Editorial in Star Tribune

I submitted an Editorial to the Star Tribune this morning which will appear in Saturday’s paper revealing my identity. If we are going to use this site to move forward and create change I need to put my name on it to dispell the rumors that this is being done by the hospitals. I started this site on my own to provide us all with a safe place to discuss issues that were burdening us without being attacked. This site far exceeded my expectations of a small chat room….which should tell us all how much we needed it! It has never been my intention to bust the union. I am just hoping we can look at the process and not repeat what we just went through in the coming years.

For the press, there will be no  comments to the press from either “anurse” or “glinda”  until after this appears in the Star Tribune.

Link to editorial by Pioneer Press:  Nurses care.  So do hospital bosses.

Star Tribune Editorial:  Who started nurse blog?

Now that Penny has gone public I also want to dispel any rumors that Fairview or Fairview IT professionals had anything to do with helping Penny start or maintain this blog. There is one thing that MNA’s facebook posting had right, and one thing only, my name–Dee Richards and where I work.  Contrary to what was posted, I am an RN and I have had a long and varied career as a nurse. I do work at Fairview.

The IT professionals named had absolutely nothing to do with this blog and not one person at Fairview was aware that I was involved with it. Every single person that repeated that false information that was irresponsibly posted and allowed to remain on MNA’s official Facebook page owes the IT professionals, Fairview, and the TCH’s a public apology.


54 responses to this post.

  1. Originally Posted by Linda R Larson on July 8, 2010 at 3:43 pm edit

    Just another clear indication of the integrity and positive direction of this blog. When the story gets out just imagine hundreds of us standing behind you in green and our hands are raised in support of what you have given to nurses, the public, other healthcare providers, the profession of nursing and to patient care. Thank you from the bottom of my heart. l will always believe that you truly did create the turning point in this negotiation. You gave ALL people a voice free from fear. You held everyone to a high standard of respect and dignity. You highlighted what the profession of nursing is and you saw a huge need AND took the steps to meet that need. I applaud you. I anticipate great things from all the nurses and their supporters working together for a common goal. Florence would be very proud!!!!


  2. Posted by Zoe'smom on July 8, 2010 at 4:43 pm

    I stand in awe of your courage! I wish you strength and wisdom in the coming days. You are not alone. Let me/us know if you need help or encouragement. Many Blessings to you and your family.


  3. Posted by Tom on July 8, 2010 at 5:18 pm

    Wonderful! I have a prayer in the form of a poem to share with you, anurse, and all of your readers. I first came across it in 1985 when I was an administrator at United Hospital in St. Paul. It reminded me so much of what it means to be mission-driven that I wrote it in my best calligraphy (well, “best” for me, at least) in recognition of National Nurses Week and took copies to all nursing units.

    I was written by Toyohiko Kagawa. I hope it also gives you comfort, peace and inspiration on your journey . . .

    I cannot invent
    New things
    Like the airships
    Which sail
    On silver wings;
    But today
    A wonderful thought
    In the dawn was given,
    And the stripes of my robe,
    Shining from wear,
    Were suddenly fair.
    Bright with a light
    Falling from heaven —
    Gold and silver and bronze
    Lights from the windows of Heaven.

    And the thought
    Was this:
    That a secret plan
    Is hid in my hand;
    That my hand is big,
    Because of this plan.

    That God,
    Who dwells in my hand,
    Knows this secret plan
    Of the things He will do for the world
    Using my hand!


    • Tom, thank you so much for sharing that. I am not sure what God has planned for me, but I am willing to let Him use my hands. You have been such an inspiration for us and provided us with such wonderful insight and information. I am hoping you will continue to bring your wisdom to our discussion.


  4. Posted by Tom on July 8, 2010 at 6:10 pm

    You will know that secret plan when it is time to know. Just think of how much has already been revealed to you.


  5. Posted by healthcareoldtimer on July 8, 2010 at 7:04 pm

    I want to echo the posts that have already been made. You continue to show your leadership and courage by doing your editorial. Just remember if you have moments of doubt, you are NEVER alone.


