[QUOTE]she goes on to say that many nurses call her office to say they have been ordered to remain at work for mandatory ot but need to leave at the end of their shift & if they do, is it pt abandonment? She adds that yes,it is abandonment. And its a difficult situation but the nurse has to stay if ordered & if she leaves, she can be charged with abandonment. Then she explains why & how & just what the obligations of nurses are to their patients, etc.
Amazing. While state boards & state associations (including ours) all over the country & the ANA are all saying refusing M.ot is NOT pt abandonment, our state board thinks it is. [Q]
So I went to the legislative lobby day in Albany this w/e, Natalie & the next one is April 17th. I totally recommend it. Youd love it! It was free for CNP officers, non-members could also participate & members expenses were re-imbursable. Lots of RNs were there from Niagra Falls area, Erie, Buffalo, Syracuse, Downstate, etc. from all over the state. It was a great day & I was amazed at how the legislators dropped everything to talk with us when we stopped by their offices in the morning. Also, we held a luncheon for them & they all came, sat at round tables with their RNs from their own districts, had a relaxed lunch & talked about the issues with their own constituents - us.
Addressing us as speakers were the majority & minority leaders of both the Assembly & the Senate, state comptroller Carl McCall, surgeon general Dr. Antonia Novello, the director of the office professions (which the state board of nursing reports to), the health commissioner, and a letter was read from the attorney general who was in NYC at the time. Every single one of them supported all the bills we want passed & the ones we wrote. We have a sponsor for all of them. The legislators from our areas sitting at our tables were so knowledgeable & passionate about these issues & asking for our help in making them laws & they were really interested in what we had to say. I cant tell you how many times we heard "my wife is a nurse" "my mother was a school-nurse" "my grandma was a nurse midwife" "my sister is a nurse practicioner","I was in the hospital 10 yrs ago & my nurse Mary Jones saved my life",(he even still remembered her name) "nurses are the lifeblood of healthcare", etc.
They spent a lot of time with us & I dont think it was the free food that kept them there. They took notes, phone numbers, asked real pertinent questions & made a committment to work with us on everyone of those issues in the other thread.
We had packets made up for them explaining which bills we wanted them to support & vote for & why. They loved how easy it was for them to see the info right at a glance. It was all very professionaly done.
Each of them from both parties gave committments to sponsor, support & pass the laws we needed. Some things may be harder to achieve than others because a few of the Republicans kept saying the problem was our aging & lack of recruiting minorities & providing financial assistance to them for school. The Democrats were more on target reminding them that "no matter how much money you give people, if the working conditions arent improved, there still will be a shortage. And people will still be saying 'I wont work at that facility no matter how much they pay me' ". Obviously, they have been learning from us! lol.
I was amazed at the knowledge of & committment they had to all our issues. They were really well informed by us over these past few months & this was a very interesting way to network with them. It was very relaxed, & we treated each other as though we all new each other for years. Funny to see elected officials are just regular people.
In the afternoon, we went to watch the Assembly in session & they surprised us by bringing our whistleblower bill to the floor that day in honor of our presence there. And they voted unanimously to pass it! The Senate promised to day the same. And both Republican & Democrat leaders made a committment to having their groups working with us to get the Govenor to sign it this time. I was surprised at the amount of respect they had for all of us (thats something we arent used to as staff RNs!) & the way they treated us as knowledgeable, important professionals whose help they need.
As for the Board of Nursing, at the dinner on Sunday night, the ANA rep Suzanne Whitaker made a presentation of the exciting, progressive plan of the ANA to push the employer-friendly/worker-hostile Bush administration into action by fighting the same fight in every state simultaneously while the feds drag their feet. Once the states have certain legislations, it will be very difficult for the federal goverment to deny us any longer because they make decisions based on what the states have done. So every SNA has been asked to do what we are doing & work towards those issues that are listed in the other thread. Also, she said loud & clear that the ANA's opinion is that mismanagment by insufficiently staffing is not a reason to order mandatory oT & any nurse who refuses mandatory OT is not abandoning pts. I stood up & told her what our state board of Nursing had written in the paper on that. She disagreed with them & thats why we have this initiative to pass a law in every state that says NO nurse being ordered to stay M.OT will be charged with abandonment if she refuses. A nurse who is also on the board of nursing stood up to correct me & say that what they mean is that each case is on an individual basis & if the RN proves that short-staffing was the reason for the M. ot, she would not be charged but she has to have that hearing to prove herself. But why should we have to prove our innocence??? NYSNA & ANA's do not think we should! Their bill on M.ot would rectify the requirements of the state board so that we dont even have to have a hearing or prove anything.
Legally, refusing M.OT would not be subject to any hearing in any case - unless a disater had ben declared by the city, state, or federal govt. Every state is being asked to sponsor this legislation to change State Board of Nursing rules to prevent the RN from being charged with abandonment & Rns do not have to be a member of their SNA to influence their elected officials in passing this law in their state.
There were petitions distributed by the ANA that all RNs in the US can sign, member or not, to have the federal laws we need passed - that includes federal legislations for safe staffing, elimination of mandatory ot & the above board of nursing changes,federal whistleblower law, workplace violence/safety legislation, and funding for expansion of nursing programs
& loans. You can get it from the website & also download a copy of the poster for nurses week. It has a red circle & line thru a picture of a pretty nurses day cake & it says for nurses week we want safe staffing, no mandatory ot & to be able to provide quality care! Anyone can use it - even non-members.
All in all it was a thrilling day. You would have been proud. Go in April if you can. You'll see how much your efforts everyday really do count.