Several SEIU Local 1991 nurses gave well-articulated and passionate testimonies before Jackson’s nursing leadership on July 12th about the need for a safe staffing ratios policy in Jackson’s Med/Surg units and the South Wing 7 mini-unit at Jackson Main.
Union nurses challenged management’s recommended policy for staffing ratios in Med/Surg units on all of Jackson’s campuses and the SW 7 mini-unit at Jackson Main. Management recommended a ratio of 1 to 4 for the SW 7 mini unit and up to 1 to 7 for Med/Surg units; our union members advocated for a 1 to 3 ratio in SW 7 and a 1 to 5 to 6 ratio in Med/Surg units.
During their testimonies, nurses spoke about the need for safe staffing ratios in order to provide quality patient care. Several nurses gave impassioned stories of feeling frustrated about going home and not being able to provide the care their patients deserved because of understaffing. Nurses from Jackson North and South also testified about the need for standardized ratios throughout all of Jackson campuses and that the acuity is the same — not less — at community hospitals. They also pointed out that without interns and often fewer support services, such as transporters, nurses have more duties at the community hospitals. Our members presented evidence and data that supported their testimony.
In the end, the meeting was a success, with Chief Nursing Executive Ric Cuming praising our nurses’ presentations and promising to colloborate with nurses to establish safer staffing in those units.
Thanks to all of our nurses who stood up for our patients and safe staffing at this crucial meeting. Management said they would take the input from the nurses into consideration before publishing the staffing ratios policy. The policy is required thanks to our union’s win at the bargaining table that put language in our contract requiring Jackson to publish a policy with unit-by-unit ratios. When Jackson management, under the leadership of the previous Chief Nursing Executive, refused to put ratio numbers into the policy, we filed a grievance and won the case in arbitration.
The following nurses spoke at the staffing ratios policy meeting:
- Annmarie Bines, RN
- Natalie Mesidor, RN
- Barbara Scollon, RN
- Jeanette Breakenridge, RN
- Vanetta James, RN
- Robert Morbach, RN
- Leonette Olobia, RN
- Sandra Nofal, RN
- Corazon Javier, RN
- Rose Horenstein, RN
- Tim Gray, RN