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RNs: Yes vote for CNA means support for providing quality patient care

Modesto Bee, 6/25/14

Being a union nurse has its benefits

I worked at Memorial Medical Center for nearly 10 years before leaving for a California Nurses Association-backed hospital. My experience as a bedside ICU nurse is what prompts me to write.

In the ICU, patients are at their most vulnerable and in need of the best possible care. During my 10 years in Memorial’s ICU, I experienced daily violations of staffing laws, nurses being out of ratio during breaks (if we got them) and management whose “open-door policy” revealed an empty office.

My current experience is that CNA doesn’t force me to do anything; they force the employer to obey the law and protect patients. My hours are guaranteed. I don’t get called off so upper management can profit. Patients don’t get nurses with three or four patients during breaks. Employees are protected from out-of-touch managers who terminate good RNs while they ignore gaps in patient care. CNA also works with my employer to make sure my vacation time is awarded to me and that my education hours are plentiful and available for use. All this is best for patients.

Mike Floyd, RN, Modesto

Lori Dianne Marchiando: Changed her mind, now for union

I am an emergency room registered nurse at Memorial Medical Center who didn’t support the California Nurses Association at first because I believed I could speak up for myself. But I came to realize how speaking as a lone voice falls short when it comes to safeguarding my patients.

The need for a free and respectful exchange of ideas is essential for nurses to make an informed decision; a decision that will have a profound impact on RNs’ ability to have a voice in the decisions that affect our patients.

Sadly, that is not the approach Sutter management has chosen. Nurses have been required to attend repeated anti-union meetings. Being taken away from my sick patients to attend anti-union meetings saddens me. Patients experienced increased wait times, and a colleague broke down into tears trying to staff the department.

In contrast, CNA-represented RNs from other hospitals have always been professional, willing to answer questions. They have made no promises, nor taken us away from the bedside. They have shared their personal experiences about the gains they have made through a collective voice.

I became a nurse to provide quality care to those in need. I love my patients and care for them as if they are my family members. I’m voting yes because my ultimate goal is just that.

Lori Dianne Marchiando, Salida

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