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Sun Aug 14, 2022, 02:06 PM

Editorial: Nurses and hospitals need our care, support now

By The Herald Editorial Board

The call from nurses at Providence Everett Medical Center for hazard pay at the hospital system’s two campuses in the city might seem a delayed plea for help after two and a half years of the covid-19 pandemic, especially considering the more relaxed attitude now displayed by most toward covid.

Even the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has eased its guidance on response when people come in contact with those infected.

While the pandemic’s case rate has dropped significantly since the worst of the omicron surge this winter, case rates in Snohomish County are similar to what was seen during earlier surges during the winter of 2020-21 and last summer and fall.

However, the hazard that nurses appear most concerned about — and which the hospital’s leadership readily acknowledges — isn’t the possibility of contagion but rather the condition in which the pandemic has left Providence specifically but also other hospitals and health care in general, including a hollowed-out complement of nurses and other health care workers, rampant fatigue among staff and crowded hospital units.


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Reply Editorial: Nurses and hospitals need our care, support now (Original post)
Yo_Mama_Been_Loggin Aug 14 OP
cbabe Aug 14 #1

Response to Yo_Mama_Been_Loggin (Original post)

Sun Aug 14, 2022, 02:14 PM

1. Nurses at Seattle Children's Picket for Fair Wages and Better Working Conditions


Nurses at Seattle Children’s Picket for Fair Wages and Better Working Conditions

by Jasmine M. Pulido

As early as 6 a.m. on Tuesday, Aug. 9, hundreds of nurses used their days off, came on their work breaks, or arrived earlier than their scheduled shifts to picket outside the Seattle Children’s Hospital (SCH) main campus on Sand Point Way. Throughout the day, over 1,350 SCH nurses and supporters total showed up between 6–9 a.m. and then again from 12–3 p.m. demanding fair wage compensation, safer working conditions, and better resources to help pediatric nurses fulfill their job duties.

The WSNA bargaining team has been so unimpressed with the lack of staff support that both WSNA co-chairs, Edna Cortez and Kara Yates, recently published their own op-eds expressing their discontent on how issues like racial equity, staffing shortages, and the exploitation of a women-led workforce are being handled at SCH. “The board of directors have, quite frankly, refused to meet with the negotiating team,” said Lindsey Kirsch, USNA secretary and treasurer. CEO Jeff Sperring did meet for half an hour with a few nurses upon request, under predetermined conditions.

“Hospitals are so business-oriented that they make bad decisions — short-term solutions instead of investing in nursing,” said Therese Hill, ICU nurse and floating nurse for NICU, CICU, and PICU units. Even a 44% raise for every permanent nurse would still fail to match the projected annual expense of $59 million for travel nurses. Jen Morgan, senior director of public engagement at SCH, commented, “According to Seattle Children’s payroll data, the average full-time, base-pay salary for an RN at Seattle Children’s is $102,000, and our most tenured nurses’ base pay can be $160,500 or more. As negotiations continue, we all agree that putting patients first is our highest priority.”

Another point of contention for nursing staff has been health equity outcomes and the lack of diverse representation in staffing, which the WSNA has been bringing to the table for years. After Dr. Ben Danielson’s resignation in 2020 brought many of these aspects into the spotlight, the hospital still clocks in at a dismal 0% rate when it comes to staffing African American nurses. According to Cortez’s op-ed, of 1,700 nurses at the hospital, only 13 are African American. Dr. Danielson’s resignation also led to the initiation of an independent investigation on systemic racism by Washington, D.C., law firm Covington & Burling. While a concise summary of findings were shared with SCH’s staff, many feel unsatisfied that the full report was never provided despite protests for transparency.


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