update on Nurses Rally in DC -
Nurses Launch Campaign for Safe Staffing
May 7, 2003 - Washington, DC - Some half a million nurses from the AFL-CIO affiliates are joining together as the AFL-CIO Nurses: A United Voice for Safe Staffing Now
in an unprecedented effort for safe staffing standards. On national Nurse Day, May 6, the AFL-CIO Nurses: A United Voice for Safe Staffing Now
kicked off a campaign for federal and state legislation to set safe staffing standards.
Meeting on Capitol Hill, more than 600 nurses, legislators and consumer advocates discussed the need for safe staffing standards and released a national poll on the public's view of the impact of the nursing crisis. The poll shows a large majority of the public agrees with front-line nurses: The nation faces a nurse staffing crisis that in turn affects the quality of patient care.
"The job can't be done without safe staffing standards," says Barbara Crane, RN, a registered nurse for 27 years and working in the intensive care unit at St. Catherine of Siena Medical Center in Long Island, New York. The 450 nurses at St. Catherine were out on strike for 104 days in late 2001 and early 2002 to gain safe staffing. "Our victory didn't come without a fight. But we were determined that management would not jeopardize our patients by short-staffing the nurses."
In a nationwide telephone survey conducted in April 2003 by Lake Snell Perry & Associates Inc. for the AFL-CIO Nurses, an overwhelming number of Americans believe there are not enough registered nurses to care for the number of patients admitted in hospitals. Seventy-five percent of respondents say there are not enough registered nurses, while only 15 percent say there are enough or more than enough. Slightly more than three-quarters of Americans also believe the shortage of registered nurses has a large impact on the quality of care provided to patients in hospitals, according to the poll. The poll, commissioned by AFL-CIO Nurses: A United Voice for Safe Staffing Now
finds the public sees eye to eye with front-line nurses: The nation faces a critical crisis in nurse staffing.
"It's an awesome responsibility taking care of someone's life," says Denise Leary, a pediatric LPN for 22 years at Boston Medical Center. "We need safe staffing because you don't want to go home every night and wonder if you missed doing something you should have to help a patient because you didn't have the time."
The AFL-CIO unions that formed AFL-CIO Nurses: A United Voice for Safe Staffing Now
AFGE - Veterans Affairs Nurses
AFSCME--United Nurses of America
AFT - Healthcare
Communications Workers of America Public and Health Care Workers
SEIU - Nurse Alliance
United American Nurses - the national RN-only labor union
United Food and Commercial Workers - Health Care Division.
These unions and the American Nurses Association (ANA) have been instrumental in developing and obtaining legislation to address the national nurse staffing crisis. The legislation is based on "ANA's Principles of Nurse Staffing" and was developed into the RN Safe Staffing Act of 2003, S.991.
The RN Safe Staffing Act of 2003 was successfully introduced into the Senate on May 5 by Sen. Daniel Inouye (D-HI).
National Safe Staffing laws are now within our reach. All nurses are asked to contact their Senators during National Nurses Week to urge them to co-sponsor this important legislation - The RN Safe Staffing Act of 2003 - S.991.
to email Congress: http://www.congress.org/congressorg/home/
to call Congress: 1-202-224-3121