  6. Posted by pharmone on July 8, 2010 at 8:31 pm

    I echo all the above comments. While not a nurse, I am so thankful for what you did. You restored my faith in the profession of nursing. The others are correct; you will never be alone! Remember that!


  7. Posted by a non-contract on July 8, 2010 at 10:12 pm

    You are a breath of fresh air. Thank You.


  8. Posted by Nursesreallymatter on July 9, 2010 at 12:03 am

    Editorial in today’s Saint Paul Pioneer Press :

    This won’t be a popular observation in some places, but because health-care cost pressures and the need for flexibility will only intensify, and because nurses and the rest of us deserve better, it must be said:

    By relying on an argument that demonized hospital managers and attempted to raise panic about pervasive mortal danger in Twin Cities hospitals, the nurses union undermined its own credibility and the cause of intelligent discourse. …

    Last Friday’s sudden settlement, and Tuesday’s overwhelming approval of it, suggested not only that hospital managers care a great deal about patients and nurses, but also that nurses care enough to not let the ambitions of a national union lead them away from excellent pay and benefits, away from their patients and off a cliff. …

    We hope that in three years when the next contract is due, the nurses union will find a way to stand up for nurses without disparaging their institutions, and without reducing their management colleagues to caricatures of greed and evil.


    • Posted by glinda on July 9, 2010 at 5:12 am

      I edited your comment. The entire editorial couldn’t just be pasted in because of copyright issues. I also added a link to it.


  9. Posted by answer to prayer on July 9, 2010 at 12:34 am

    I am also hoping that we can ALL be free to present our view point, openly, without fear of retribution in the coming months. Let’s continue to move toward ensuring that disruption to our nursing practice will not be repeated in three years and commit ourselves to looking for positive ways to restore the reputation of our profession and advance our common goal of patient safety. We are with you, “anurse” (can’t wait to call you by your real name), and I truly believe we can affect some change with a united voice.


  10. Posted by ilovemyjob on July 9, 2010 at 12:41 am

    You are a true hero “anurse”!!! Thank you for taking the lead (again) on the next step of this important journey. Please know that we stand with you in your belief that things need to change…and now we know they can!


  11. “anurse” ditto all of the above. I look forward to reading your editiorial tomorrow. Thank you for all you have done. You have the support of many. I look forward to trying to make a difference together with all who dare to speak up to prevent the nurses from being hijacked in 2013.


  12. Posted by leadbyexample on July 9, 2010 at 11:10 am

    Thank you ‘anurse’…you truly do lead by example! I visit this blog on a daily basis and always come away with renewed inspiration and feelings of hope. The quality and professionalism of posters on this blog is balm to the wounded soul of nursing. My nursing career spans many years; working at the bedside, and now in leadership. The venom-filled viciousness of this recent negotiation process has been particularly hurtful to all members of our healthcare team regardless of role. I grieve over the adversarial wall that was constructed to divide and pit the role of the bedside nurse against the role of the leadership nurse and hospital administration. We are on the same team and I long for a time when all parties can sit together and constructively problem-solve the challenges of improving on the foundation of excellence and quality care we currently provide in our hospitals.


  13. Posted by Kevin RN on July 9, 2010 at 12:57 pm

    I’m a staunch unionist, and would never recommend removing the strike option from our list of potential choices, but I did find this article interesting: http://www.nber.org/digest/jul10/w15855.html

    However, instead of letting this be framed as a organized nursing issue or a labor issue, or somehow blaming labor for somehow harming patients by striking, it should be looked at as a nursing AND management issue. The strike is the extreme option that should always remain on the table… if management can push a strike vote thinking that nurses will get burned in the media, they will. If a strike is justified then management needs to take responsibility. Nevertheless, strikes should be the nuclear option only. Using it frivolously to prove a point like the NNU did, simply cheapens its meaning and risks everything..


