We have heard from you that you would like more commu­ni­ca­tion from WSNA specific to us Overlake RNs. We have heard you and will commit to sending more regular updates. Last night we held two confer­ence calls and lots of Overlake nurses were able to dial in and speak to us directly with your concerns. If this is something you want to see happen more often, let us know and we will try to set that up. 

In this update

  • Accom­mo­da­tions
  • Floating and job protections
  • PPE/DOSH complaint
  • ADOs
  • List of resources

Accom­mo­da­tions – If you believe your personal medical circum­stances warrant a reason­able accom­mo­da­tion, you should contact employee health or the HR business partner for your unit, Terry Wilson or Suzanne Rodriguez. If you are not sure who is assigned to your area, contact HR. Overlake is consid­ering these requests on a case-by-case basis. 

Floating and job protec­tions – The floating language in our collec­tive bargaining agree­ment (articles 8.5 and 9.7) remains in effect. Find our contract at https://​www​.wsna​.org/​u​n​i​o​n​/​o​v​e​r​l​a​k​e​-​h​o​s​p​i​t​a​l​-​m​e​d​i​cal-center. When floating, we cannot be required to take a patient assign­ment for which we are not trained to safely provide care. 

You may have to make a decision about accepting an assign­ment involving abnor­mally dangerous condi­tions that pose an imminent risk to your safety and health and could poten­tially cause serious injury or death. If you have already accepted the assign­ment your profes­sional license may be at risk if you fail to continue that assign­ment, unless you have handed off the assign­ment and been relieved of respon­si­bility for the patient. If you decide to refuse the assign­ment, you should remain at the workplace and offer to perform other work that does not pose an imminent risk to your safety and health (e.g., an assign­ment for which you are provided proper safety equip­ment and training). A decision to refuse an assign­ment could result in disci­pli­nary action taken against you by the employer. Under the collec­tive bargaining agree­ment between the employer and WSNA, there must be​“just cause” for any disci­pline. WSNA would defend you if you are subjected to unjust disci­pline, but resolu­tion of any such disci­pline would likely be delayed and the outcome may be uncer­tain as a result of the current national and state emergency declarations.

PPE/DOSH complaint – Many nurses are reporting lack of access to proper PPE, including N95 respi­ra­tors, as well as lack of training on using PPE. WSNA believes that these working condi­tions are not best practices and put your health and safety at risk. On behalf of the bargaining unit members at Overlake Medical Center, WSNA has filed a complaint with the Washington State Depart­ment of Labor & Indus­tries Division of Occupa­tional Safety and Health. WSNA’s DOSH complaint includes the following:

Nurses are being found to have been exposed to a COVID pos patient and are not being tested by employee health without showing required” symptoms (deter­mined by the hospital). RNs are being made to reuse CAPR face shields indef­i­nitely. They must clean them themselves and place in recep­tacle and store in their own locker for reuse day after day, until the hospital deter­mines the chinstrap is loose. RNs report the chinstrap is loose after one 12-hr shift.

They are inappro­pri­ately reusing PPE and reports that RNs performing nebulizing treat­ments are not allowed to wear CAPRs. Notifi­ca­tion of exposure by employer via e‑mail not reaching nurses during days off, thus prompting additional commu­nity and family exposure.

The employer has failed to furnish to each of his or her employees a place of employ­ment free from recog­nized hazards that are causing or likely to cause serious injury or death to his or her employees, in viola­tion of RCW 49.17.060.

The employer has failed to do every­thing reason­ably neces­sary to protect the life and safety of employees, in viola­tion of WAC 296 – 155-040(2).

The employer has failed to provided and maintained, at the employ­er’s expense, personal protec­tive equip­ment whenever physical contact, adsorp­tion, or inhala­tion of a hazard could cause injury or impair­ment to employees, in viola­tion of WAC 296 – 155-200(1)(a) and (b).

The employer is in viola­tion of WAC 296 – 126-094, the General Duty Clause. Nurse requires a size small N95 mask, but employer does not have these. Nurse was told to impro­vise. Some COVID positive pts are in rooms without negative pressure and recently received nebulizing treat­ment. No airborne precau­tions sign posted. RN went into the room wearing PPE for contact precau­tions to respond to IV pump and so was poten­tially exposed.

ADOs – Many of us have completed these online forms to document our unsafe working condi­tions. These forms have helped WSNA secure more PPE through state and federal channels, as well as provided documen­ta­tion for the DOSH complaint. We have heard reports of managers saying that these forms are only for staffing complaints. That is untrue. It is appro­priate and helpful to complete both the ADO form and a MIDAS. The ADO can be completed from home, at anytime after the fact. Find the ADO at www​.wsna​.org/ADO.

Resources – Visit https://​www​.wsna​.org/​u​n​i​o​n​/​o​v​e​r​l​a​k​e​-​h​o​s​p​i​t​a​l​-​m​e​d​i​cal-center for a list of links to resources during the COVID crisis. 

Contact any WSNA officer or WSNA Nurse Repre­sen­ta­tive Sydne James with any questions or concerns, sjames@wsna.org.

In solidarity, your WSNA officers.

Chris Birchem, Chair; Jennifer Carney, Secre­tary; Brenda Elliott, treasurer; Gemma Aranda, Griev­ance Officer; Kathryn Geren, Griev­ance Officer; Brook Dodd, Griev­ance Officer; Andrew Meeks, Member­ship Officer