2020 was the Year of the Nurse and what a year it was! While we weren’t able to do many events with our local unit members, we all had a very busy year. We voted in new officers and then promptly went into lockdowns and quarantines. We have rearranged our departments to accommodate for COVID patients. We have all completed additional training in case of patient surges. We have seen patients doubled up in med/surg rooms for the first time in years and CCU has finally had a consistent census. The Emergency Department and Urgent care have been busier than ever. Elective surgeries came to a screeching halt and then restarted with a vengeance. We have added numerous new service lines to our hospital. The pop-up flu clinic was a saving grace for the ED and clinics, filtering numerous patients through daily. Home health and OB have had to worked through numerous obstacles to provide continued comfort and care to their patients during some of the most difficult times. We have pushed the limits with PPE preparedness and fashion. We have changed processes weekly, daily, and sometimes hour by hour. We have had several new tests, drugs, and vaccines to learn and administer. Despite all the unknowns and the changing processes, everyone came together to get the job done.
“Do what you can, with what you have, where you are.” ~Theodore Roosevelt
We’ve all had our ups and downs and supported each other through the hard days. Thank you for sharing your strength through all that has happened this past year.
WSNA Convention is coming up and will be online April 28 – 29. If you are interested in attending, please reach out to one of your local unit members. We would like to pay the registration for four lucky nurses!
“Let us never consider ourselves finished nurses…we must be learning all of our lives.” ~Florence Nightingale
Although it is difficult to go to continuing education conferences there are numerous opportunities online. Remember your contractual CE money ($500) available annually for education. Please work with your director to utilize this benefit! Learn more about the Washington State Nurses Convention atnurseconventionwa.org.
Since we were not able to have in person introductions for our new officers, we have included a quick intro. Please feel free to reach out and ask us questions, if we do not know the answer, we will get it for you! We try to have representation from each department, but we still miss out on day-to-day issues. We appreciate being kept up to date with every department, good or bad (we like to hear all the good stuff happening).
Jennifer Crane is our wonderful Chairperson. This is her third term serving for our local WSNA unit. She works in Family Birthing at KVH. Her email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Andria Graham is our Co-Chairperson. This is also her third term serving for our local WSNA unit. She works in the Outpatient Department at KVH. Her email is email@example.com
Kara Henderson is our Grievance Officer. This is her first term serving for our local WSNA unit. She works in the Emergency Department at KVH and was previously in the Outpatient Department for years. Her email is firstname.lastname@example.org.
Beth Olson is our Membership Officer. This is her first term serving for our local WSNA unit. She works in the Outpatient Department at KVH and occasionally floats to FBP where she previously spent many nights and years before that in Med/Surg. Her email is Elizabeth_olson001@yahoo.com.
Christina Wood is our Secretary. This is her first term serving for our local WSNA unit. She works in the Med/Surg Department at KVH and is in training to be a House Supervisor in addition. Her email is email@example.com.
Donna McCune is our Treasurer. This is her first term serving for our local WSNA unit. She works in Family Birthing (nights!) at KVH and was previously in Med/Surg for years. Her email is firstname.lastname@example.org .
Seasons change; temperatures rise or fall. Leaves are fresh and green, then they turn red and gold, and finally, a new season begins. Change is good, because without change, new life would not reappear every Spring. But times are changing, too, and change can be unsettling. So, we must adapt and overcome! Hospitals are being run the way big business is run. Yet we know our patients are not commodities, nor are we working on an assembly line. We cannot care for our patients effectively when we are being expected to work too many hours, take intermittent breaks, and function in areas we have not been adequately trained to function in.
Organizing our peers is a vital task. We, as individual nurses, must reach out to our co-workers, find out what they are concerned about, explain to them how WSNA is the answer to their concerns, then ask them to join, step up, and get involved. In this way, we become collectively strong, and the more members we have, the stronger we are! How would a hospital even operate without the many roles we fill? We are valuable and vital.
—never doubt your worth. Go forth and tell your peers—
Safe nurse staffing has been a WSNA focus and concern for many years. We have been working diligently to improve contract language regarding nurse staffing in each contract, as we know safe staffing is tied to adequate breaks and lunches, nurse job satisfaction, recruitment and retention of nurses, and primarily, SAFETY for nurses and patients.
This bill “established Nurse Staffing Committees and was mutually supported by unions, hospitals, and nurse executives, enacted by the Legislature, and signed by the Governor in 2008. The law requires hospital-level committees to produce staffing plans to be submitted to hospital CEOs and posting of unit-specific plans and schedules in each patient care area.”
The Patient Safety Act requires that hospital administrators work with nurses on staffing committees to develop a staffing plan, and that hospitals submit their adopted staffing plan to the Washington State Department of Health by January 2019. Here are some ways that the new Patient Safety Act strengthens the existing Nurse Staffing Committees:
Requires that the committee take into account needs of patients as a primary component in addition to hospital resources and finance when developing a plan and that facilities have control over changes in the plan.
Allowing nurses to file complaints with the hospital’s staffing committee and/or the Department of Health if the staffing plan isn’t followed and requires that DOH investigate documented complaints. If a hospital fails to correct a substantiated violation, DOH can impose a civil penalty of $100 per day.
Requiring that DOH maintain public inspection records of any civil penalties, administrative actions, or license suspensions or revocations imposed on hospitals. (WSNA summary)
So, what can you do now to help our cause? 1) Support the Safe Staffing Committee members by keeping them informed of issues that come up in each unit by filling out a complaint form, in a timely manner, to be presented at the monthly Safe Staffing meetings. These complaints will be discussed and “accepted or dismissed” and then marked “resolved or unresolved”. Our Safe Staffing committee will be tracking these complaints in order to take further action. 2) Volunteer to be a part of the Safe Staffing Committee by contacting one of your local unit officers. We prefer to have a diverse group with representation from every department in the hospital to encompass varying points of view and different issues to be addressed. You can be a very important voice and have a real say in how your unit is staffed!
The law requires at least 50% registered nurses providing direct patient care to hospital administration for committee membership. The current members of KVH’s Safe Staffing Committee are: Home Health and Hospice=Chad Bearup, Med/Surg-CCU=Paul Kelly, ED=Cody Staub, OB=Angie Seim, SOP=Lynn Pownall, OR=Kay Greenwood and local unit officer’s Jenn Crane, Andria Graham, and Kara Henderson. Staffing matrix for each department are reviewed every six months.
Substitute House Bill 1155 passed the legislature on April 24, 2019. Most components of the bill go into effect on January 1, 2020 – the two exceptions are: 1) mandatory overtime protections for tech, which goes into effect on July 1, 2020; and 2) for nurses and techs working in critical access hospitals and sole community hospitals, the effective date for the entire bill is July 1, 2021.
The bill provides two key protections: uninterrupted meal and rest breaks and enhanced mandatory overtime protections. Please see below for the details related to each section.
We appreciate all you do daily to provide the best care to our family, friends and community members.
“Keep your thoughts positive because your thoughts become your words. Keep your words positive because your words become your behavior. Keep your behavior positive because your behavior becomes your habits. Keep your habits positive because your habits become your values. Keep your values positive because your values become your destiny.” ~Mahatma Gandhi
You all have an important role at KVH, and we are happy to serve you and help you achieve the best work environment possible for you and your patients!
From your local unit officers, Jenn Crane-Chair, Andria Graham-Co Chair, Christina Wood-Secretary, Donna McCune-Treasurer, Beth Olson-Membership and Kara Henderson-Grievance Officer
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.