BOSTON, Mass – Front-line nurses with the Visiting Nurses Association of Boston (VNAB) plan to protest contract changes proposed by VNAB that nurses believe would negatively impact patient care. The nurses, represented by the Massachusetts Nurses Association (MNA), will leaflet the public and guests of an annual fundraiser on Saturday, Nov. 12.
What: 11th Annual Heroes in Health Care Gala, hosted by the Visiting Nurses Association of Boston,
also marking 130 years of the VNAB serving Boston-area residents
When: Saturday, Nov. 12 at 6 p.m. (nurse leafletting to happen between 5:15 p.m. and 6 p.m.)
Where: Mandarin Oriental, 776 Boylston St., Boston MA.
During ongoing contract negotiations, the VNAB has proposed severe restrictions on how visiting nurses are able to manage patient care. These changes would result in patients having significantly less time with nurses and jeopardize safe patient care. Nurses have responded with contract language that would ensure nurses can provide a safe level of care, but the VNAB has refused to budge from its harmful proposal.
“Nurses are, in many cases, already struggling to find adequate time to care for our existing patients because of our unrealistic caseloads, and now the association wants to make it even more difficult to provide safe and effective patient care,” said Fran Kenney, Chair of the MNA VNAB
Bargaining Committee. “By severely cutting down on how long nurses are given for tasks like admissions and re-visits, the association would jeopardize the care of vulnerable patients that visiting nurses serve throughout the Greater Boston area.”
The VNAB also wants to slash nurses’ retirement benefits, cutting a nine percent pension contribution to three percent. This would cost most nurses between $3,000 and $7,000 every year for the rest of their careers at VNAB.
“Management’s proposals are unsustainable for patients and nurses,” Kenney said. “Our 130-year tradition of excellence in patient care is under attack and nurses will not stand for it.”
Established in 1886, VNA of Boston is the oldest organized VNA in the country. The MNA nurses of VNAB have been negotiating a new contract since December 2015. There have been 16 negotiating sessions, including the last five with a federal mediator.
The MNA represents 65 registered nurses at the VNAB. These nurses serve thousands of patients in the Boston area and in all city neighborhoods. VNAB MNA nurses provide all types of complex nursing care to all types of patients. Their patients suffer from a wide range of medical conditions and are often recovering from serious surgical procedures.
VNAB MNA nurses administer chemotherapy and other complex medications for those suffering from cancer, tuberculosis, HIV/AIDs and other conditions. Nurses provide wound care for patients who have undergone surgery and teach patients with chronic conditions how to manage their illness.
“Having enough time with our patients is the most crucial part of our nursing care,” Kenney said. “Nurses need adequate time to both provide treatment and teach patients and their families how to manage their conditions.”