The Cranberry Scoop
The Chair’s Message
Stephanie Stevens, RN
It hardly seems possible that we have gone through another year without our government, both state and national, recognizing the value of safe staffing (nurse-to-patient ratios) to the people we all serve. Have we become so corrupt a nation that we allow the devaluation of human life and turn a blind eye to the suffering of the people?
As nurses, we see this suffering every day. It is in the senior citizens who must make choices between the medicine that will save them or the food that will sustain them. Some choose to feed their pets before themselves. They are kind and loving people who, at the end of a life of hard work, are forced to make these choices. We see the young families who are working in low wage jobs and are forced to pay the fine for not having health insurance (being criminalized by the system) vs. gas in the tank and food on the table. And, we see people who have neglected their health because they can’t afford to take
time off from work to get the problem fixed… until for some, it is too late.
The government asked us to show them studies. We did. They said the “California Model” (nurse to patient ratios) was not proven to make a difference. Now we have the Linda Aikens Study * which proves it makes a very big difference. Excerpts of this important evaluation of the 2004 CA nurse staffing legislation are printed below and in more detail on page seven.
It is time for us to take action against a government that does not support its people. There are many campaigns for office going on right now. Get involved. Find out who supports us and who doesn’t. Governor Patrick supports us…at a town meeting in the Berkshires the Governor told Ronald Patenaude, head of the local chapter of the United Auto Workers, that he agreed that there should be a "reasonable" ratio of nurses to patients in hospitals, just as there is a mandated ratio of teachers to students in schools. "We need to find a way to (do that)," he said.
Contact the MNA Political Action Committee (PAC) via Maryanne McHugh, Associate Director of Legislation and Government Affairs at MNA at 781.830.5713 if you have questions or simply ask the candidate where he/she stands on the issue.
We are all busy and tired but apathy is the key ingredient in the recipe for social injustice. We must stand united and fight this corruption.
Stephanie Stevens RN, CNOR
Region Three Chairperson
* “The researchers compared deaths from common surgeries in California from 2005 to 2006, following enactment of the legislation, to surgical deaths in two states without legally mandated patient-to-nurse ratios during that same period, finding that there would have been 13.9 percent fewer surgical deaths in New Jersey and 10.6 percent fewer surgical deaths in Pennsylvania in 2006 if hospitals in these states had been staffed at the same levels set in California hospitals.”
Region 3 Council Meeting Schedule 2010
(Meetings are held on the third Tuesday of the month - no meetings July and August)
May 18, 2010
June 15, 2010
September 21, 2010
October 19, 2010
November 16, 2010
December 21, 2010
Start time is 6 p.m. at the Region 3 office. Members are
welcome to attend— please notify the Region 3 office.
The 5th Annual Deb Walsh Memorial OB/GYN Lecture Series
Deb was a long time Falmouth Hospital OB/GYN staff member, a staunch supporter of the MNA professional organization and a bargaining unit officer. Regional Council 3 sponsors this annual lecture series in tribute to Deb’s memory.
For those of you who attended last year’s program, this year promises to be just as rewarding. Please join us !
Thursday, June 3, 2010 at
The Canal Club in Bourne, MA
Obstetric and Newborn Challenges
This program will begin with maternal drug use and the impact on the neonate followed by the issues of mental illness in pregnancy and interpretation of laboratory/clinical assessment date. The program
will conclude with a discussion of the breast feeding challenges associated with late, preterm and compromised infants.
8:00 – 8:30am Registration & Continental Breakfast
8:30 – 10:00am Maternal Drug use and Its Impact on the Neonate; Presenters: Eileen Dykeman, LCMHC, CCJP and M.A. Murray, NNP
10:00 – 10:15am Break
10:15—11:45am Mental Illness in Pregnancy; Presenter: Dr. Pearlstein
11:45– 12:30pm LUNCH
12:30 – 2:00pm Labs and Other Clinical Assessment Tools for the OB/Laboring Patient; Presenter: Claire Allen, RN
2:00—3:30pm Breastfeeding the Late, Preterm and Compromised Infants; Presenter: Cindi Zembo, RN, BSN, IBCLC
Contact hours provided
SAVE THE DATES, etc…..
June 3 5th Annual Deb Walsh Memorial OB/GYN Lecture Series in Bourne
June 10 Safe Patient Handling Conference in Randolph
June 23 Impact of For-Profit Medicine on Patient Care & Nursing Practice in Bourne
July 19 Rosemary Smith, RN Memorial Golf Tournament in Lakeville
Sept 14 Primary Election—VOTE!
