Editorial in today’s Star Tribune

Nurses push for unproven ratios.

Read the research and you come away with a very different view about the fixed ratios that MNA and NNU push.


23 responses to this post.

  1. Posted by answer to prayer on July 19, 2010 at 12:17 pm

    Reading the editorial in today’s paper re-affirmed for me the importance of all of us viewing and posting on this blog to band together and get our voices heard. If MNA is successful in getting these ratios through the legislature, the hospitals will have no choice but to reorganize/downsize or find ways to reduce costs in other areas to maintain solvency. This will inevitably lead to lost jobs, decreased resources for equipment/education and any number of other things. I am looking forward to meeting on August 19th…Let’s gather our thoughts, experiences and ideas and present the public and our lawmakers with another view from real RN’S! The MNA does not own the Nurse voice!


    • Posted by answer to prayer on July 19, 2010 at 12:56 pm

      I am considering submitting a counterpiece to the Star and Tribune, laying out a differing view point from a nurses perspective then the MNA is consistently presenting. I believe this issue really comes down to common sense and you don’t have to be an expert in anything nurse to realize that strict ratios will not benefit patient care. Curious if there is anyone who would like to join me in crafting this piece…of course we would be obliged to lend our name to what we submit to the paper…let me know what you think.


      • “Prayer”I am with you. This is something to be set forth by nurses. What do legislators know about what nurses need except what MNA lobbyists tell them? And MNA does not seem to be a true reflection/voice of what many nurses want/need ? It appears our legislature has bigger fish to fry than our issues if you know anything about politics today. Keep politics/government out ! (They will be in soon enough with the new healthcare reform) We need to establish a rapport with our own administration and physicians to build a model that will work for everybody involved–the nurse, patients, physicians, and hospitals. Is this too “pie n the sky” to hope for?
        Prayer-you can get my e-mail from Penny if you’d like….


        • Posted by answer to prayer on July 19, 2010 at 1:43 pm

          Dragonfly, I completely agree. In fact, when engaging my fellow colleagues at Children’s in regard to the idea of strict ratios, most of them (EVEN many die hard union backers) do not believe this is the best or only way to improve patient safety and care. So I ask, why is the union continuing to push for this. I believe it is ultimately about power and has very little to do with our practice. I truly believe if we speak to our fellow RN’s and the public’s good judgment and common sense regarding this issue, it will not only better inform the public what strict ratios could mean for them, but could potentially galvanize other nurses to be heard and demand to be honestly represented by this union. I am committed to going forward with this piece…two(or more) voices are better than one.


          • Posted by answer to prayer on July 19, 2010 at 1:46 pm

            Dragonfly. I missed your last comment about getting your e-mail. I will contact Penny or Dee, they both know who I am. Can we meet up and talk about the points we would like to set forth within the next few days?


      • Posted by answer to prayer on July 22, 2010 at 11:56 am

        Did anyone catch the 2 letters to the editor in today’s paper? Thank you Genevieve from Pasadena…SHE definitely hit the nail on the head!…Also, interesting to see the comment by Tom Kelly of the MNA.. quote “Minnesota hospitals are safer than in many states” How is it that the union can continually speak out of both side of it’s mouth. Which is it? Are we safe or unsafe here? One cannot argue for mandated ratios because of dangerously unsafe staffing and also make a comment such as this


        • Read the editorial and I agree this nurse is 100% correct ! As most nurses know, it is staffing by acuity that makes for safe patient care and not ratios. Not all patients require the same amont of care—duh….Didn’t we all learn that in Nursing 101?


          • Staffing by acuity is what gives us the power to make patients a 1:1 or 1:2 if they need to be…and yes we did learn that in Nursing 101….I think some just may have forgotten….LOL


  2. Posted by anotherview on July 20, 2010 at 11:06 am

    Please please – you cannot believe what is occurring at ANW. The reps and chairs are filling out unsafe staffing forms every time you turn around. They have nurses completing them for shifts that have not even occurred. They are saying the ratios should be 2:1 on m/s units. The fact that this is happening really makes me wonder how collaborative MNA will be with Management on this. We can work together to make it safer for patients and nurses but we need to work TOGETHER. Filling out hundreds of unsafe staffing forms that managers have to spend all of their time researching is not the answer. Sometimes nurses complete the form and they never even asked for help on a shift. How is that management’s fault if no one asked? If anyone out there is from ANW, please approach your manager or director and let them know you will help tackle this important project.


    • Posted by Dee on July 20, 2010 at 11:45 am

      They made it clear on the MNA Facebook page that this was a strategy they were going to pursue. They should be disciplined for filling out unsafe staffing form without justification. And I do hope that the ANW is keeping track of how many reports are filled out, how many are found to be warranted, and who are the abuses of the reports. They obviously want to use the number of reports filled out as their “proof” of unsafe staffing which is actually irrelevant.

      And if anyone sees them filling out forms for shifts that haven’t occurred then they should be reported to managers with date, time, place, and who is involved. Document what you are seeing and hearing.

      This is just more evidence of the manipulation that the union reps are participating in and encouraging. This is the first place you need to look in electing people to represent you.