    • Posted by glinda on July 9, 2010 at 3:03 pm

      I did edit out the name callling. I think nursing as a profession should look at what is accomplished by striking, especially in light of the new study about the effects of nurses strikes. As long as we say that patient safety is what we are striking for, we simply cannot pretend that study doesn’t exist.


      • Posted by Kevin RN on July 10, 2010 at 2:38 am

        Sorry, I didn’t realize I used any name calling. Reading what I wrote, I can’t even see where your edit was, so I guess what I was trying to say stands on its own anyway. Please accept my apologies and thanks.

        Nonetheless, the fact that this blogs exists is really a testament to the censorship practiced by the NNU-MNA. Diverse opinions are sadly NOT welcome in our associations’ media, a means of communication that is owned by all of us. It’s refreshing to see other points of view rather than be subject to the endless stream of propaganda pushed by an organization that we pay for yet limits our right to free speech. What we really need to do is change out the board of directors. Time to sharpen the voting pencils.


    • Posted by wildfox on July 9, 2010 at 7:51 pm

      I respectfully disagree that it is not a good idea to have a NO strike clause in the contract. MNA used the threat of a strike in an inappropriate way putting patients in the middle of the labor dispute and using them as a bargainning chip at every juncture during these negotiaitions. Nurses are essential workers and need to do what they do best, care for patients.


  14. Posted by glinda on July 9, 2010 at 3:07 pm

    Just so everyone is aware, comments are being approved before they are posting. There are just too many flagrant violations of the blog rules, including the one this morning referring to the Holocaust. We can’t be watching the comments 24/7 so as much as we would not like to resort to this it is our only option at this point.

    Even though there may be a delay in seeing your comments, please continue to share your thoughts.


    • Posted by wildfox on July 9, 2010 at 7:44 pm

      glinda, Thank you for playing “blog police” to bad people can’t agree to disagree.


  15. Posted by RN4ptcare on July 9, 2010 at 4:54 pm

    I can’t begin to tell you the impact you had on this contract being settled. Your blog was the safest place for me and other nurses who disagreed with the strong-arm agenda of the NNU and MNA. I firmly believe that you saved this city and the state from a catastrophy! Thank you for your courage, and if you need any support or encouragment look no further than right here. It would be an absolute privillage to meet you when your name goes public, and I will have no problem supporting you if you get backlash. God bless!


  16. Posted by wildfox on July 9, 2010 at 7:32 pm

    Penny… Thank you for the great editorial in the strib today. Together we can make a positive change so we do not find ourselves in this situation again.


  17. Posted by glinda on July 9, 2010 at 7:44 pm

    Now that Penny’s editorial is up I also want to dispel any rumors that Fairview or Fairview IT professionals had anything to do with helping Penny start or maintain this blog. There is one thing that MNA’s facebook posting had right, and one thing only, my name–Dee Richards and where I work. Contrary to what was posted, I am an RN and I have had a long and varied career as a nurse. I do work at Fairview and I am the Physician Liaison for information services at UMMC. The IT professionals named had absolutely nothing to do with this blog and not one person at Fairview was aware that I was involved with it. Every single person that repeated that false information owes the IT professionals, Fairview, and the TCH’s a public apology. And MNA should be the first in line for allowing those false rumors to continue on their official facebook page.


  18. Posted by Nursesreallymatter on July 9, 2010 at 9:48 pm

    Your comments have been posted to the Star Tribune’s site. I have already shared them on Facebook.

    You have integrity and there is more respect out there for you and the other posters on this blog than you may even realize. There is such honor in nursing. Thanking you for living the oath. And thank you for starting this blog. Leave it to professional nurses to get the job done, even when it means entering the uncharted territory of the blogosphere!

    Again, you have so much support out here, both on the floors and with the rest of the hospital employees. Congratulations for demonstrating the honor.


    • Posted by supportiveRN on July 10, 2010 at 7:51 am

      Penny and Dee,
      Thanks for your ongoing professionalism.
      Dr. King said, “Nonviolence is a powerful and just weapon. which cuts without wounding and ennobles the man who wields it. It is a sword that heals.” You both are great examples to all of how to disagree respectfully, without verbal violence. He also said “Almost always, the creative dedicated minority has made the world better”.
      You have made the world better! Carry on…..we are behind you.


