and help be part of the solution to prevent it from happening again.
Differences between WSNA’s ADO form and EvergreenHealth’s SafeLinQ Form
ADO: The content on these forms was generated by WSNA based on language agreed upon by the major healthcare unions and the Hospital Association.
The content on these forms was generated by WSNA based on language agreed upon by the major healthcare unions and the Hospital Association.
When you fill out an ADO it goes to the union, to WSNA nurses on the staffing committee, a copy for yourself, the form goes to hospital leadership.
If you fill out an ADO, you are invited to attend the staffing committee meeting to be part of the discussion if you choose to, and your time is paid if you do.
When you fill out the ADO form, you have protections by the contract and the law against retaliation for submitting the ADO form which you do not have when filling out a SafeLinQ.
This is an internal form for use by the employer only, WSNA is not affiliated with this form.
The employer does not share copies of these forms with WSNA or notify WSNA of issues submitted on these forms.
If there is an issue submitted through SafeLinQ, the employer does sometimes issue discipline to staff depending on what happened. WSNA does not agree with this policy of issuing discipline based on this form of process improvement, but the employer chooses to despite WSNA objections. Contact Nurse Rep Bret Percival at firstname.lastname@example.org if you have received discipline as the result of submitting a SafelinQ.
Which form do I fill out? This is ultimately up to you as a nurse. If it is appropriate, fill out a SafeLinQ based on the guidance from your employer but also consider if it is appropriate to fill out an ADO at the same time. Let the Nurse Practice Act of Washington guide your decision. It is the legal and ethical standard to which we nurses are held. By submitting ADOs when indicated, nurses uphold the standard of safe practice which protects their patients and license.
Now let’s look at why an ADO is not just indicated but the right thing to do for you and patients:
An example is, if you are having a terrible shift and do not have the support you need, you and your coworkers are more likely to be involved in medical error. We are all human and mistakes will eventually happen. If a SafeLinQ is submitted by yourself or another employee over an error or anything else, the extenuating circumstances and systemic factors that played a role that report may or may not be accurately described and may not even be considered. The employer has acknowledged Just Culture in communications to all employees.
If you fill out an ADO, with the circumstances and systemic factors listed around a problematic shift or event, those facts are now documented, open and readily available for the union to work to both help fix the problem and to help protect you as a nurse. This brings transparency that is not available with the SafeLinQ form alone.
Digital ADOs are super quick! About 2 minutes on average to complete and submit right from your smart phone. If it takes a lot longer, you are writing too much. Be brief but describe the safety factor in the free text option box. Save access to digital ADOs as an icon or bookmark for easy access every shift, as needed. When in doubt, fill one out! Here is the link. Share with your peers, show them how and why you can demonstrate unity and strength with ADOs: https://www.wsna.org/union/ado.
Mandatory overtime appears to be becoming a problem and should always be the last option. We recognize that unforeseen emergencies may happen, and mandatory overtime may be a rare inconvenience we face as nurses. However, if it is happening over and over, that is a chronic problem and must be addressed. If you are kept over after your shift, fill out an ADO to document that it happened.
There are laws that restrict the use of mandatory overtime and there maybe violations to the contract. By reporting the mandatory overtime in an ADO, the situation can be investigated, and we will look for resolutions.
Also important to consider, is that as a nurse you are responsible for providing safe patient care. You have the right and responsibility to speak up if you are put in a position where you feel you are no longer safe to provide care or stay working. Per the EvergreenHealth and WSNA contract:
Subject to the Nurse Practice Act, no nurse will be expected to work beyond the end of the nurse’s scheduled shift to the extent that the nurse is not able to function with reasonable skill and safety with respect to care of the Medical Center’s patients. If the nurse can no longer function with reasonable skill and safety, the nurse should immediately discuss the matter with her/his immediate supervisor. The supervisor shall take all practical measures to transition the nurse’s duties as soon as possible.
