Nurses Ratify Contract at EMMC with Patient Safety Provisions
Registered nurses at Eastern Maine Medical Center in Bangor, Maine ratified a three year contract last night with important improvements in patient safety and enhanced professional and economic standards. The registered nurses are represented by the Maine State Nurses Association/National Nurses United. The NNU is the largest union and professional organization of nurses in the U.S., with over 170,000 members.
The agreement, which covers 850 nurses at the Medical Center, gives more control to the bedside nurse over issues like patient assignments and nurse to patient ratios. Provisions have been added for registered nurses to have input over staffing plans including a requirement that management must submit for review any changes in those plans to the nurses. The Medical Center has also committed to hire more nurses and work with the staff nurse run Professional Practice Committee to enhance the number of ‘resource nurses’ throughout the facility. The resource nurse provides the support and appropriate staffing levels to ensure safe, effective, and therapeutic care to patients at EMMC. Patient advocacy language was strengthened which gives nurses the right to legally object to a patient assignment that is unsafe.
The registered nurses won language that requires the Medical Center to install a metal detector in the emergency room. This was a vital issue for the membership as there have been an increasing number of incidents in which staff were harmed or could have been harmed.
“Security in the emergency department was one of our key issues in bargaining. Having a metal detector installed is one very important step that EMMC needed to take to ensure the highest level of safety and security, not only for registered nurses and hospital staff, but for patients and their family members as well. We are very pleased to have been able to win this provision in contract negotiations,” said Cokie Giles, RN at EMMC and NNU Board member.
The new MSNA/NNU agreement includes wage increases between 7-13% and health benefit security language that will keep experienced nurses at the bedside as well as provisions to strengthen the ability for nurses to schedule time off.
“We had a great turnout and are really pleased that the members have voted and that this contract has been ratified,” said Jen Sedgwick, RN and bargaining team member at EMMC.