As we look ahead to celebrating Nurses Week, I want to take a moment to recognize all of the challenges we have faced, and the utterly selfless work we do every day to keep our communities safe and well.Thank you for your dedicated work in the face of serious adversity. Our upcoming events to celebrate and elevate Nurses Week will be highlighted in this newsletter. You will notice plans to advocate, and call action to our biggest problems, just like we do every single day for our patients.
For me, Nurses Week is not only to celebrate our profession, it is a space to reflect on what we should strive for our honorable profession to grow into. In that spirit, we will continue to build a strong foundation through our advocacy so that future generations of nurses can stand in solidarity to practice with safe, compassionate, quality care.
– Denelle Korin RN, Nurse Member Coordinator, Nurse Alliance of SEIU PA
Rather than addressing unsafe care through criminalizing healthcare workers, the focus should be on systemic changes like safe staffing
by Denelle Korin, RN
Recent news has shown nurses being blamed and criminally charged, and made a scapegoat for problems in providing direct patient care. This has ignited a fierce and necessary debate about how to fix our catastrophic short-staffing crisis in hospitals and nursing homes. This is a huge wakeup call for all nurses and caregivers to get more involved and demand solutions from our elected officials and lawmakers. We need to change laws and reform our healthcare system to protect our patients and invest in our dedicated healthcare workers who faithfully provide quality care.
We as nurses are absolutely justified in being angry at how those on the frontline of healthcare delivery are targeted by the criminal justice system for the egregious failures and greed within the healthcare system that create and enable this short-staffing crisis.
So where do we go from here, that is the bigger question. How do we channel our anger into constructive solutions? How do we fuel our activism and drive change? Can we adopt comprehensive policies and legislation to enact safe-staffing ratios? Finally, how do we demand real oversight and accountability in hospitals and Skilled Nursing facilities?
What we know is that lawmakers must enact the Patient Safety Act, immediately. By enacting the Patient Safety Act we, as nurses, will have a solid foundation to practice without fear looming over our already stressed minds. A bipartisan majority of state representatives have co-sponsored HB106, our bill for Safe Staffing. Despite extensive efforts by nurses across the state our bill is being blocked by State Rep. Kathy Rapp, Chair of the Health Committee. We continue to advocate and make clear to Kathy Rapp that this bill is crucial. Plans are underway to have direct action around Kathy Rapp and her continued blocking of this essential law that brings safe patient care standards to the forefront.
– Denelle Korin RN
Better Nursing Homes Now!
by Karen A. Hipple, LPN
I am Karen Hipple, an LPN at a Long Term Care Facility in Pennsylvania. I have been in the medical field for 42 years. I returned to care for our elderly after a 38 year carrier in acute care at our local hospital. Needless to say, healthcare has dramatically changed through my carrier. Dependable staffing on a daily basis in Acute Care and Long Term Care has become an ongoing issue.
The system was already failing prior to the pandemic and it is at an emergent, critical state as the pandemic is now in a downward trajectory. I am an eternal optimist, but I find myself daily asking, “How can we possibly sustain this path to giving appropriate care?”
Long Term Care/Memory Care is not everyone’s cup of tea. It is a specialty like no other that I have practiced through the years. It requires dedication, patience, talent, stamina, and a whole lot of love. The present state of patient to staff ratios or PPD is not an acceptable way to care for our disabled and elderly. One CNA/TNA per twenty Residents on the Memory Care Unit is just not acceptable. How does one worker keep their eyes on 20 mobile, dementia residents?
How is this acceptable? How is this possible?
I often compare it to being in a large area with 20 toddlers. Some are unsteady on their feet. Some bumping in to walls. One prior nurse trying to help another resident get out of their chair. While this is happening another needs to be directed to the toilet, while another requires help getting her shoes on. How can one CNA possibly keep her eyes on 20 people at one time? It is virtually impossible. Pennsylvania law has already recognized this to be true in childcare. In licensed childcare centers in PA, it would be illegal to assign one caregiver more than five toddlers.
Due to inadequate Patient/Staff Ratios, Resident falls happen, and injuries that with proper staffing would be less likely to happen. Residents do not receive the personalized daily care they need and deserve. Their Life Skills decline. The overall best life that they deserve suffers.
