Monday, November 22, 2010

I'll Strike for My Patients and My Profession

We hoped that it wouldn't come to this. We sat at the bargaining table in good faith that we could come to a meeting of the minds. I'm sorry to say that it has turned nasty. The media has again listened only to what they can hear from management. In managements eyes we are "greedy and nasty". The truth is we are greedy. We are taking a stand for our patients. We refuse to back down in the drive to provide excellent care and put our patients first.
Eastern Maine Medical Center is located in Bangor, Maine. It is a 411 bed facility which serves the mid to upper state of Maine. We have received many awards for patient care and satisfaction. To me these are the only awards that I hold dear. The only ones that mean something to me. I know what care is given within this hospital. Our nurses are top notch.
I don't care if we get awards for being the "most wired hospital", nor do I really care if we are the honey's of the "Joint Commission". I mostly say "okay, cool" when we get these awards and go on with my day. Inside these walls are some of the most caring nurses I have ever worked with. Nurses all over this country work hard. Nursing is more than a career. It is who we are. If you know a nurse you know what I mean. If you are a child of a nurse you have a completely different perception of what a nurse is. Nurses are the backbone of the hospital. We assess, treat, provide comfort and care, perform skills independently. No longer are we the doctors handmaidens of the past. We work side by side with our physicians, together as a team.
So why are we striking? Our contract is up. We came to the bargaining table with complete faith that we could make changes that would keep our patients safe. Please notice that I say "our" and not the. We take ownership of our care and our patients. Our nurses are overworked. The nurse to patient ratio on the floors has become dangerous. In ICU we have ratios that are safe. 1 nurse to every 1-2 patients. This is a workable ratio for us. On the floors there can and often is 1 nurse to 5-7 patients. The nurses can't answer call bells, assess patients, give meds, pass trays, call Dr's, update families, check on labs, call results, treat for pain, and be there to support our patients. We are transferring sicker patients out of the ICU sooner. These patients would go to step down units in many other hospitals. Over worker and stressed nurses have more med errors, more call in's due to illness, and burnout. We are striking for Safe Patient Staffing Levels.
We stand untied. We stand in the rain. We are cold and wet but with smiling faces.
We stand together. We stand strong. We stand in a line all the way down the street.
Ted stands with us. We have support from family and friends. We have support from patients that know what we are fighting for.
I'm so proud of my sisters and brothers.
We have support from the community. The honks made us louder. The more honks the more nurses cheering.
To the haters out there. To the ones who have listened to the media not the facts. No we aren't after money. No raise is even mentioned in the contract. We want this message to be clear. We are for our patients. We want to provide safe care. We are standing in the rain for you. To management, come to the table in good faith. You hired scab nurses many months ago in preparation of breaking our spirit and our Union. Be fair, we will work with you. None of us wanted to be here now. We want to have a good relationship with you. Now to the scab nurses that came from out of state. You know who you are. My thoughts are with you as you travel back to your family for the holiday. Stay safe. Think about what you did and may you have the support of nurses in your community when you need it. I know this post has nothing to do with farming, animals or homesteading. It just has to be said. Love a nurse.
Much Love and Prayers from Mainely Ewes Farm.


Lisa T. said...

Stay strong Kelly. All my best wishes for a quick and peaceful resolution.


From Beyond My Kitchen Window said...

Well said. Good luck!!

Peggy said...


taylorgirl6 said...

My union just signed a tentative agreement for a new contract. We were exceptionally fortunate that our union and management decided to play nice during negotiations. It hasn't gone so well for many of the other transit unions across the country. So I feel the pain of your struggle.

Keep your chin up, stay dry and warm, and share your message with all who will listen. (By the way, you have a great skill with words, with writing in general, and it is so refreshing to read organized, properley spelled, and correct grammar writing! Any message comes through with more intensity when it is delivered with eloquence.)

Jj Starwalker said...

Well said! I am the daughter of a nurse and the niece of a doctor. It cheers me to read that both professions work as a team; nurses no longer have to deal with the subservient role that my mom did (she trained in the 1920s). That is one change that I hope she can see if she looks in on today.

Count us among your supporters. I guess I didn't read or hear as much from the media as I might have, but the impression I got WAS that it was about patient care and staffing levels.

Blessings on you all.

Kathleen From Eggs In My Pocket said...

Proud for what you are standing for! God be with you and I hope all works out well! blessings,Kathleen

Jennifer said...

It is sad that so many hospitals and medical facilities just seem to worry about profits. (Talking about the big guys not the staff)I used to work in a nursing home as a CNA and the staff to patient ratio was ridiculous and this is the way they scheduled it. It wasn't because of call-ins, etc. They would get on the phone real quick when a state inspector was there trying to get more CNAs to come in on those days.

I also worked for a company that provided in home care for people with developmental disabilities. It was always about more profits. At one point they even had ONE night shift person driving between TWO houses. (These people lived in their own homes not in a facility) just to save money on staffing! They always wanted to cut costs on patient care before they cut perks to the administrators. I think what you are asking for is very noble and I admire your resolve and work ethics! Hope you are able to get better staffing for your patients!

doglady said...

My Grandson was in EMMC's NICU from about 5 hours after he was born for 4 weeks. The care he received was the best and his nurses were a huge part of that care. I'm on the side of the nurses at EMMC. They work for every penny they get.

J said...

there in spirit!