RNs - California

LA Nurses Take Direct Action on the Hospital Floor To Protect Patients, Themselves

William Johnson, Labor Notes, November 2004

In case you hadn’t heard, there’s a health care crisis in the United States. Two symptoms of this crisis are understaffed medical centers and health care workers who are overworked and underpaid.

To treat these symptoms, health care workers’ unions have been pushing for better nurse-to-patient ratios as a way to improve both working conditions and patient care. In California, a union-initiated law implemented January 1, 2004 (AB 394) regulates staffing ratios, but according to registered nurse Joel Solis, Los Angeles County hospitals are not meeting AB 394’s requirements.

Nurses push governor to sign 'lift team bill'

Sabin Russell, San Francisco Chronicle, September 3, 2004

Mario Gutierrez and Jay Pimentel are two beefy University of California health care workers who spend 12 hours a day lifting heavy patients in and out of bed.

On Thursday, they circled the entrance of UCSF Medical Center with 20 union nurses who carried lightweight cardboard picket signs asking Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger to sign a bill that would, in effect, require all hospitals to hire more people like Gutierrez and Pimentel.

If the governor signed the bill, it would be the first law in the nation to forbid manual lifting of patients.

California Nurses Assn. Welcomes New Study Documenting Dangers of Forced Overtime for Nurses

California Nurses Association, July 7, 2004

The California Nurses Association today welcomed a new national study showing an increase in preventable medical errors when registered nurses are required to work excessive hours.

RNs working 12.5 hours and more are three times more likely to commit an error than nurses who work less than 8.5 hours, and the risk to patients grows exponentially when RNs are forced to work shifts of 16 hours, 20 hours, or 24 hours which occurs in a number of hospitals.

"This study verifies what CNA and RNs have known for some time - forced overtime is very dangerous for patients, and also puts RNs at greater risk of injury or accident," said CNA Executive Director Rose Ann DeMoro.

Staffing Ratio Helps Patients in Long Run

DeAnn McEwen, RN, Los Angeles Times, June 13, 2004

Finally, a judge who upholds a law that protects the public ("Hospital Staffing Law Is Upheld," May 27). Childbirth, trauma, pain, strokes and heart attacks don't stop at night or if a nurse takes a break. Patients know this, families know this, nurses know this. The healthcare industry should stop trying to punch loopholes in consumer safety legislation.

No cure-all

California's nurse staffing law hasn't been quite the boon the health care worker companies had expected
Leslie Berestein, San Diego Union-Tribune, May 30, 2004

When California enacted mandatory nurse-to-patient ratios for hospitals in January, the companies that provide temporary nursing staff to hospitals were hoping the new law would give their industry a much-needed shot in the arm.

The health care staffing industry had suffered more than a year of slow demand, as hospitals tried to keep costs down in a weak economy by relying on existing staff. Some in the industry hoped that the ratio law, and similar ones under consideration in other states, would give hospitals no choice but to lean on staffing firms to fill nurse vacancies in a hurry.

California Assembly Passes Bill to Limit Hospital Closures

Law Would Require More Notice, Aid Efforts to Keep Hospitals Open
Assembly also Passes Bill to Reduce Hospital Workplace Injuries
California Nurses Association, May 28, 2004

The Assembly late Thursday approved legislation that would help mitigate hospital closures in California, requiring more advanced public notice and providing assistance to elected officials who work to maintain emergency and acute care services.

AB 2874, authored by Assembly member Manny Diaz (D-San Jose) and sponsored by the California Nurses Association, was passed 44-34 despite an intensive lobbying campaign by California's multi-billion hospital industry. The bill next heads to the State Senate.

Pomona nurses vote on labor agreement

Monica Rodriguez, Pasadena Star-News, May 27, 2004

Nurses at Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center voted Thursday on a tentative agreement, which, if passed, would end nearly a year of negotiations, a union representatives said.

The polls were open all day and were expected to remain open late into the night, said Maura Kealey, policy director with the Service Employees International Union.

Results of the vote were not available at press time.

Representatives for the nurses and the hospital have been taking part in negotiations for more than 10 months.

Last week nurses voted in favor of authorizing the members of their bargain committee to submit a 10-day strike notice to the hospital if committee members deemed it necessary.

Judge upholds nurse rules

Hospitals must continue to maintain staffing ratios at all times
Bob Egelko, San Francisco Chronicle, May 27, 2004

A judge has rejected a hospital industry challenge to new California nurse staffing rules that require hospitals to provide a nurse to fill in whenever another nurse takes a break from patient care.

The requirement was imposed by state health officials as part of state- mandated nurse-to-patient ratios, the first in the nation, which took effect Jan. 1. Hospitals must provide 1 nurse for every 6 patients in general wards, and a 1-to-5 ratio next January.

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