Incentive pay is being offered by the employer but has not been bargained with WSNA and we would like to see some changes in how the hospital offers it. While WSNA agrees with the employer that the use of incentive pay is an appropriate tool to help fill critical needs in staffing, we do not agree to the employer unilaterally implementing incentives with out clear guidance or equal treatment of all nurses in the WSNA bargaining unit. WSNA has demanded to bargain with the employer over incentive pay. WSNA has no intention of obstructing the employer for paying nurses well deserved premium pay to fill critical needs in staffing. WSNA seeks a single incentive pay policy that can be used across the bargaining unit in a fair and equitable manner. WSNA believes this is a subject that is mutually beneficial to both the nurses and the hospital. If you are not being offered incentive pay but are receiving endless notifications to pick up shifts, maybe it is time to ask why?
The Nurse Staffing Committee and 2022 Staffing Plans#
The WSNA nurses are working hard to improve staffing. Currently the Nurse Staffing Committee (NSC) is developing staffing plans for 2022. These plans are mandated by law and our contract to be a joint effort with WSNA nurses and management to come up with plans that account for factors such as: census, acuity, experience of staff, support staff, need for equipment, layout of floor, staffing guidelines by national nursing professional associations, and strategies to enable nurses to take meal and rest breaks, as required by law. This covers most nurses in acute care, though the different areas of the bargaining unit like home care or clinics have some different processes due to limitations in the Nurse Staffing Committee law.
Regardless of where you work in the bargaining unit, if you submit an ADO, it will be investigated and WSNA will look for resolutions. Per the EvergreenHealth and WSNA contract:
The NSC will consider all received complaints brought by Registered Nurses. The NSC will designate each complaint as either resolved, dismissed or unresolved. The NSC will produce a statement of explanation for each designation.
We know everyone wants a raise! What else is bothering you? What are the things you really want to see fixed? There are roughly 1100 RNs in our bargaining unit. If we have 10 nurses fighting for a better contract it will not be nearly as good as it would if we had 1100 nurses working together. 1100 voices in a unified workforce of nurses is very powerful. Don’t you agree?
You all have stepped up in an incredibly difficult time and have been called heroes by both your employer and the public that depends on you. It’s nice to hear words like hero being used to describe nurses, but when nurses are not treated like heroes at work, there is a feeling of betrayal. We have seen that feeling of betrayal cause your fellow nurses to leave for other hospitals, to retire, or to leave the profession all together. We hope that in such trying times in healthcare that the employer will show the nurses that they are respected, and that they are valued.
Next steps you can make to help improve your wages and working conditions:
If you have changed your phone number or personal email or mailing address, let us know ASAP so you can get the updates and survey!
If you are a member or non-member, please fill out the survey as soon as possible once receiving it. This really is important in knowing what needs to be fixed and prioritizing issues.
Get involved! There are many ways to be involved with varying levels of commitment. If you have a lot of time, or just little, we work with you to find something that you are comfortable with!
To be a member of a committee or to even vote on the contract, you must be a WSNA member.
If you are not a member, join now and become a member. This is the heart of collectively working together to improve the workplace. The combination of engaged members and dues makes everything happen. Employers spend a great deal of money and resources to ensure the best deal for the employer. To stand up and fight for a good contract (and day to day conditions) takes a lot of work and resources. That is only possible by pooling these together for our shared benefit. Standing in solidarity through membership is the foundation of a fair contract. It is even more important to demonstrate this today than when we last negotiated three years ago. If you are a non-member, look at our contract and know that it was earned over decades of hard work and dues of Evergreen WSNA members before you. Is it fair to do nothing and expect great things from the work and dues of other nurses? We invest in what we value. What do you value in your working conditions? What about our WSNA contract provides that in a secure and enforceable way?
If you find yourself in a situation that you believe creates unsafe conditions for patients or for you, you should complete a Staffing Complaint / ADO Form as soon as possible.
By completing the form, you will help make the problem known to management, creating an opportunity for the problem to be addressed. Additionally, you will be documenting the facts, which may be helpful to you later if there is a negative outcome.
WSNA also uses your ADO forms to track the problems occurring in your facility. When you and your coworkers take the important step of filling out an ADO form, you are helping to identify whether there is a pattern of unsafe conditions for you or your patients at your facilities. This information is used by your conference committee, staffing committee, and WSNA labor staff to improve your working conditions.
If called into a meeting with management, read the following to management when the meeting begins:
If this discussion could in any way lead to my being disciplined or terminated, I respectfully request that my union representative be present at this meeting. Without representation present, I choose not to participate in this discussion.