Winter Newsletter

In this issue:

• Your contract is now online
• Your WSNA officer team
• Your new WSNA Nurse Rep
• HIPAA investigations alert!
• COVID exposure settlement
• Questions and answers
• Educational vs. professional leave
• Assignment Despite Objection Forms (ADOs)

Election results are in, and your contract is now online! Please welcome your new WSNA officer team

Listed below is your newly elected WSNA officer team and the unit in which they work. As a reminder, your officers work for Children’s part or full-time and all the work that they do on behalf of WSNA members is voluntary. If you contact them, please give them at least 2 business days to get back to you. Please do not contact your officers at their work email addresses with WSNA business.

Co-Chair Kara Yates, Medical Unit
Annika Hoogestraat, CICU & ECMO
Lindsey Kirsch, Urgent Care
Stefanie Chandos, Ped Transport Control
Grievance Officer
Maria Sixto, Airlift Northwest
Grievance Officer
Erin Doyle, Ped Transport Control
Grievance Officer
Sam Forte, OR
Grievance Officer
Katie Podobnik, Ambulatory
Grievance Officer
Te’onna Adams, Medical Unit
Membership Officer
Therese Hill, Critical Care Float Pool

You can find your new contract online at wsna.org.

Announcing your new WSNA nurse representative, Linda Burbank, JD, BSN, RN

Please join me in welcoming Linda Burbank, the new WSNA Nurse Representative for Seattle Children’s Hospital. Linda will be addressing all new union issues that arise at Seattle Children’s Hospital.

It has been an absolute pleasure working with the nurses at Seattle Children’s Hospital. I will continue to advocate for nurses and healthcare in other roles. I’ll miss the Children’s nurses but feel confident you will be in good hands with Linda.

With appreciation,

Travis Elmore Nelson, RN, BSN, RN-BC
WSNA Nurse Representative

HIPAA investigation alert

Seattle Children’s has recently investigated multiple Nurses for using hospital systems to search for family members and to search for patients not in the care of the nurse at the time. The hospital has even launched investigations for hovering over the name of someone not in the care of the nurse! Remember that patient info should only be accessed on a need-to-know basis. Please let WSNA know if you are called into any meeting in which HIPAA is a topic of discussion.

COVID exposure settlement

WSNA and Seattle Children’s have reached an Agreement to resolve the Association’s March 2020 grievance concerning application of Article 13.16 to workplace COVID-19 exposures.

Eligibility – Nurses who meet specified requirements are eligible to receive the equivalent of reimbursement through paid leave with no loss of pay or accrued time off:

  1. The nurse was exposed to COVID-19 while performing their job,
  2. Such exposure occurred while the nurse was working at a Seattle Children’s work site,
  3. The Nurse was directed by the Employer not to work because of such exposure and used sick time, annual leave or took unpaid time when directed not to work.

Retroactive Application of Leave – Seattle Children’s will retroactively apply the equivalent of reimbursement through paid leave with no loss of pay or accrued time off to qualifying, regularly-scheduled missed shifts. As a result:

  1. Eligible nurses who used paid leave (e.g., sick leave, annual leave) during their qualifying, regularly scheduled missed shift(s) will receive hours returned to the appropriate leave bank.
  2. Eligible nurses who were on unpaid leave during their qualifying, regularly scheduled missed shift will receive payment at the regular rate of pay as defined in Article 4.9 that was in effect during the missed shift(s).

Nurse Attestation Form – To be eligible for the equivalent of reimbursement under this Agreement, a Nurse must complete the attestation form and any other supporting documentation and return it to a designated Human Resources email address within the specified 60-day period. Nurses should include a designated Association email address, schcovidexposure@wsna.org, as a recipient when submitting their attestations and supporting documentation.

Seattle Children’s will make a good faith effort to reach an initial determination about each nurse’s eligibility for the equivalent of reimbursement within six months of execution of the Agreement.

Questions and Answers

Q. My manager has asked to meet with me. Do I need a Union Rep?
A. Go with your gut feeling. If you think that you will need union representation, ask your manager if the meeting is investigatory or could result in discipline now or in the future. If they say yes, call or email a WSNA Officer or the WSNA Rep.

Q. May I email you from work?
A. PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE do not use your work email to contact your WSNA team about WSNA business. Email us via your personal email. Children’s considers work email property of the hospital.

Q. I am interested in going to the Washington State Nurses Convention. Where can I find more information?
A. We are thrilled to meet again in person for the 2023 Washington State Nurses Convention on May 17-19 at the Greater Tacoma Convention Center.

An impressive lineup of local and national speakers will address topics like speaking up for yourself and your patients, ending structural ableism, leadership in extraordinary times, self-care, creating a future you want, and promoting diversity, equity, and inclusion. Earn up to 11 CNEs, too!

Go to wanursecon.org for more information.

Q. I would like to be a more active member of WSNA and be a point person on my unit. What can I do?
A. Unit Reps are volunteer liaisons between the unit RNs and the WSNA Officers. If you are interested in becoming a Unit Rep for your floor, please contact Therese Hill, Membership Officer or WSNA Rep. Linda Burbank.

Q. Where can I find information on my unit about WSNA?
A. Check out your bulletin boards in your break rooms or talk to a WSNA Officer or Unit Rep.

Q: I believe that the hospital is violating my rights under the contract. What should I do?
A: If you believe that management is breaking the collective bargaining agreement, find the article of the contract you believe they are violating and bring it to their attention. If this doesn’t work, go up the chain of command. If this still doesn’t work, WSNA may be able to advocate on your behalf. Contact one of your WSNA Officers listed in this newsletter. If you are unable to get in touch with a Local Unit Officer, call the WSNA Representative to discuss your concern and get guidance. Occasionally, WSNA is able to work with management to fix RN concerns without the WSNA Rep filing a grievance. A WSNA Nurse has 21 days from the date they knew or should have known they had a grievance to file.

