WSNA Spotlight Member Activist
My name is Ingrid Anderson and I have worked at Overlake hospital for nearly 12 years. I worked in the Emergency Department for 11 years and now primarily work in Behavioral Health. I occasionally work in the ED, but when I do it is primarily to do a sexual assault exam, as I am on the SANE team. I have recently become a WSNA unit representative for BHU. However, if anyone in the hospital ever needs help, you are more than welcome to reach out to me.
I am currently working on becoming a Psychiatric Nurse Practitioner through a distance program with Gonzaga. In addition, I serve on the WSNA PAC Board of Trustees as the Vice Chair. We on the PAC Board are all volunteer nurses who work at advancing legislation that impacts patient care and nursing. All of this is done from voluntary PAC donations and is not from your union dues.
I have had the privilege to give testimony the last two years in a row in Olympia to advocate for the rest break bill that has just passed. I have traveled to Olympia to speak to Senators and other legislative representatives many times over the last several years to educate them on the importance of this legislation. I was lucky enough to be in Olympia in the Senate gallery when this bill finally passed! In addition to this I love the PNW, hiking, reading, exploring nature with my family and camping! I also do a lot of community outreach and volunteer work. If you ever see me in the hall don’t hesitate to stop and say hello or ask a question!
If you are curious about nurse advocacy, I encourage you to check out #BeyondTheCards (Wa Nurse Power) on FB through WSNA or check out the WSNA page for information about education, CEs, and legislative goals. WSNA is your union and your professional organization.
Nurses United, Will Never Be Divided!
WSNA conference committee. What is it and what is on the agenda?
Nurses often feel isolated to their own units and have no idea what is going on in other units. Article 17.1 of the CBA relates to conference committee. This article reads, in part:
The Committee will function as a vehicle for the Hospital and nursing staff working in a collaborative and advisory capacity, to identify and/or react to contract related problems and to promote positive change in an expeditious manner by both intervention in selected issues and through recommendations made to Nursing Administration.
You will also find conference committee referenced at many other places in your contract. Pull up the contract, search the word “conference” to learn more.
What is discussed at conference committee? For several months now, Labor & Delivery has been on the agenda due to ongoing issues there. For one, this unit is chronically short-staffed. Nurses have been experiencing mandatory overtime, working short-staffed, missed breaks, and mandatory call shifts (referred to as mandatory standby in this unit).
Wait. Isn’t mandatory OT illegal? It depends. WSNA has asked for records kept in regards to these instances of mandatory overtime but Overlake did not produce accurate data. Nurses were not ok with this and exercised their right to file complaints with Labor & Industries. L & I has since opened an investigation into reported instances of mandatory OT for these nurses.
As for the mandatory call/standby, this was a huge dissatisfier, as one can imagine. This is not in the job description and nurses report they were not informed of this requirement when accepting the position at Overlake. These L&D nurses spoke up via emails and one attended a conference committee meeting to speak on behalf of all the nurses about the ongoing staffing issues. One result of their activism is that L&D has backed off of the mandatory call/standby shifts and it is currently voluntary.
Do you have issues in your unit? Do you have ideas for solutions? Speak to any Overlake officer or our WSNA nurse rep, Sydne James, because it might be able to be resolved amicably with Overlake administration at conference committee. If you don’t do anything, nothing will change.
WSNA policy priorities in Olympia – two major victories
In an extremely rare occurrence, this year we had positive outcomes on every WSNA policy priority – in no small part due to your engagement and advocacy.
Breaks & Overtime Protections bill passes. More than 300 nurses and hospital techs were in Olympia on April 24 to rally support for our breaks and overtime protections bill, SHB 1155. They joined Governor Inslee on the capitol steps where the Governor asked the legislature to send him a clean bill to sign. That afternoon, nurses and techs crowded the Senate galleries and watched as the vote count ticked up to 32-16. The House took up the bill shortly thereafter and passed it off the House floor by a vote of 70-24. Cheers broke out in the hallway outside the gallery after the bill finally passed!
The final bill does not include the two bad amendments – no 8-hour shift limits and no exclusion of Critical Access Hospitals. The bill codifies uninterrupted breaks and says that mandatory prescheduled on-call may not be used in lieu of scheduling employees to work regularly scheduled shifts. Unprecedented member engagement pushed this bill across the finish line after ten years of advocacy. Thank you for your phone calls, emails, letters and for showing up in Olympia to get this done!
Workplace violence prevention bill passes. Our workplace violence bill SHB 1931 also passed this session. It is rare for a bill to be introduced and passed in the same session, but legislators really heard your experiences with workplace violence and were moved to act quickly. Thank you for sharing your experiences in emails, postcards, at WSNA Lobby Day, and in Nurses Speak events around the state last fall.
Surprise Billing bill passes. After a number of years of work on a bill to take patients out of the middle of surprise billing, this session the legislature finally passed this law. WSNA has supported this bill for the last three sessions as a good consumer/patient protection bill, testifying in committee about its importance on numerous occasions. This session, HB 1065 passed both chambers unanimously and will be delivered to the Governor to be signed into law.
New online staffing complaint form
This new online staffing complaint/ADO form has been developed by a collation that included WSNA, SEIU, UFCW and WSHA representatives.
Completing the form serves many purposes, including data tracking, bring issues to light, supportive documentation and discussion tool to make things better. It is not punitive.
This form is to be completed if:
· The unit is not staffed according to its staffing plan or if mid-shift staffing adjustments are inadequate (in order to know if your unit is not staffed according to its staffing plan, you must first know what the staffing plan for you unit is. Staffing plans, including nursing and unlicensed staff, are required to be posted on every unit)
· Missed breaks or earned time denied
· In the event of equipment issues or system failure
If you have reason to complete this form, you first should speak with your manager or charge nurse for that shift in order to try to resolve the concern as quickly as possible. When you complete the online form, you are encouraged to include your manager’s name and email.
What happens when I submit the form?
1. 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.
2. The Nurse Staffing Committee will review the complaint at their next meeting if it is a staffing concern.
3. The Nurse Conference Committee will review the complaint at their next meeting if it is of other concern.
Find the staffing complaint form at wsna.org/ado on your computer or phone.
Questions? Contact your WSNA Nurse Rep Sydne James, email@example.com.