Sept 25 School Nurse Summit
October 5 CE—Current Trends in Breast Cancer Management in Bourne
Oct 13—15 MNA Convention in Worcester
Nov 2 General Election—VOTE!
Nov 18 CE—De-escalation Techniques: Protecting Nurses and Patients in Bourne
Dec 7 CE—Interventional Cardiology: Update on the
2009 – 10 Regional Council 3 Members & Staff
Chair - Stephanie Stevens: Sandwich, Jordan Hospital
Chair, MNA Board of Directors
*Vice-Chair - Peggy Kilroy: Centerville, Cape Cod Hospital
Treasurer - Rick Lambos: Edgartown, Martha’s Vineyard Hospital Chair
Secretary - *Rosemary O’Brien: Harwich, MNA Board of Directors
Louise Bombardieri: Pembroke, Brockton VNA Co-Chair
*Trudy Bull: East Falmouth, Falmouth Hospital
Deb Caruso: Brewster, Cape Cod VNA Chair
Janet DeMoranville: Lakeville, Morton Hospital Chair Designee
Ellen Farley: Middleboro, Unit 7 Chair Designee,
MNA Board of Directors
Jean Lessard: Brockton, Brockton VNA Co-Chair
*Kathy Metzger: Taunton, Brockton Hospital Chair, MNA Board of Directors
Joanne Murphy: West Wareham, Jordan Hospital Chair Designee
Nicky Powderly: Forestdale, Falmouth Hospital Chair
Shannon Sherman: Yarmouth Port, Cape Cod
Barbara ‘Cookie’ Cooke: Community Organizer
Pat Conway: Office Manager
We’d love to hear from you!
The Cranberry Scoop is published four times per year by Regional Council 3. It is a publication made available to MNA Region 3 members as a means of communicating information and topics of interest relative to our region and we invite members to submit writings to the newsletter, especially through the editorial voice.
We reserve the right to edit all submissions for brevity, content and clarity. Include a daytime and evening telephone number.
Email to firstname.lastname@example.org or please sign your submission and mail to:
MNA Region 3
P O Box 1363
Sandwich, MA 02563
Around The Region
What’s the Scoop?
Signature Healthcare Brockton Hospital— I am thrilled to report that the hospital is honoring the workplace violence language we worked so hard to obtain. They are working diligently to secure the workplace to make it safer for staff and our patients. They have supported nurses who have been victimized by filing charges, offering counseling and accompanying them to their court appearances. It is a new day at Brockton. There is a line of communication we have not experienced for many years. We have monthly labor management meetings in which we discuss concerns members bring to me. This has helped in lowering the number of grievances and, as I stated earlier, has opened up communication between management and labor. For this bargaining unit this is a huge step forward. I would also like to strongly urge members to attend the CEU program on "The Impact of For-Profit Medicine on Patient Care and Nursing Practice, Speaker Jane Morrison. I went to her lecture while in California and it is
definitely an eye opener. I urge everyone to make every effort to get to her lecture. In our Region she will speak in Bourne on June 23 and in Canton she will be speaking on June 21. We have already seen this starting to happen in Massachusetts with the sale of the Caritas Hospital. You will find her lecture very interesting and eye opening—I guarantee it.
Kathy Metzger, Chair
Martha's Vineyard Hospital—The annual meeting will be held on Wednesday June 2, 2010 in the Medical Staff Library at 4 p.m.. We will be electing the Nurses' Committee and discussing other issues of concern. If you had February, March, April, or May in the new hospital opening pool, you did not win. It now appears we will be moving into the new building sometime in June (hopefully this June). Discussions are ongoing with management regarding facility security. Hope to be able to update you all at the annual meeting.
Rick Lambos, Chair
Falmouth Hospital— Elections are completed. We now have two Co-Chairs instead of one chair and a new Vice- Chair, Judy Apone. The new By-laws passed unanimously. We are starting to gear up for negotiations which usually begin in the summer.
Nicky Powderly, Co-Chair
Cape Cod Hospital— We had a great meeting at the region office on May 5. The Psych center nurses are drafting a letter with the help of David Schildmeier, MNA Public Communications Director, to the Board of Trustees. Management has repeatedly met with the nurses in that department along with the Executive Board over the last 5 months regarding concerns of inadequate staffing and unsafe patient conditions. Management has hired a consultant group to evaluate the entire psych center services at Cape Cod Healthcare.