    • Thank you, it is everyone’s support that gave me the courage keep going!


  19. Posted by Replacement nurse who cares on July 9, 2010 at 10:09 pm

    Dee and Penny,
    Thank you both for your courage,leadership and vision. It has been amazing to watch all this come to fruition. Please stay in touch with me. You have my email from this site.
    Thanks again!


  20. Posted by Linda Marie on July 10, 2010 at 10:41 am

    My hope is that the interest generated by the union during the past several months will result in a change in the union. I am appalled and embarrassed to be associated with MNA. While this is my hope, it is not my expectation. My current state of mind leads me to the conclusion that the only voice I have that will be heard by MNA is to resign the union. Is this true? Is there another way to effect change? Count me in on any grassroots movement that will get the message across that I never want to go through this turmoil again.


    • Posted by Dee on July 10, 2010 at 10:47 am

      My personal opinion is that the only way to change the union is from within. If you want to do this then you need to be able to vote. I don’t know how MNA will react to the people who resigned if they want to re-join. If they are smart, they will welcome them back with open arms which will show that they aren’t afraid of dissent and that they welcome a debate about the direction the union has taken and will go in the future.


  21. Posted by wildfox on July 10, 2010 at 11:35 am

    To advance a meaningful change in MNA …. We are the people we have been waiting for.


  22. I was told that you can re-join. Can they refuse us? I am unsure..can voting promote the change we are all looking for? I just wish I knew where and how to begin getting the change and representation we want and need so badly? I feel many of those deeply entrenched in the MNA have undergone some kind of brainwashing and will be of no help to those who are utilizing their own independent, critical thinking skills. Anyone have any concrete ideas/solutions out there? I feel like I do not even know some of those ‘MNA nurses” anymore…it was like they underwent some kind of metamorphis…
    PS The editorial was great Penny… You are a brave soul and I am sure all of us back you 100% on this website.You gave us the voice we were all searching for and needed in a critical chaotic time. THANK YOU !!!


    • Posted by Tom on July 10, 2010 at 3:35 pm

      Whether you re-join the union or not, my advice would be to lead by example within your own institution. Let your manager know that you would like to serve on any collaborative, cross-discipline work groups that may be forming in your hospital. Be the professional that you are. Don’t feed into the carping and complaining that can infect your work group. You can do all these things independent of union membership. And you may, in fact, find it more fulfilling and easier to change the climate of your nursing unit than it would be to change your labor union. Also, as Penny and Dee have shown, the effort invested “closer to home” can have much bigger pay-offs in the long run.


    • thanks dragonfly, I think a place to start is becoming MNA reps. I do believe that would involve rejoining MNA but it might be one way to bring about change. We will continue to search for other ways.


  23. Posted by rndmcrzyktty on July 10, 2010 at 3:59 pm

    Thank you so much to Penny and Dee for providing this place for many, not just nurses, who were concerned about what was going on between the hospitals and the union. It was a breath of fresh air to come here and voice concerns and be in a respectful environment. I hope you continue with this blog and that when the contract is up for renewal in 3 years that things go much smoother. Thank you again both so much!


  24. Posted by radonc nurse on July 10, 2010 at 6:31 pm

    Many, many thanks for this website! Congratulations for “coming out” in the media. I had called HR a couple of hours before the strike was settled to say I would be working. After news of the settlement, I responded to a request for comments on MPR, which was followed by a phone interview. I gave permission to the reporter to use my name. On Friday morning, in print and audio, the world (or at least the listening area) knew I wouldn’t have supported the strike. I realized if I was ready to stand on my convictions Tuesday, I shouldn’t be ashamed of them on Friday. So far- no repercussions.
    This has all been very empowering. I hope we can grow out of this as a team. Thank you again!


