How to persuasively create change???

  1. I have recently written letters to my state senators and to the Commissioner on Government Relations of the State Nursing Association regarding the need for state safe nursing staffing ratios. I received word from the State Nursing Assoc. essentially telling me that this state doesn't support staffing ratios because "ratios meant to be a minimum are used as a maximum" and that previous legislation on the subject has failed. I just received an email from the senator's office, describing how he supports nursing, the work we do and that he's supported bills for the Nursing Reinvestment Act and sponsered the Medicare Skilled Nursing Beneficiary Protection Act. This senator, however, failed to mention that he also supported the recent OT bill that would exempt nurses from receiving OT pay.
    I am frustrated because I live in a conservative state that has no nursing unions and business interests govern politics. The state nursing association does not approve of unions and supports little legislation that actually would benefit nurses. I talk with my coworkers and explain the need to get involved in enacting change, but they remain apathetic and wonder why I do what I do when my efforts fail.
    Any words of advice? Anyone that has been in a similar situation? Thanks in advance.
    MMB
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  2. 6 Comments

  3. by   live4today
    MMB....there are those nurses who WATCH what happens......nurses who MAKE things happen......and nurses who WONDER what happened?????? You keep being the one who MAKES things happen. I find that women I've worked with in my sixteen years as a nurse WON'T make things happen. The women of this country are the ones imprisoned within themselves. Why do I say that? Because here we are in a country that supposedly values self-growth, change, entrepreneurship, success, equal rights....and so forth........YET....women hold themselves down by NOT acting on these privileges that we hold dear in this country.

    Women in third world countries may be held back by the laws in their countries, but what excuse do women have here in America except our own?

    No law is holding us back from making changes in nursing. This is why I totally believe that nurses LOVE eating nurse meat, nerves, and brains during their time on duty.

    Nurses NEED to get a BACKBONE before change will come to our profession. Otherwise, we are all simply singing to the choir everyday we go to work and gripe about this or that! Heck, I can stay home and gripe, but to go to work and watch nurses do each other in?..........now THAT'S a bunch of crock!

    Where are the men in nursing! We need MEN to come rescue us from ourselves women because we obviously do NOT know which way to cut the cake staring us in the face on our jobs as nurses.
  4. by   sjoe
    Exactly right, cheerful. But reasonable men are NOT going to rescue people who will not stand up for themselves. It is a bottomless, unproductive, and unrewarding pit that we don't choose to fall into. (Why do you think so many of us leave the field? Who wants to remain on a losing team?)

    It doesn't have to stay this way.

    mmb, you are going to have to either continue doing things on your own as best you can until you: 1) get what you want, 2) leave your area, or 3) give up and become like the others. But if you are holding out for support or appreciation from more than one or two (at the most) of your co-workers, you are setting yourself up for disappointment. They will be happy to reap the benefits of anything you do, but will NOT be happy to help out, stand up, speak up, sign anything, etc. Don't expect anything different and you won't be disappointed.

    So what if: "The state nursing association does not approve of unions"? Have a chat with the Teamsters, SEIU, etc. to see whether any of them are interested in helping you organize one, and to learn what is involved. Is it worth the effort? That will be up to you.

    You are educating yourself about the realities of the nursing workplace in your area and seem to have learned some good things so far (like politicians' attitudes, the real sources of power, the uselessness of your state nursing assn, etc.). All the stuff you weren't taught in school, unfortunately, but the realities you need to know, whatever your activism choices will be. Good for you.
    Last edit by sjoe on Aug 7, '03
  5. by   Gldngrl
    Thank you Cheerfuldoer and sjoe for your thoughts and suggestions. My lawschool classmate described me as Don Quixote, running to windmills and I guess I am and will remain as such. No union will touch a hospital in my state, they as much as said so to me and it was strongly recommended that I move back up North if I wanted to pursue a career in labour law. I plan on moving up North next year, but that doesn't mean that I don't want to tackle issues affecting nurses here...as much as I enjoy nursing, it's a very difficult task to convince my coworkers that positive change is possible and that employees do indeed have rights. MMB
  6. by   ainz
    It is difficult to convince many many nurses that positive change is possible because it means taking action and doing things differently than what has been done before, in other words, changing behavior. Everyone also seems to want a quick fix and there is none. Many are on the wagon with organizing themselves into union or getting the teamsters involved and so on. This is not characteristic of a true profession, particularly one that deals with the humanities and healthcare.