Management has also stated "this is a staffing crisis" but refuses to take the steps necessary to stop the constant mandates and unsafe staffing numbers. Patients have filed complaints with the Department of Mental Health. We will be filing a complaint with OSHA as well. These nurses require all the support we can give them and we have invested a lot of our time in helping them to achieve safe working conditions thus far and are committed to continuing to do so. The nurses have reached their breaking point and are mentally and physically exhausted as well as seriously concerned about risks to their nursing licenses.
On a brighter note, we have started to open our monthly floor representative meetings to the entire bargaining unit in an effort to increase involvement. We have been happy to see an increase in our ttendance at these meetings as well as an increase in feedback and updates in departments throughout the hospital. I personally look forward to making more connections and reaching out the those who may not know what the union does or what we stand for in the hospital.
Shannon Sherman, Chair
VNA of Cape Cod— We extend our thanks to Judy Rose, who has recently resigned as vice chair. Judy has given many years of service in her different officer roles and we appreciate all the time and effort she has given to our local bargaining unit and the MNA Board. Welcome to Jane Perkins, who has been appointed as interim vice chair. We look forward to her new and enthusiastic ideas.
Congrats to Janet Swanson and Jane Perkins who have finished another labor school track.
Our committee is busy trying to map our bargaining unit, so anticipate your site rep asking you to verify the accuracy of the information we have in our database.
Hiring is ongoing especially in our hospice and palliative care department that has been growing in leaps and bounds. We are gearing up for a busy summer. There are vacancies and it is a struggle to get around all the road repair/ blockages that seem to be cropping up around many corners. The Nurse Committee is tackling OT, Medicare - new reform bill changes that will be affecting our reimbursements,
new documentation policies, and sicker patients at home. A new internal case manager program has been implemented to assist with meeting some of our patient care needs and staffing issues.
The storm emergency grievance/policy continues to be discussed as we seek more consistent language to define a storm emergency.
The next Nurse Committee meeting is May 26 followed by an open bargaining unit meeting in Dennis at 5 p.m. where we will be honored by a visit from our MNA President, Donna Kelly -Willliams.
Deb Caruso, Chair
Jordan Hospital — The hospital has begun a verification process to be certain that no ineligible dependents are being carried on nurses’ health insurance. We have verified that they do have a right to do this. Every nurse who carries insurance through the hospital must provide proof of his/her dependents. The hospital has set up meetings with an outside group (Thorbahn) to discuss this process. Every nurse should have received an e-mail giving the dates and times Thorbahn is available. If you have questions about dates/times, please check with HR at the hospital or, you may to contact Thorban directly at
the number stated on the letter. You should leave a message if you receive the voice mail. The Representative WILL get right back to you.
Be advised that (1) you will only be required to submit this information once and (2) this documentation is only provided to Thorbahn, not to the hospital. At labor-management CNO, Donna Doherty, confirmedthat security will be monitoring the parking lot in cars at change of shift (roughly 10:30 p.m.-12 midnight). If you are leaving the hospital outside of those times, please call the switchboard and they will relay a message to the security car or you may ask for an escort. Let us know how well this system works. Any suggestions for improvements are welcome. Election results will be announced shortly. There were no contested seats, so a full election will not be held.
Joanne Murphy, Chair
Morton Hospital—On May 4, RN’s and Health Professionals ratified a three-year contract which includes strong language to limit mandatory overtime, protection of the defined benefit pension plan, a salary increase to allow Morton’s professional staff to keep pace with other hospitals and pay parity for Morton’s home care nurses.
