For almost a year, the VCHCA bargaining team and many of our members have worked hard to be heard by the VC Board of Supervisors, Nursing Management and the Human Resources Department that rule over our nursing practice.
Our main issues are:
- Patient Safety – lack of computers, medical equipment and legally mandated nurse to patient ratios.
- The Cerner System- a complex electronic charting system that lacks proper funding for nursing education, support and bedside help to do patient care and chart in a manner that protects nurses’ licenses from lawsuits due to understaffed patient care.
- Patient Lift Teams – the current “lift team” exists only on paper and fails our nurses and patients because it has not been funded by administration to provide adequate staffing for a designated life team. There is a lack of education on how to use existing lift equipment. Close to a dozen nurses and assisted personnel are currently out from back injuries. Will you be next to suffer a long term disability?
- Wage Disparity: VCHCA and PH nurses are currently 12 – 23% below area nurses’ salaries, and for this we’ve been offered 1%! With the Affordable Care Act, now being implemented, County is shooting itself in the foot for lack of ability to recruit seasoned nurses to serve our hospital and community needs.
- Human Resources: For years Nursing has complained that it takes 3 months to hire new personnel. Yes. THREE WHOLE MONTHS! Anywhere else a new hire is part of the workforce in a week but, in this age of computer technology, it takes county HR 3 months to get us the help needed yesterday.
- Retirement abuse- Nurses are being told to reduce their retirement savings while
Ventura County Tier 1 employees and Administrators continue to spike their wages and reap six figure salaries with cost of living increases. I don’t know of any nurses getting a fraction of that. Do you?
During Bargaining, On Oct. 17, 2013, we were asked: What do you nurses want? Choose raises, better staffing, supplies or computer equipment:
But you can’t expect us to fix everything!!!
REALLY??? IS THIS A REASONABLE SOLUTION
Were we given a choice to switch to Cerner? Were we given a choice to miss lunch breaks due to lack of staffing? Were we given a choice to beg and borrow for the necessary equipment to keep our patients safe? Were we given a choice when the fire department had to be called when a 400 plus pound patient needed help getting up from the floor during a hospital visit?
Maybe, while the county recruits more and more people to take the private VCMC Health Insurance Plan and the Affordable Care Act Plan, the public needs to be told just how poorly the nurses and patients are being treated with their taxpaying dollars.
Power is never given up freely, we must be assertive. Unless we push back, and tell them we won’t take “NO” for an answer, the county will continue to rein disrespect over us and our patients.
Nurses are respected by the public because we don’t back down from the moral and legal obligations to provide safe, dignified health care.
WHAT DO NURSES WANT?
A fair contract that compensates for the lost wages due to administrative retirement abuses, fair wages that compete with local salaries, Enough supplies and equipment to properly care for and document on patient care, a proven lift team and the staffing that is compliant with California’s patient ratio law.
WHEN DO WE WANT IT : NOW!!!!
Next Negotiations meeting : Oct. 29, 2013
Next Professional Practice Committee: Nov. 4, 2013 @ 09:00 at Mimi’s. All CNA members are invited.
- Want to reduce readmissions? Hire more nurses, study says (medcitynews.com)
- Five Sure-Fire Ways Nurses Can Avoid Mid-Career Meltdowns (thenursesnurse.wordpress.com)
- Des Peres nurses ratify collective bargaining deal (stltoday.com)