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Why Stanford nurses are preparing to strike – Times-Herald

Stanford nurse Mark O’Neill could leave his job to care for COVID and heart patients, coinciding with the exodus of other health care workers to rest from the stress of the past two years.

Instead, a picket will be held on Monday.

“I’m tired, but we have to work hard to get help with the problems we’re facing,” said O’Neill, one of 5,000 nurses on strike at Stanford Hospital and Lucile Packard Children’s Hospital next week. the collapse of three-month labor negotiations with no plans for a future negotiation session. “We’re asking Stanford for a change.”

Stanford nurses join a growing number of other health care workers in the U.S. with shared complaints about workers who have risen in the COVID-19 pandemic, their salaries, benefits, and quality of life. Last Monday, 8,000 nurses in Northern California went on a day-long strike at 18 Sutter Health facilities. Recent health strikes have also occurred in Oregon, Massachusetts, New York, Montana and Alabama. A massive strike by 50,000 Kaiser health workers last November was averted.

Mark O’Neill is reading a book with his 4-year-old daughter Emily at their home on Wednesday, April 20, 2022, in Oakland, California. because the pandemic cared for COVID patients. (Photo: Aric Crabb / Bay Area News Group)

As nurses are scarce, unions have a new lever, and have emerged as an increasingly powerful voice in a tight labor market. Tired of pandemics, many nurses are rethinking their careers. A new McKinsey report He said the proportion of nurses who said they would leave their jobs next year had risen to 32% from 22% last February.

In preparation for Monday’s outing, nationwide “strike nurses” are being taken to the Bay Area and taken by bus to Stanford Higher Hospitals. Strike nurses are typically the largest compensated nurses in the industry, with agencies such as HSG and US Nursing paying $ 12,000 to $ 13,000 a week to Stanford substitutes.

“If you put on your badge, I’ll pick it up,” said Aleehya Carr of San Antonio, Texas, who hopes to work on the Stanford strike. “People still go to patients who need help … Imagine if it was your mother or your father.”

But regular nurses have their own set of frustrations with overpaid time. That tension occurred at Sutter Health last week, when nurses made a one-day outing, but was replaced by contract nurses for the entire week.

Nurses and health workers at 15 Sutter Health facilities took part in the strike to address workers, health and safety. (Photo: Aric Crabb / Bay Area News Group)

“They’re staying, they’re being transported to the hospital, they’re being fed, they’re in the lab and have extra staff, all the things we want,” said Carol Hawthorne-Johnson, a registered nurse who worked there. For 30 years in the Eden Intensive Care Unit in the Castro Valley. “They’re also getting different salaries, and that’s what encourages nurses to come here.”

In a pandemic of poor nursing, hospitals have paid more and more attention to travel nurses to fill gaps, encouraging resentment throughout the year.

To reduce its workload next week and ensure that emergency care is provided, Stanford may reschedule some elective procedures, said spokeswoman Julie Greicius. But a bigger problem is seen.

There are a number of reasons why nurses have chosen the moment they have chosen to change, said Joanne Spetz, director of the Philip R. Lee Institute for Health Policy Studies at UC San Francisco.

On the one hand, the contracts have expired, so it’s time to renegotiate. Nurses have seen their profits rise at Stanford and other major health care systems, even as COVID cases have risen. According to the University 2021 annual reportrevenues from both hospitals were more than $ 845 million in spending compared to $ 107 million in 2020, although some of them were due to temporary federal grants.

Entrance to Stanford Hospital. (Photo: Don Feria / Bay Area News Group)

Nurses also know that they are more difficult to replace, and they want to acknowledge their contributions to better working conditions, sheltered vacation time, higher wages, and better benefits.

“Nursing has given so much in this pandemic,” Spetz said.

On a relative basis, nursing is a profitable profession, and not just for strike substitutes. But across the country, nurses say long hours and short staff are exhausted and the magnitude of death is traumatized. With the rise of abandonment, they put the infection at risk. They repeatedly responded to appeals for overtime shifts. They missed family dinners and canceled their vacation. He helped the dying patients in their video calls to say goodbye to their families. They cried in the cars and faced deep fatigue on long trips home.

“Nursing is disgusting,” said Diana Mason, a professor at the Center for Health Policy and Media Engagement at the George Washington University School of Nursing.

“When you’re working with few employees, there’s a moral strain,” he said. “You know there are complications that patients shouldn’t get because you can’t be with them.”

Nurse Marilyn Mirafelix, the center, participates in an appearance outside Kaiser Permanente Oakland Medical Center on Thursday, January 13, 2022. (Photo: Aric Crabb / Bay Area News Group)

To be sure, hospitals must comply with the legal ratios between nurse and patient. But that sets a minimum, Mason and Spetz said. Few hospitals have strong strategies to adjust these staffing ratios to respond to very ill patients.

Stanford the nurses are asking 7% increase in annual salary for each of the next two years and 6% in the last year of the contract with $ 3,000 bonuses and ongoing mental health counselingling. They want to use all the time on vacation assigned, have a say in the weekend shifts and receive extra pay for critical care nurses.

This will increase the level of staff, making it easier to hire and retain staff.

Stanford is offering it salary increases – 5%, 4% and 3%, plus confirmation and retention bonuses. In the first year, the basic annual salaries for initial nurses would start at $ 143,000 and rise to $ 211,500 for nurses at the top of the pay scale.

With so many nurses in their forties during the pandemic, Stanford raised the bar by bringing in contract nurses to work on a contract basis. Stanford would not give an account of these traveling nurses, but the union says it could be as close as 25% in some areas, such as the Intensive Care Unit.

But veteran nurses say it’s hard to work with a rotating team that earns much more than them. Because these itinerant nurses do not allow them to work with the sickest patients, they say, the hardest work is taking them to lower-paying veterans.

Despite the proliferation of traveling nurses, there are still not enough staff, they say.

Kathy Stormberg recalled her time at home after working an overtime in the ICU after-anesthesia care unit. I canceled dinner with my family. ”

Kathy Stormberg, registered nurse. On Thursday, April 21, 2022, he was photographed at his home in San Jose, California. Stormberg has worked as a nurse at Stanford Health Care for over 13 years. (Photo: Aric Crabb / Bay Area News Group)

For O’Neill, who lived in hotels for the first three months of the pandemic, “the hardest part was the time away from my family,” which missed his young daughter’s new vocabulary and sense of humor. “FaceTime calls are not like a hug or a kiss.”

And he said prayers for extra shifts are ongoing. “You’ll have a 12-hour shift at work, and you’ll be asked to stop for another four hours. Every day, we receive at least one text message saying that the unit is understaffed, “Can I come to work overtime?” “

“Nurses can’t even relax on a day off because they continue to receive these texts,” Stormberg said.

Stanford warns that the strike will be worrisome for patients and that its care will be very divisive for groups. “The impact can be profound and lasting and should not be taken lightly,” hospitals warned in their negotiations. website.

But it can fundamentally change the attitude of many veteran workers, Spetz said.

“This is really an opportunity to attract attention because nursing is a highly respected profession, and it requires a lot of skill and knowledge to do well,” he said. “And it’s often overlooked.”

Why Stanford nurses are preparing to strike – Times-Herald Source link Why Stanford nurses are preparing to strike – Times-Herald

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