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The Nurse Staffing Committee (NSC) is one of the most important committees in the hospital in which nurses can voice concerns and help to improve their day to day working conditions. NSC is to have representatives that help represent your clinical area and help with the processes of setting up Staffing Plans and evaluating and resolving ADO (Assignment Despite Objection) forms. The plans for 2021 are now being discussed and will be in rough drafts by September 21 and will be presented to the CEO on September 30.
It is crucial that you all consider the strengths and weaknesses of the current staffing you have had and speak with your NSC representative with any concerns you would like addressed in the upcoming plans. The NSC is 50 percent WSNA nurses, and 50 percent management or other hospital staff. The plan must work with budgetary considerations, but also must consider factors such as:
Census, including total numbers of patients on the unit on each shift and activity such as patient discharges, admissions, and transfers.
Level of intensity of all patients and nature of the care to be delivered on each shift.
Level of experience and specialty certification or training of nursing personnel providing care.
The need for specialized or intensive equipment.
The architecture and geography of the patient care unit, including but not limited to placement of patient rooms, treatment areas, nursing stations, medication preparation areas, and equipment.
Staffing guidelines adopted or published by national nursing professional associations, specialty nursing organizations, and other health professional organizations.
Availability of other personnel supporting nursing services on the unit; and
Strategies to enable registered nurses to take meal and rest breaks as required by law or the terms of an applicable collective bargaining agreement, if any, between the hospital and a representative of the nursing staff.
These plans were put together and filed with the state, a form that attests that the factors listed above is signed and submitted with the plans. Last year’s plans that were submitted with the state can be found here: EvergreenHealth Staffing Plans. Look at your units staffing plans filed last year and see what you think. With the hospital looking at cutting back staffing, this is a very good time to become involved and aware the Nurse Staffing Committee and how it can help give nurses a voice.
Fill out ADOs — Online Staffing Complaint form – Use it!#
You know the saying in nursing: “if you didn’t document it, it didn’t happen”? We need you to please document what happens on your shift with staffing, breaks, and other concerns that can contribute to unsafe assignments, burnout, and unnecessary fatigue.
Simply put, if the data does not exist it is very hard for your fellow nurses and WSNA to advocate for improvement. This advocacy means pushing for the appropriate staff, strategies for you to get your breaks, and to look at those factors that can make your job on the floor very difficult.
By completing the form, you are helping to make the problem known to management, which creates an opportunity for the problem to be addressed. Additionally, you are documenting the facts, which may be helpful to you later if there is a negative outcome.
We recognize some of you may fear retaliation. Washington State Law RCW 70.41.420 prohibits retaliation by the hospital towards an employee who fills out an ADO submitted to the nurse staffing committee. Our collective bargaining agreement also offers protection.
If you fill one out and feel as if you are being retaliated against, please reach out to your WSNA Nurse Representative Bret Percival RN at: BPercival@wsna.org.
Types of situations where you should complete a Staffing Complaint / ADO form:
Missed Rest breaks and/or Meal periods
Charge nurse is unable to perform charge nurse duties, secondary to increased patient care assignment
Inadequate nurse to patient ratios for patient acuity based on your clinical judgment – this includes if you are covering someone for break
Insufficient support staff requires you to assume additional duties
You are not trained or experienced in the area assigned
You have not been oriented to this unit / case load
Patient care equipment missing or unusable
Necessary equipment is not available
You are not trained or experienced to use equipment in assigned area
An assignment poses a serious threat to your health and safety
An assignment poses a serious threat to the health and safety of a patient under your direct care
Forced / mandatory overtime
If you have reason to complete this form, you first should speak with your manager or charge nurse for that shift about the concern order to try to and seek a resolution as quickly as possible. When you complete the online form, you are encouraged to include your manager’s name and email. These forms do not have deadlines. It would be ideal to fill it out and submit as soon as possible, so details are fresh, but you can fill this out and submit at any time.
After you complete the form a copy of the submitted form immediately goes to you, the WSNA chair and co-chair, WSNA Rep, staffing committee co-chairs, and your manager, provided you have entered his or her email. The Nurse Staffing Committee will review the complaint at their next meeting if it is a staffing concern. Nurses who file ADOs are entitled and encouraged to attend the following NSC meeting when their ADO will be discussed.
Word of Caution on Facebook and other social media:#
Your employer has a policy regarding employee’s use of social media, to include what you post away from work on your own time. There are laws that can protect you in some circumstances such as when employees act in a concerted effort to discuss and improve working conditions. However, there are nuances, and misconceptions, which may lead people to believe they are protected from discipline when in fact they may not be. “Free Speech” does not necessarily mean free of consequences. One step you can take today to help protect yourself is to remove your employer information from your account profile. The employer has argued that if EvergreenHealth or its logo is contained within your profile, you could be interpreted by the public as speaking on behalf of the hospital. Think about professional consequences when you post on social media..
We have vacancies in the union leadership at EvergreenHealth and are recruiting nurses willing to advocate for themselves and fellow nurses. We understand that between your busy shifts and life away from work that there may not be a lot of extra time. There are all kinds of ways you can become involved, and you can choose how much time you want to spend. Some positions available now are unit reps on floors, all shifts, there can be more than one! This is the point person on your floor that gets information to co-workers and helps relay concerns back to WSNA. We are also in need of membership officers, grievance officers and more. We can work with your interests to help find ways you could contribute if you would like to. Please contact any of the Local Unit Officers, or your WSNA Organizer Tara Barnes TBarnes@wsna.org, or WSNA Nurse Representative Bret Percival BPercival@wsna.org.
Why be active in WSNA? WSNA at Evergreen is a community of members. The nurses negotiate our own contracts and we are empowered to be leaders, serve on committees and participate in labor-management problem solving. This is a process, not an event.
We would not have security in our working conditions in a contract if we did not have a union. Our union contract empowers us to act on important issues like safe staffing, ending mandatory overtime, addressing safety issues and receiving appropriate training. But we must stay strong and united as a community of WSNA at Evergreen.
How do we build and maintain our unified strength? Together! Our membership demonstrates we are invested in our continued strength and will not accept take-aways that Evergreen Nurses have worked so hard to achieve.
If you find yourself in a situation that you believe creates unsafe conditions for patients or for you, you should complete a Staffing Complaint / ADO Form as soon as possible.
By completing the form, you will help make the problem known to management, creating an opportunity for the problem to be addressed. Additionally, you will be documenting the facts, which may be helpful to you later if there is a negative outcome.
WSNA also uses your ADO forms to track the problems occurring in your facility. When you and your coworkers take the important step of filling out an ADO form, you are helping to identify whether there is a pattern of unsafe conditions for you or your patients at your facilities. This information is used by your conference committee, staffing committee, and WSNA labor staff to improve your working conditions.
If called into a meeting with management, read the following to management when the meeting begins:
If this discussion could in any way lead to my being disciplined or terminated, I respectfully request that my union representative be present at this meeting. Without representation present, I choose not to participate in this discussion.