    • Posted by nomobforme on July 10, 2010 at 8:33 pm

      It is interesting to me that MNA reps came by our unit and announced the names of people who had resigned from the union. I believe they did this to try to get members to punish those involved and bring shame on the resignees. However, so far, all seems pretty normal. I am thankful for my co-workers who are respecting my opinion and treating me as they always have.


      • Posted by Dee on July 11, 2010 at 6:33 am

        If there is any harassment at work, let your manager and HR dept know and contact the Natl Right to Work Foundation at the number or email in the NRTW press release in the tab at the top of the page. If they don’t already know, I would also notify all of the above about the “announcement” the MNA reps made at work. That too could be considered a form of harassment.


      • Posted by Kevin RN on July 11, 2010 at 8:45 pm

        Forget resigning from the union, it only disempowers you. Work for change within, you own this union after all! The harrasesment should be foisted on the hacks who sold our union to the CNA-NNU in the first place. Lets take back what is ours!


      • This is a great example of why we need a change in leadership in MNA…..many reps did not listen to concerns of the nurses and instead promoted the agenda of the MNA/NNU.


        • Posted by Dee on July 13, 2010 at 6:30 am

          It seems to me that MNA started down the wrong path when they didn’t follow the bylaws to sever ties with ANA. The more I read about the results of NNU action across the country the more I think MNA’s affiliation should be re-examined. The very same things that happened here has happened elsewhere. This is not an isolated incident.


      • Posted by Zoe'smom on July 12, 2010 at 10:33 pm

        After I mailed in my resignation from the union I received a phone call from the MNA. Diane (of the MNA) left a message stating she needed me to call back and confirm that I really wanted to resign. There was nothing ambiguous about my resignation. Thank you Penny and Dee for your courage in stepping out. Don’t let the bullies get you down!


  25. Posted by iresigned on July 11, 2010 at 8:49 am

    Penny and Dee :

    What a treasure you have been to the nursing profession in Minneapolis.
    You are the lights that we could follow in this very dark hour.
    This blog has been the only place where any truth could be found .
    The environment in all the hospitals has been so fogged by the rhetoric of the union voice, that we could barely come up for air.

    We nurses who have been attached to you and this voice rejoice!
    You led the charge in the battle.
    The war is not won however.
    There are still a huge amount of nurses who have a campaign , and all we need to do is go to the NNU website to understand it.
    It will take strategy and awareness for all the RN’s to the city to become actively involved in the process of protecting our careers and professions.

    My prayers are for both of you, my coworkers and the hospitals , that the RN’s will develope the way to rebuild and protect our professions. This war is not over.

    I ,for my part, repeat what I posted earlier, I will never rejoin the MNA, until the MNA has a NO STRIKE CLAUSE . This needs to be our repeated refrain. Tom, you are so correct. Everyone, get behind a movement with your managers and coworkers to have this agreement implemented.


    • iresigned, from what I understand we have one….except after June 1st it is basically null and void since we don’t have a contract. What I am looking into is binding arbitration as an option…which if negotiations fail and mediators do not settle then it would go to binding arbitration. Waiting to hear on other options…you are right the war is not over!


  26. After reading the comments on the Strib I want to say that I don’t feel threatened by my co-workers…but I do feel threatened by the anonymous comments that have come into this blog and through facebook. For those who say I am hiding….what is your name? And no I don’t have trouble getting along with my co-workers….and I resigned the day before the one day strike and wrote a letter to my tri-chairs to let them know I would not support a strike. I can look in the mirror every morning and know I did the right thing for the patients….I hope you can all do the same.


  27. Posted by iresigned on July 13, 2010 at 8:02 am

    Penny :
    Referring to you note on July 13, 6:30. I agree with you entirely. MNA is not an isolated situation, and I also agree this began when the MNA dropped the ANA using their own interpretation of procedure.

    Nurses in Minnesota need to be able to determine what they feel is required for their careers, not the leadership of a mega organization that is tied to ever more mega organization.
    We will never have a voice if this attachment is not severed.
    The effort should be made.
    As the commercial says: ” We’re worth it!” !!!!


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