This is a copy of the letter I e-mailed out in opposition of the pending legislation I have posted about at
I hope each person who opposes it at this time has also sent out a statement. If you have not, then take the time to use all or any of mine by cutting and pasting it to your e-mail.
The only way to fight the ANA on this is under their own terms. If you have not already done so please e-mail a copy of my post to all the nurses you know. Print a copy or two out and take it to work and make sure others actually take the time to both read and understand it. Print out a copy of the proposed legislation and make sure they get to meat of it and not just the sweet sounding beginning. Do all you can to make them understand how bad this can turn out for us. This is your future here that we are talking about. You will also find the addresses of representatives and senate as web links near the end of my original post. If you wait to long, then it might be too late to turn this around for our future benefit.
I am a registered nurse who opposes the following pending legislation the Nurse Reinvestment Act (S. 1597, H.R. 1436) and the Nursing Employment and Education Development Act (S. 721).
Here are my reasons:
The pending legislation if passed will serve to undermine all progress that individual nurses and unions are currently beginning to see in changing our working conditions. This includes issues such as appropriate pay for our professional as well as legal responsibilities, employers actually having to deal with our demands for improvements, staffing issues not just nursing staff but also much needed support staff, and basic lack of respect that has plagued our profession for years.
This legislation in it's current form will allow employers to continue with their current treatment and simply replace the experienced nurses who refuse to be subjected to it any longer. They, our employers, will be able to add their names to a needs list and honestly say they can not find nurses who will work for them. In fact. if this legislation is passed it will actually push many experienced nurses, who are waiting and hoping for change, out of the profession. In short, it take away many of their hopes and dreams of better working conditions as well as taking away their dreams of better wages. This legislation in essence will take away the bargaining power that nurses are just now beginning to realize and learning to use. This power is slowly beginning to force employers to address our individual concerns and make much needed changes. If these much needed changes are accomplished, then many nurses who left might come back to the profession. Studies have shown that there are enough nurses to fill almost every open position today if not all. Many nurses just choose not to work under the present working conditions. Nurses all over the country are recommending prospective candidates not to enter the field due to the present conditions. This legislation will not improve those basic conditions that are being perpetuated by our present employers.
Unless you are prepared to spend millions of dollars to replace a great number of the nurses who are now working, then you will vote against this legislation. The only alternative is for the Federal Government to step in and set appropriate nursing wages and benefits, staffing levels including support staff, and improve other basic working conditions. I am sure that our employers would meet this with great resistance. Another alternative would be for the government to step in and some how become the employer. I am sure if you have heard anything about what has happened in Canada and Australia, with respect to the nursing unions, that you would be very reluctant to want to take on this role.
Now for you to understand a little better I need to dispels some myths and misconception related to nursing.
1. The majority of nurses are either the only, primary, or equal income producer in a family.
2. The majority of nurses are in some way career oriented and not doing this work solely as a spiritual or religious vocation.
3. The majority of nurses know that they can leave and find better employment with all the added benefits outside of nursing.
4. 92 - 93% of nurses in the United States are not members of the ANA (American Nurses' Association) and do not actively support them. In other words, the ANA does not speak for all nurses and actually only represents a small minority of roughly 7- 8%. There is no other national organization at this moment for the nurses to join. Although there is discussion between individual nurses around the country of forming an alternative which could represent the majority or nurses through membership with new focus and leadership.
There are many nurses who feel as I do about this subject. We want to see change actually occur before legislation is passed that would make it very easy and in many ways lucrative for our employers to simply replace us if we refuse to work under their intolerable conditions.
The legislation in question or parts of it, may be needed in the future, but at this time it would be a big obstacle or even dead end to us implementing the needed changes at the basic level. The very same conditions that is responsible for driving nurses away from the profession and will continue to do so. The condition which have lead to the pseudo nursing shortage today. In the future, I can see the government spending a lot of money replacing nurses as they fulfill their requirements and leave. I can also see a lot of the present experienced nurses leaving if this passes with in the next 2 -3 years.