Our Elders/Disabled Residents are not in an ECF/MCU by choice. They are in the facilities out of necessity due to no longer being able to care for themselves to an appropriate level at home.
They have worked their entire lives to get to the age of retirement and here they are stuck in an inadequate system that has become like an assembly line. Many have served our country. Many have been caregivers themselves, teachers, electricians, clergy, moms, and dads. They are people! They deserve the very best of care. They deserve a great experience every day for the remainder of their years on this earth. They deserve the compassion of a caregiver that can spend time listening to the story of how life was during World War II.
They deserve our time. Period.
We, as a society, have to create a better way to care for each other. We have to lift our voices up loud, strong, and wide to make our legislatures understand and see what it is like as someone who is trapped in a facility with no one to tend to their basic needs in a timely manner. One day it will be them. One day it will be me.
We need change now for the future of nursing homes and the people who deserve the very best that we can give to them. They are why WE exist.
Click here to tell your legislators to require that 70% of all nursing home funding must go to the bedside.
And if you can, please join us in Harrisburg on May 25th as hundreds of nursing home nurses and caregivers from across the state rally and march in Harrisburg to let our legislators know we need better staffing and accountability. Sign up to join us on the 25th here.
Karen A. Hipple, LPN
Veteran Care Giver of Pennsylvania,
Member Organizer at SEIU Healthcare Pennsylvania
Free CEU Session
Rethink Burnout…..It’s Moral Injury! Recognize, Reconstruct and Repair.
SEIU Healthcare PA Nurse Alliance Online CEU Session
June 29th from 4:00pm to 6:00pm Earn 2 CEUs
As nurses, we have spent 2 years traversing tremendous uncertainty, working in harsh and equally tragic patient care environments, while trying our best to heal and advocate for our patients. It is an understatement to say that the odds have not been stacked in our favor. Now we face a range of emotions and feelings because our moral compass has been challenged more than ever before. Additionally, we are seeing record numbers of nurses leaving the bedside.
Our upcoming Nurse CE session will focus on thinking about “burnout” in a new way- we will explore the concept of Moral Injury which shifts from individuals to the broken institutional healthcare systems. This program will also provide insights for the most effective mental health support for nurses at this moment.
Driving change in this space is paramount and we need to prioritize the changes we need. As we prioritize, we want to connect to mental health supports, as well as develop strategies and actions to drive system changes from our employers, government, and within our union.
Register now and join us on June 29, 2022 to learn together, to plan together and to drive change.
May 6th-13th: Nurses Week and Hospital Workers Week
May 7 @ 11AM–1PM: The Pittsburgh Hospital Workers March, starting at Morrow Park at 11AM, and we’ll conclude at Friendship Park at 1PM
May 7 @ 12PM–4PM: GWV Nurses Community Health Fair, at 160 W Market St, Wilkes-Barre, PA 18701
May 10: Altoona Press Conference & Commissioners Recognition, In front of Blair County Courthouse, 423 Allegheny St, Hollidaysburg, PA 16648, contact firstname.lastname@example.org for questions
May 12 @ 8AM, PA Nurses head to the National Nurses March, in Washington, DC, Marchers assemble at the Elipse, a park across from the White House at 8AM, beginning march to the Capitol at 9AM
May 13 @ 11AM–5PM: State College Mt. Nittany Job Fair/Community Event, at Teamsters Union Local 8 Hall, 2225 High Tech Road, State College, PA 16803
May 14th @ 11AM-2PM: Vigil for those Lost to Unsafe Staffing & Kathy Rapp’s Inaction, 11AM—Meet at Crescent Park, 100 Crescent Park, Warren, PA 16365 & 1PM—Vigil at Rep. Kathy Rapp’s District Office, 404 Market, Warren, PA 16365
May 19-20: ANHE’s 2022 Nursing Summit on Environmental Health This event does have a registration fee, but we have set aside funds to cover up to five nurse members who want to attend. These registration fee grants will be first-come-first-serve. If you want to claim one of those five grant spots, please reply to express your interest and ask if that is still available prior to registration.
May 25th: Now or Never–We Walk Together for Better Nursing Homes Now, in Harrisburg
June 29th @ 4PM–6PM: [2 Free CEU] Rethink Burnout… It’s Moral Injury! Recognize, Reconstruct and Repair, remote event