I find the celebration of National Nurses Week particularly meaningful as I reflect on how SEIU nurses acted in the face of the significant challenges and opportunities over the last year. From the Ebola crisis to the continued attacks on the healthcare law, we never lost sight of our critical role.
I hope every nurse takes a moment this week to reflect on the amazing work we've done for patients and our profession. Please consider sharing your story or nursing anecdote with all of us here.
In March, when we celebrated the five-year anniversary of the Affordable Care Act, I remembered the critical moments when SEIU nurses stood shoulder to shoulder to pass and implement the law within our facilities and our communities. Nurses continue to fight to protect the law because we see the positive impact it has on our patients.
- More Americans have healthcare coverage than at any time in last four decades.
- Tax credits have allowed Americans, particularly Latinos, African Americans, and young people--those who typically fare the worst in our economy--to afford healthcare for their families, many for the very first time.
- Our hospitals are more financially secure, freeing up more funds that can be invested in patient care and educating and training front-line hospital workers. It is estimated hospitals saved $5.7 billion in costs to care for uninsured individuals in 2014.
SEIU nurses steped up and led the way as we were confronted with the challenge of how to provide timely and accurate information to our colleagues and the public about the threat of the Ebola virus. Nurses representing SEIU locals from New York to California played a critical role on the teams that ensured healthcare workers on the front lines were properly trained to identify the Ebola virus and safely care for patients, the public and our colleagues.
We saw the consciousness of the public raised on the critical issue of on-the-job injuries to nurses, in part by a series from NPR called Injured Nurses. I am proud to say that SEIU nurses are using different and innovative approaches to improve safety in the workplace--our locals have partnered with management, engaged lawmakers, and sought solutions through regulatory reform. For example:
- SEIU 1991 in Florida formed a partnership with the Jackson Health System to implement safe patient handling throughout the healthcare system.
- SEIU 1199NW in Washington continued to track and evaluate the groundbreaking Safe Patient Handling law passed to show the impact it has had on injuries and share best practice.
- The California Nurse Alliance engaged in the California Safe Care Standards campaign to work with Cal/OSHA and develop an enforceable workplace violence prevention regulation for healthcare workers with commonsense safeguards for all healthcare workers.
Spread the word about Nurses Week:
You can do your part to spread the word by clicking on our shareable images that you can see on our Facebook page. Follow our twitter feed @seiunurses. Visit our Nurse Alliance of SEIU Healthcare home page to see some exciting announcements and blog posts from this week and look for our special Nurses Week Round-up.If you aren't already signed up to receive it, click here to sign up now.