Okay, what is up with this thing called Facebook!
I knew it existed, but all of a sudden everyone who is anyone is over there!
I’ve been Super-Poked, high-fived, cheered, had a spell cast on me, been invited to become a vampire, received a bouquet of tulips and have an invite for a mocha! I’ve never had a better social life, and I don’t have to leave my house or get out of my sweats!
This morning my daughter informed me that I could throw a cow at someone if I wanted to! Uh…okay….just let me know if any of you want a cow and I’ll send one over!
(Yes, that is a Moody Blues lyric up there. Another case of a lyric stimulating a post…)
There is going to be a strike here in Northern California in a few days.
Nurses who work for Sutter Health facilities will be walking out in protest. Protesting a lack of concern over patient care and safety/staffing issues. Protesting the attempt to decrease health care benefits and undercut retirement security for RNs.
There are rumors some hospitals will lock the nurses out for a longer period if they strike.
We’ve been recipients of Sutter Health care in the last year or two. Pardon my lack of subtlety, but Sutter Health can go to hell.
And no, I don’t work for them.
I did, once. They moved into the San Francisco Bay Area and took over facility after facility. They promised that together, the associated hospitals would be stronger, better and enable nurses to give appropriate care to their patients.
They promised that they would not cut patient services. They did a publicity campaign that makes Hillary Clinton look like she is selling Girl Scout cookies on a corner in comparison. We (the community) actually voted for them to become involved in the local community hospital.
And the benefits! Nurses could move in-between Sutter facilities without losing pay. The salaries were good. The benefits were good. Of course, they were good before Sutter took over and they stayed that way. For awhile.
But now, in a time when we have an unprecedented shortage of nurses, Sutter Health decides that nurses aren’t worth much. They staff their facilities so the nurses can’t give the standard of care required, and then make it personal by cutting their benefits. Never mind that those 25 – 30 year nurses are the backbone of the nursing organization and there is no one to take their place. Just pull their retirement benefits out from under them.
Oh yeah, they’ll tell you money is tight and reimbursements are down and blah, blah, blah.
That doesn’t stop the virtual non-stop commercials that Sutter is running with nurses talking about what wonderful care they are able to give through Sutter. How much money goes into that promotion?
That doesn’t stop the glossy magazines/advertisements and newsletters that arrive at my home on a regular basis. Who pays for those?
What will it take for these corporate hospital executives to understand that their facilities exist to provide nursing care and to do that they need nurses!
Why wouldn’t a corporation want to be known as the place to work where nurses are concerned?
Why do nurses have to fight so hard to get adequate staffing? And not what some idiotic staffing software says is adequate, but what the nurses believe is required for the care of the patients on a particular shift/unit? Why do we have to fight so hard to keep our benefits and a decent chance at retirement?
Back in the early ’70s, the nurses before us fought tooth and nail to gain the benefits and the salaries that we now enjoy in California. Right here in the Bay Area. There were strikes back then, too. The future of nursing was on the line and those nurses fought hard and made sacrifices so we can have the work environment we have today
Why are these same questions being asked almost forty years later?
The future of nursing is on the line now.
I’ve never even had to take a strike vote in my entire career. Never walked a picket line in my life. My forebears in the profession did. Some of them are still working at the bedside. I have the career I have today because they were willing to take a stand.
Are we willing to take a stand today to protect nursing’s tomorrow? We are at a crossroads, a crisis-point in health care and in nursing.
Our older nursing colleagues had our backs and our patients were the beneficiaries. Our arms are around the future of our profession. Do we embrace it? Do we fight for the respect and renumeration our profession deserves? Do we understand the power this profession has? Do we “have the backs” of our patients and our future colleagues?
Maybe you don’t work for Sutter and don’t think this applies to you. Maybe you work for Tenet, or Kaiser or Catholic Healthcare West.
Eventually, when our contracts expire, this applies to us all.
The nurses of Northern California Sutter facilities are going to send a message next week. They are fighting, and sacrificing for us and for the patients we serve.
The rest of us will be watching.
Let’s hope the other health care corporations in the country are listening.