Please do not allow this legislation to pass. Allow the nurses in the United States to continue to use the strength that they are finding now to once and for all change the working conditions that have plagued the profession for decades.
If you will take the time to read the following it will also help in a better understanding on how this will adversely affect the profession and will more than likely increase the nursing shortage. Please note that the Cleveland Clinic is already a reality and it has not unfolded completely as of yet.
If you will do some investigating at and around the Cleveland Clinic you will see what nurses are facing in the future if this legislation is passed. There are second hand reports of a large number of foreign nurses who were also brought in by them and another hospitals that have resulted in pay cuts for nurses in the area. If you do take the time to investigate this, please do not go by the hospital's response alone. Ask the local nurses both regular staff and agency staff.
The following is a post on a nursing web site that will give a little insight at what we will more than likely face if this legislation passes.
What do you think a CEO or AHA think about pending legislation?
Is this a possible CEO or AHA perspective on pending legislation?
The nurse recruitment legislation and the legislation to abolish mandatory OT are dream come through for the American Hospital Association. The CEO's have to be drooling over these 2 pieces of legislation. If I were a CEO of a hospital, I would be encouraging everyone to write to his or her legislator. I would even provide the postage as well as pay them 5 or 10 dollars to send a postcard in support of the recruitment legislation. I would on the other hand be publicly against the legislation against mandatory OT, but privately I would be telling all my other counter parts to allow it to pass without major resistance.
Now why would I do such a thing. It is simple in the long run it will be beneficial to me in keeping costs down and ensure that my personal income to rise.
How exactly would that happen you ask. Simple, the recruitment legislation will provide me with brand new needed personnel that I can use to replace the nurses who are harassing me for more money and benefits. All I have to do is to continue to pay the same stagnated wages and benefits once it passes. As experienced nurses leave, I can put in my request for more nurses. I will be paying a fare wage when compared to the other hospitals even though it might be as much as 5 dollars less than the national average. In fact, me and my friends have already talked about again freezing salaries across the country as soon as this legislation passes. Many of us have been talking about how we will be able to use this same legislation to put the reigns on the unions we have to deal with. The legislation will provide a way to cut the bargaining power the unions and nurses in general have at this moment. We as employers only need to show that we are not blatantly abusing nurses. This way the government will pay for the replacements that we will need and put us on the needs list. As an extra bonus to us, they will even prioritize on the women who are on welfare or other forms of assistance. This will be a blessing. They will see the wages we offer as a blessing even if they are lower than today's current level, not to mention the low self esteem and other unresolved negative personality issues they will be coming to us with that will allow us to keep them in check.
The anti mandatory OT issue will benefit us in 2 different ways. The first one will be that of making our needs greater. If we can not use mandatory OT anymore then we will have to increase the nurse to patient ratios to provide nursing care. By doing this we will benefit in fewer staff and less out of pocket costs for staffing thus better profits. This will surely result in loosing more of the nurses who are tired and have been harassing us for better pay and benefits. We can offer extra incentives for OT in the short term while we wait for replacement nurses to show up and we can continue to slowly increase nurse to patient ratios at the same time. By the time legislation is passed and goes into effect, if ever, The first group of replacement nurses will be ready to step in. I do not foresee a problem with bogging down any type of legislation or getting a time frame set that is in our favor for compliance to start.
The way this is all coming together is great. We could not have done a better job if we would have done it ourselves. We owe the ANA a big thank you for all they have done on our behalf. Just think all this plus the increased limits on foreign nurses that will pass, we will have control once again, as though we ever actually lost it. We will all have to meet with the genius from the Cleveland Clinic to get his input as well.
If you want to see how long it can actually take to set nurse to patient ratios and the resistance that will be encountered with the legislation, then contact a California Elected official. I understand that the Governor of the state is the one who is dealing with this the most.
I also suggest that if you want to hear and read what actual nurses at the bedside have to say or what they are going through, then stop by www.allnurses.com
sometime. Please excuse some of our senses of humor and many of the politically incorrect posts, but hey we are only human. Do not be afraid to ask us questions as long as we reply as ourselves.
Thank you for taking the time to read this.