September 2022 Newsletter

In this issue

  • WSNA Officer Mid-Term Nominations
  • New Hire Orientation
  • Nurse Conference Committee
  • Nurse Staffing Committee
  • Contract Corner: Low Census

WSNA Officer Mid-Term Nominations: Check your email inbox or your mail box

We want to thank outgoing officers Stefanie Meyer and Natalie Caniff, who worked hard on your behalf for years. Because their departures created vacancies, we will appoint other nurses to serve as Vice-Chair, Secretary, or Treasurer. Nomination forms were sent electronically to your personal emails. If we didn’t have your email, we mailed you a copy. Please take a moment to nominate yourself or one of your colleagues. The deadline is September 24, so hurry!

New Hire Orientation: Take part and welcome incoming nurses

We need a couple of nurses to welcome new nurses at the New Employee Orientation which is held every other Monday at noon in the Cypress Room. We will provide training and materials. It’s fun, it’s easy, and it’s great to have nurses welcome others to the hospital. Contact WSNA Organizer Zach Seikel at zseikel@wsna.org if you’re interested.

Nurse Conference Committee

The Conference Committee is a joint labor-management committee provided for in the contract. The committee meets at least quarterly. If issues arise, we can request to meet more frequently.

Our last meeting was held in June. We addressed the following issues:

  • Everbridge All Call System to fill shifts, opening up capability to call other departments
  • Nurses are being pulled into their manager’s office regarding legitimate sick calls that are protected by laws in Washington
  • Ongoing staff shortages and vacancies
  • Healthcare benefits and the importance of providing dependent care
  • Kronos reconciliations still not concluded for some nurses
  • Evening shift differential still not paid for surgical services nurses back to March 2021
  • Wage comparisons with area hospitals where nurses are paid significantly more
  • Whether hospital is eligible for student loan repayment program through the IRS
  • Employee satisfaction survey results are not being disseminated; the last one was in 2019 and no one learned the outcome

Nurse Staffing Committee

Mary Wexman is your WSNA Co-Chair. We are currently working on updating the charter. The charter outlines how many representatives are needed from each department. Current unit representatives are Kathy Wallingford-Lee from Birth Center and Kate Woyski from ED. The departments needing representation are:

  • ICU
  • ACU
  • Oncology
  • OR/PACU/Outpatient

We need a strong presence and want to fill the ranks with our staff nurses. Talk with your colleagues and volunteer yourself or someone you work with to be a staffing committee rep. You must be a dues-paying WSNA member to participate. Email WSNA Nurse Rep at hwelander@wsna.org with your interest.

Contract Corner: Low Census

Your contract addresses how and when nurses can be low-censused. We have heard that travelers and agency nurses have remained, and core staff have been sent home. This practice violates your contract! If a traveler or agency nurse remains, so does the core staff nurse. We have also heard from OR staff that some nurses are disproportionately given mandatory low census even if they have skills and abilities to work in other areas in periop. When these situations happen, let your WSNA officers or Nurse Rep know. We will file a grievance to correct this ongoing contract violation. If we do nothing, nothing changes. Your contract grievance procedure protects you from financial or other harm. Remember that you are the “eyes and ears” for your unit, because your WSNA officers may not be aware. If something doesn’t feel or sound right, let us know! We will fight for you.

Contract article 11.2 Low Census lists the order:

  1. All statutory overtime,
  2. Voluntary or requests in order of request,
  3. Agency Personnel;
  4. Staff working an extra shift, which was requested after the schedule was posted,
  5. Temporary Nurses,
  6. Per Diem Nurses,
  7. Staff working an extra shift, which was requested before the schedule was posted, and
  8. Equitable rotation of full-time and part-time staff based on the number of hours each nurse has in mandatory low census.

Mandatory low census is covered in article 11.2.1:

11.2.1 Mandatory Low Census. Mandatory low census will be limited to no more than forty-eight (48) hours per nurse per six (6) month period (January 1 through June 30, and July 1 through December 31). Generally, low census is housewide, meaning there is only one (1) forty-eight (48) hour cap. However, there shall be no such limit for nurses in a unit that has been mutually agreed by the Association and the Hospital to be identified as a "closed" unit. Low census hours (mandatory and voluntary) will be tracked by the Director of each Department. (Low census standby and low census hours requested by the Hospital will be counted as mandatory low census. Low census or standby requested by the nurse will be counted as voluntary low census.) The nurse may request his/her manager or nursing office staff to determine accumulated hours and the nurse's place in rotation in relation to other core staff on the nurse's unit.

In solidarity from your WSNA Officers,

Adrian Fewing, Chair, and Mary Wexman, Grievance Officer and NSC Co-Chair

Questions? Contact one of your officers or WSNA Nurse Representative Hanna Welander, hwelander@wsna.org.