Negotiations, which began in October 2009, stretched over six months. A total of 22 sessions were held, with the last eight sessions held with a federal mediator. In late April, a tentative agreement was reached, averting a strike vote. See the highlights of the agreement, which will run from January 1, 2010 to December 31, 2012 on the MNA w e b s i t e . www.massnurses.org
Janet DeMoranville, Chair Designee
Application Deadline: June 1, 2010
The Massachusetts Nurses Foundation is a non-profit organization, established in 1981, whose mission is to support scholarship& research in nursing and healthcare professions. The primary goal of the MNF is to advance the profession of nursing and healthcare by supporting the education of nurses. The MNF raises funds and dispenses scholarships & grants to qualified recipients who have applied for assistance to further their careers or study clinical issues that are essential to the improvement of health care. The MNF awards numerous scholarships each year to MNA members. Some scholarships are even available to members’ children and spouses/partners. Please review eligibility requirements and criteria for each scholarship that you apply for. www.massnurses.org
Landmark Study Bolsters Case for Pending Legislation to Set Safe Patient Limits in Massachusetts Acute Care Hospitals
Press Release 04.20.10 (www.massnurses.org)
CANTON, MA -- A major new study led by one of the nation’s most eminent nurse researchers provides compelling new evidence that California’s landmark RN-to-patient staffing law reduces patient mortality, assures nurses more time to spend with patients, and substantially promotes retention of experienced RNs. The study is the latest, and most conclusive piece of scientific evidence to bolster the case for increasing RN staffing in hospitals and for limiting the number of patients assigned to a nurse at one time and is being proposed now in pending legislation, the Patient Safety Act (HB3912/SB890), currently before the Massachusetts legislature.
“This research effectively closes the case in the debate for long sought legislation in the Commonwealth, which would provide patients with safe staffing standards to save lives and improve patient care,” said Donna Kelly-Williams RN, president of the Massachusetts Nurses Association.“The California law works, and every day we wait to pass a similar law here in Massachusetts, more and more of our patients suffer preventable complications, and some of them die as a result.”
The study, published online in the prestigious policy journal, Health Services Research, was conducted by a team of researchers led by Linda Aiken, RN, PhD, director of the Center for Health Outcomes and Policy Research at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing. The researchers surveyed 22,336 RNs in California and two comparable states, Pennsylvania and New Jersey, with striking results, including.
- If they matched California ratios in medical and surgical units, New Jersey hospitals would have 13.9% fewer patient deaths
and Pennsylvania 10.6% fewer deaths.
- California RNs report substantially more time to spend with patients, and their hospitals are far more likely to have
enough RNs on staff to provide quality patient care.
- Fewer California RNs say their workload caused them to miss changes in patient conditions than New Jersey or
- In California hospitals with better compliance with the staffing limits, RNs cite fewer complaints from patients and families
and the nurses have more confidence that patients can manage their own care after discharge.
- California RNs are substantially more likely to stay in their jobs because of the staffing limits, and less likely to report
burnout than nurses in New Jersey or Pennsylvania.
“In these two states alone, 468 lives might have been saved over the two year period just among general surgery patients if the California nurse staffing levels were adopted,” said Aiken. “Because all hospitalized patients are likely to benefit from improved nurse staffing, not just general surgery patients, the potential number of lives that could be saved by improving nurse staffing in hospitals nationally is likely to be many thousands a year,” said Dr. Aiken.
Two years after implementation of the California staffing law – which mandate minimum staffing levels by hospital unit – “nurse workloads in California were significantly lower” than Pennsylvania and New Jersey. “Most California nurses, bedside nurses as well as managers, believe the ratio legislation achieved its goals of reducing nurse workloads, improving recruitment and retention of nurses, and having a favorable impact on quality of care,” the authors write.
“From a policy perspective, our findings are revealing. The California experience may inform other states that are currently debating nurse ratio legislation including Massachusetts,” the study concluded.
The Patient Safety Act, which is co-sponsored by State Representative Christine Canavan (D-Brockton) and State Senator Marc R. Pacheco (D-Taunton), calls upon the Massachusetts Department of Public Health (DPH) to set safe limits on the number of hospital patients a nurse is forced to care for at one time. The limits would be based on scientific research and testimony from public hearings and, once established, could be adjusted in accordance with patient needs and requirements using a standardized, DPH-approved system. The Bill would also prohibit mandatory overtime, such as forcing RNs to work extra hours or double shifts, and protects against the reduction in the number of other members of the health-care team including LPNs, aides, and technicians. Patients would have the right to know and demand safe limits.
A hearing on the bill was held in November by the Joint Committee on Public Health. A similar bill passed the House of Representatives by overwhelming margins during the last two legislative sessions, but failed to win passage in the Senate. “In the past, some legislators and our opponents pointed to California, claiming they first needed to see if the law would work there,” Kelly-Williams said, “Well now we have the answer. It’s time to act.”
The Coalition to Protect Massachusetts Patients comprises more than 125 leading health care and consumer organizations, including the American Lung Association, Massachusetts Association of Councils on Aging, Fenway Community Health Center, League of Women Voters, and a number of health care, nursing and labor organizations.