    To gain power we have to have economic power--to either make money for hospitals or cause them to lose money. We already have that power but nurses in mass do not realize it, understand it, or believe it. What a shame.
  7. by   ainz
    It is difficult to convince many many nurses that positive change is possible because it means taking action and doing things differently than what has been done before, in other words, changing behavior. Everyone also seems to want a quick fix and there is none. Many are on the wagon with organizing themselves into union or getting the teamsters involved and so on. This is not characteristic of a true profession, particularly one that deals with the humanities and healthcare.

    To gain power we have to have economic power--to either make money for hospitals or cause them to lose money. We already have that power but nurses in mass do not realize it, understand it, or believe it. What a shame.
  8. by   pickledpepperRN
    Well our state nurses association DOES support our RN union. I was one of the thousands of women and some men who accomplished much. We have only just begun after 100 years. This organization was instrumental in initiating licensure of nurses. We are the first nurses union in the United States. My participation has mostly been in the last decade:
    http://cna.igc.org/cna101/govrel.htm
    CNA has authored and lobbied hard for passage of precedent-setting legislation such as:
    * First in the nation state mandated nurse-to-patient staffing ratios (AB 394)
    * Whistleblower protection for healthcare providers
    * $5 million dollars for nursing education
    * State Department of Health Services Title 22 regulations addressing safe floating practices, competency validation and patient classification systems.
    State Senator Sheila Kuehl,
    Author of AB 394:

    "When other organizations said nurse ratios were not important and the hospital industry said nurse ratios were not necessary, CNA enlisted the support of RNs throughout California and together we carried the day."
    CNA's 10-Year Campaign for Safe Staffing Ratios
    All of the following initiatives were introduced by CNA.
    1993
    First ratio legislation, AB 1445
    1996
    Proposition 216: Ratios were a core component of this HMO reform ballot initiative, co-sponsored by CNA. 3.2 million Californians vote for 216.
    1998
    Staffing ratios bill (AB 695) wins approval in the legislature for the first time. Governor vetoes bill after extensive lobbying by the hospital industry.
    1999
    AB 394 introduced by then-Assemblymember Sheila Kuehl. CNA gathers over 14,000 letters in support and commissions public opinion poll showing 80% public support for bill.
    AB 394 passed by legislature after CNA mobilizes 1500 RNs for rally on steps of the Capitol on the day Senate votes on bill. Governor Davis signs the bill, making California the first in the nation to legislate staffing ratios.
    2001
    CNA mobilizes over 2000 RNs for a rally in Sacramento demanding adoption of CNA's proposed ratios. The hospital industry proposes 1:10 for medical-surgical, telemetry and oncology units.
    2002
    Governor Davis and the Department of Health Services (DHS) announce specific unit ratios. Hospital industry ratios soundly defeated.
    With the DHS expected to issue the official regulations this fall, the hospital industry continues to push for higher ratios for ER, psychiatric units, and night shift and use of LVNs. CNA continues to mobilize massive public and RN support for adoption of DHS proposal, and all-RN ratios.
    2004 January 1st, Implementation of ratios.

    (MANY hospitals are already staffing to the ratios. Others are almost there. We want only an RN assigned to patients with LVNs in an assistive role. At hospitals that have implemented the ratios already all the LVNs are still working with better staffing and less threat to their license because the RN has time to assess the patients and plan the care (Nursing Process).

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