January 14, 2009, 12:52 pm

What Have You Done for Me Lately?

I know I usually try and put something funny at the top of my posts, but I was taken by this photograph.

Images like this are what re-enforced my decision to be a nurse long after Cherry Ames had lit the fire.

This is what I wanted to be.


The photo was taken in 1955, in Detroit, by a Mr. John Dominis for Life Magazine and is from a photo essay of the Polish community in that city.

If it’s an iconic photo, this man probably photographed it.


Well, I’ve lost 15 pounds in 11 weeks and managed to do it over the holidays

Yep! Over the holidays!

And it’s all due to Richard Simmon’s Food Mover Program.

You move the little covers over the food exchanges as you eat and you move your butt and off the weight comes. No magic. Less in, more out, less of me.

But he really makes it fun!

God Bless him and his sequined shorts!


The nursing profession is fragmented.

The are a million nursing organizations that all claim to speak for the American nurse.

But do they really?

Let me give you the images that come to mind when I think of three specific organizations.

Only one of them is worth my time and effort.

Keep in mind that my ignorance will be wide open for all to see – this is just my gut response.

I will opine on the California Nurses Association, the American Nurses Association and the Emergency Nurses Association in that order.

No mysteries here. ENA gives the most bang for the buck. We’ll look at why that is, and why the others do not.


Let’s start with the California Nurses Association. Or more specifically, the CNA/NNOC.

Somewhere along the line my state nursing professional organization turned into a national nurses organizing committee engaging in an ongoing, pardon my expression, pissing-match with the SEIU.

Every year I give over one-thousand dollars to the CNA/NNOC. I have no choice.

The good:

  • High salaries and good benefits
  • Legislation that has improved working conditions, nurse-patient ratios for example. Not that we have any semblance of that in my ER. Sorry, administrators-of-my-hospital, but we don’t. Glad to give you examples if you want ’em.
  • They are partnered with the Physicians for a National Health Plan, a single-payor plan I actually can get behind.
  • Backup to fight for ourselves and our patients. I don’t know why contract negotiations have to be so adversarial, but hospitals negotiate to the bottom line only. (Nice try, Sutter!) IMO, they put more into glossy ads than they do into nursing! You want stats to back that up? Ooops, just my opinion. Sorry.

The bad:

  • They support legislation I do not agree with. One example: they opposed parental notification of pregnancy/abortion for girls under 14. I opened my voter’s guide to see Rose Ann DeMoro’s name at the bottom of the opposition argument. Excuse me?
  • They fought like hell to stop the proposition that would have required unions to get members’ permission before spending their money on political measures. When I called to try and get my dues lowered so angry was I that I had to pay for this, I was told that my particular dues would be added to the “general fund” and used for salaries and overhead and not political purposes. This was good. Except I have no proof that this is what is happening.
  • They gave money to political candidates that I did not, and would not have, supported, including commercials I did not appreciate. I helped pay for those.
  • There is no way I can cease to be a member because membership is mandated at my place of employment.
  • There is no way I can be an “employment only” member, paying only for the cost of what it takes to represent me. I have to be a full member, paying full dues.

So, essentially, CNA/NNOC has me by the proverbial cohones by fighting for decent work environments, while giving me no voice or any chance to oppose their political activities.

The ugly:

  • For months, my daily mail delivery was an ongoing “battle of the junk mail” from CNA and SEIU bashing each other. How much did they pay for those glossy, fancy brochures?
  • I am really tired of seeing angry nurses on my CNA literature, or hearing about them breaking laws and police barriers to get a message to the governor (for example).

This is NOT the 1960s, folks. And we are professionals. We do not break laws.

You want to protest? Berkeley always has something going down.

A picket line? Fine. We need backup to fight for our patients.

A protest? Get Bob Dylan to write you an anthem.

Oh wait, he already did:

“You don’t need a weatherman to know which way the wind blows.”

And I don’t like the direction it’s blowing.

Too bad I have no power within my “professional organization” to “protest” when I disagree with them.


  • Nurse K

    January 14, 2009 at 5:58 pm

    God, I hate it when I see the “union voter’s guide” with 100% Democrats every single year (why even bother?) and the newsletters telling me it’s “unethical” to not vote for such-and-such tax increase to pay for more free care for such-and-such people…

    Nurses span the political/moral spectrum, but union people “speaking” for “us” are all far left. Obvious conflict-of-interest when there are millions of dollars involved.

  • Brant P

    January 14, 2009 at 8:08 pm

    And that right there is why I loathe unions. I wouldn’t like it if grocery stores conspired to tell me how much I have to pay for a loaf of bread, and I don’t like it when a bunch of wacky left wing moonbats help themselves to 1.5% of my salary to spread their idiocy.

    I’m required to pay for someone else’s political speech, and what do I get out of it? Lower pay and having to listen to the union rep folks masturbate themselves during meetings.

  • Katie B.

    January 15, 2009 at 6:17 am

    What’s your ANA good/bad/ugly?

  • JeanT

    January 15, 2009 at 9:09 am

    I come from a state where unions are “illegal” and are grounds for dismissal if you are a part of one. Do you think nursing would be better w/o them?

  • Brant P

    January 15, 2009 at 10:27 am

    God yes, I’d love to be union free at my job. I’d have the ability to negotiate salary, choose who I donate money to and feel much better about myself on a day to day basis!

    Also, there’s no state in the US where unions are illegal, and–unfortunately–it is illegal to dismiss someone for union membership or support under federal law (the NLRA)

  • PaedsRN

    January 15, 2009 at 11:59 am

    That’s such a striking picture. And when you think, he probably took it with a little box brownie camera… none of this high-tech digital stuff!

  • Wound/Ostomy Nurse

    January 18, 2009 at 10:39 am

    And whatever you do, do NOT get behind in your dues! I took a position in which there was a misunderstanding (on my part) whether or not it was a union position. Turned out it was and I was behind in my extorti…oops…dues. I’ve been paying them $200 a month for a year and I still get letters threatening to have me terminated if I don’t pay in FULL with my CREDIT CARD. This is CNA folks.
    I too do not appreciate the glossy JUNK mail that I get with angry, intimidating nurses on the cover. GIVE ME A BREAK!!!!!!!!!!
    I may be a card-carrying democrat but do not tell me how to vote.
    OK, now I am truly angry all over again. My hospital just layed-off several nurses. They eliminated positions and made managers “working managers”. WHERE WAS CNA? Probably stirring up trouble somewhere in the midwest?

About Me

My name is Kim, and I'm a nurse in the San Francisco Bay area. I've been a nurse for 33 years; I graduated in 1978 with my ADN. My experience is predominately Emergency and Critical Care, and I have also worked in Psychiatry and Pediatrics. I made the decision to be a nurse back in 1966 at the age of nine...

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