What’s been going on locally… #

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 2021 Convention #

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 atnursec​on​ven​tionwa​.org.

Nurses Week #

Nurses Week is coming up May 6 – 12. If you have not used your Utopia gift card from last year, don’t forget to head in there to enjoy your treat!

Meet your Local Unit Officers… #

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 cranerim@gmail.com.

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 andriagraham@hotmail.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 nursekara@gmail.com.

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 christinamacgregor5@gmail.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 mccuneclan@outlook.com .

Change is just around the corner… #

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—

What to do about staffing…. #

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.

See House Bill 3123 for more info

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.

Break and OT law #

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.

View SHB1155

Finally… #

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