Q: I was disciplined over a year ago and I was told that the contract says I can now ask for my discipline to be removed. Is this true?
A: Article 5.4 of the collective bargaining agreement (contract) deals with personnel files. The Nurses and the Hospital have agreed that after 2 years and if there has been no discipline of a similar nature, a Nurse may request discipline be removed from their personnel file. If you have questions about this, please contact the WSNA Rep.

Q: I received an evaluation that I do not agree with! What can I do about it?
A: Article 5.7 of the contract addresses evaluations. If you do not agree with your evaluation, you may attach written comments or a rebuttal to your current evaluation or evaluations in your personnel file. Additionally, you should keep all thank you’s, positive comment cards, awards, etc. When your evaluation comes up, share these with your manager as evidence of your performance over the past year.

Additionally, a basic principle of managing people is that employees should be given direction throughout the year and not just at evaluation time. It is not a best practice for managers to give you negative feedback for the first time during your evaluation!

Educational vs. Professional Leave

Did you know that there is a difference between Education and Professional leaves? If you have any questions, please contact your WSNA Co-Chair Kara Yates or the WSNA Rep.

EDUCATION - to help broaden your knowledge base as a nurse

PROFESSIONAL - to help broaden your professional career

(Contract Articles referring to Education and Professional leave)

15.5 Education Leave.
Nurses assigned at least a .6 FTE may be allowed up to twenty-four (24) hours of paid educational leave per year. Nurses assigned an FTE of less than .6 may be allowed up to eight (8) hours of paid educational leave per year. Educational leave shall be subject to scheduling requirements of the Employer and approval by the Director of Nursing Service of the subject matter to be studied. The Employer will make a good faith effort to assure nurses receive their education leave.

15.6 Professional Leave.
Nurses assigned at least a .6 FTE may be allowed up to twenty-four (24) hours of paid professional leave per year. Nurses assigned an FTE of less than .6 may be allowed up to eight (8) hours of paid professional leave per year. Professional leave shall be subject to budgetary considerations and scheduling requirements of the Employer.

15.7 Educational and Professional Leave Expenses.
The Employer shall determine annually a budget of no less than $150,000 to reimburse Registered Nurses for expenses related to educational and professional activities. Once determined, the budgeted funds shall be allocated to each unit, with consideration for size and need. Registered Nurses interested in seeking reimbursement shall apply prior to engaging in the activity. The Employer, through its unit leadership, shall review the applications and determine which applications will be approved. Once it is determined, the budget and unit allocations shall be provided to the Conference Committee. Upon request, but no more than twice each fiscal year, the Employer shall provide utilization data for each unit’s allocation to the Conference Committee. The manner by which funds are distributed and the amount of each unit’s budget shall be appropriate discussion items for the Conference Committee.

Assignment Despite Objection Forms (ADOs) Question and Answer

Q. What is an ADO form?
A. The ADO form is a WSNA form that Nurses should use to document working conditions they believe are unsafe. Most ADOs submitted are related to unsafe assignments. Nurses may go on record by completing an ADO to demonstrate that the nurse voiced their concerns prior to receiving the assignment. Nurses are legally protected from retaliation when they submit an ADO to express staffing concerns. Filling out and filing an ADO may protect you one day if ever an untoward outcome should occur.

Q. Why should I fill out ADOs?
A. The data submitted in ADO forms can show trends, which can help in bringing about change. What you think may be an isolated concern might be happening on other nursing units. ADO forms also document that you addressed a potential safety concern and can protect your license or be valuable if you are ever involved in litigation.

Registered nurses have the responsibility to report when care is unsafe. If unsafe situations go unchecked, those we serve may be put at risk, and you put your RN Licensure at risk.

All practicing registered nurses should carry their own professional liability insurance and WSNA has selected Nurses Service Organization (NSO) as the program best suited for its members. This plan is designed to meet the unique needs of today’s nursing professionals and students of nursing as well as Home Health Care & Staffing Agencies.

Q. ADO when and how?
A. If you feel your situation/assignment is unsafe, you need to report it to Management as soon as possible and go up the chain of command. If you reject an assignment because of safety concerns, do so BEFORE you finish report and stay at the work station (Refusing a patient care assignment - WSNA). Do not reject the assignment after assuming the assignment because this may be viewed as patient abandonment/insubordination. If the situation is not immediately addressed/ remedied by Management, you need to fill out and file an ADO form as soon as you can. Be detailed in your description of the issue/concern.

Q. Where do I find this form?
A. You can find the WSNA ADO form by going to www.ado.wsna.org/. A copy will go to you, WSNA and your manager.

Q. Who can fill out this form?
A. Any nurse! You also do not need to be a member to complete the form.

Q. Will my manager or I get in trouble if I fill out this form?
A. The ADO form is not intended to be used as a tool to get anyone in trouble or penalized. This form is intended to be used as a tool to surface concerns and protect Nurses. If any nurse feels they are being penalized or retaliated against by their manager for filling out an ADO, please let any of your officers or the WSNA Rep know. Retaliation for submitting staffing concerns is illegal.

Q. What happens with this form once I fill it out?
A. These forms are discussed by Unit Based Staffing Committees (UBSCs). These forms are also subject to discussion at the next Nurse Conference Committee (NCC) meeting which is held every other month. If you have any questions about NCC, please contact the WSNA Rep or a WSNA Officer.

Q. What if I have a question? Who do I contact and is there a timeline?
A. Email one of your WSNA Officers or the WSNA Nurse Rep.

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