Registered nurses at Des Peres Hospital have won their first ever collective bargaining contract, according to a national nurses union.
The agreement, ratified by nurses in membership meetings Thursday, includes "strong job security protections," patient safety improvements, employer-paid health coverage and economic gains, according to the National Nurses Organizing Committee-Missouri.
Des Peres is the second hospital in the St. Louis area where nurses now have a contract with the union, an affiliate of National Nurses United. Registered nurses at St. Louis University Hospital finalized their first contract in June. ...
Sutter Health is a big chain of hospitals:
At my hospital before we organized we could have two RNs for 27 medical-surgical patients.
Critical care ratios had been in place as 2 or fewer patients per nurse since the seventies, but they planned the next 12 hour shift at 5:00 am and pm.
I had as many as five after admitting two and then a post code patient.
It was not safe. We were told, "Do the best you can." We did, but we could not be in so many places at one time.
Now we never have more patients than the ratios allow: http://www.nationalnursesunited.org/issues/entry/ratios
The charge nurse is not assigned to patients. Break relief RNs take over patients when their nurse goes on a break. No more "doubling factor" when a nurse "covers" for one on a break.
Usually addional staff is provided for high acuity patients.
We only float to units where we have been oriented and had our competency validated.
Nursing is special work. Caring is as important as scientific knowlege and technical skill.
We now almost always have the time to rovide the care our patients need and deserve, and time to document our assessments and nursing care.
Sometimes no break relief nurse is scheduled because more patients were admitted. we then fill ut a form and give it to the supervisor.
if it starts to become a pattern we go meet with management. they need to follow the law.
My union, the California Nurses Association worked with others for ten years to get it passed and another four years to get the ratios implemented.
We then had to protest and take a governor to court for trying to eliminate ratios in the ER and not improve them in medical-surgical as required.
We did it for our patients and the profession of nursing.
We continue to enforce safe staffing and the caring of nursing.