    • Posted by wildfox on July 20, 2010 at 12:26 pm

      This is news is upsetting…unsafe staffing forms do have a meaningful purpose and to use them as a barganning chip negates MNA’s “we care for you” “patients first” propaganda. I have faith that karma will prevail and the people who have NO business caring for sick patients will get what is coming to them …as they asked for it. As stated we must keep our eyes and ears open and report inappropriate use of these forms. An idea …. if you are working and staffing is good and these forms are being filled out on your shift email your manager. WE ALL need to work together to provide excellent patient care and not play into MNA’s mindgames.


      • Posted by Angie on July 20, 2010 at 6:55 pm

        Agree Wildfox! 🙂


        • Posted by acsofs on July 21, 2010 at 10:54 pm

          This behavior is deceitful and may harm patients in the long run. Boy who cried wolf stories do not end well. Thanks for the heads up. I’ll keep my eye out for any issues like this and report them if they occur.


    • anotherview, I think everyone needs a little education on interest based negotiations in which we are supposed to be participating in. We should be entering into negotiations with a win-win attitude. We should not be working towards another strike in 2 1/2 years but work towards making the environment better for our patients and everyone else. The hundreds of unsafe staffing forms will only do MNA good next time around when they show them to the media and say how things did not change…..instead of working with management to actually make things better. We all need to educate those we work and become part of the solution…..I am hoping to find out soon at Children’s how we can become involved in improving staffing even if we are not part of the bargaining unit of MNA. I am still up north but will return soon, hope all is well!


  3. I learned there is a MNA “protocol” for unsafe staffing forms. The supervisor/manager must be notified at the time they are filled out (like immediatley as occurring) or they are considered null and void. Anyone have access to the rules surrounding the unsafe staffing forms?


    • Posted by abbottnurse on July 24, 2010 at 3:04 pm

      I remember that there is a question on the form which asks the writer if she notified the charge nurse when she realized the situation was unsafe and what the charge nurse did to help. When I’ve worked charge, I either help the nurse out myself, call the circulator, or find another nurse who isn’t as busy to help.


  4. Posted by Tom on July 23, 2010 at 10:53 am

    As you prepare to meet and discuss next steps in August, I have a couple suggestions that you may want to consider. They would take a commitment of time and would require time “off the clock”; however, I think they might be useful to you individually and as a group.

    The first would be to approach your manager and ask if it would be possible to get an orientation to your hospital’s staffing office. The best time would probably be a couple hours before a shift change to day or relief. This would give a real picture of how your hospital’s acuity system works and the effort needed to make staffing adjustments which may be necessary to cover census changes plus scheduled admits and surgeries.

    The second would be to take on a volunteer role for some managable period of time in your hospital. Somewhere away from your home unit so you could be “anonymous” if you wish. This gives a whole different perspective on what happens in your organization outside your usual point of view.

    Finally, I offer you all one of my favorite quotations by Jose Ortega y Gasset. It is entitled “Discovering Reality” and I think it describes the journey you are on.

    The word which the Greeks used for truth is
    “Aletheia”, which meaks discovery,
    to take away the veil that covers and hides a thing.
    Facts cover up reality; while we are
    in the midst of their innumerable swarmings
    we are in chaos and confusion.
    In order to discover reality we must
    for a moment lay aside the facts
    that surge about us, and remain alone with our minds.
    Then, on our own risk and account,
    we imagine a reality. We construct an imaginary reality.
    We . . . compare those facts which
    the imagined reality would produce with the actual facts
    which surround us.
    If they mate happily one with another,
    we have discovered the rality which the facts
    covered and kept secret.


  5. Posted by TC on July 24, 2010 at 11:44 am

    Did anyone see the May 2010 issue of National Nurse magazine? I just received mine in the mail a little over a week ago (I’m still part of the union). I was aggravated when I read the article about the strike here in the Twin Cities. The article specifically stated that “One key proposal the union has put forward will improve patient care by assuring adequated staffing at all times, on all shifts, BASED ON PATIENT ACUITY.” Did I miss something with the whole strike/ negotiations. I’m pretty sure the union was pushing for strict patient staffing RATIOS. My unit already bases their staffing on acuity so if acuity was what they were fighting for then no fight was needed for my unit. Another article that made my blood boil was one in where they are talking about CA and fighting against Meg Whitman for governor. In the article the author Rose Ann DeMoro, Executive Director of NNU says “With the arrogance familiar to any nurse who has met their hospital CEO or nursing director, Whitman demanded that we hand over to her the home addresses of all of our members…” Now I don’t know about any of you but I have met a CEO of a hospital I worked at in Detroit. He was not arrogant, he was down to earth, average joe kind of CEO. He was very approachable. I’ve also met several nursing directors. None have been arrogant. I also during the strike/ negotiations emailed Ken Paulus to give him my thoughts and ideas etc. He was kind enough to send me a reply, did not seem arrogant at all. Now I am sure that there are CEO’s and management people who stink and look down on other staff etc, but don’t feel that ALL CEO’S and management are like that. Like anything in life there are good and bad ones. Reading through this magazine issue it appeared to me as if I was reading propaganda to push a certain ideology.

    As for MNA pushing strict staffing ratios, my thought is that it’ll force hospitals to hire more nurses therefore more nurses = more union members. More union members = more money for union. More money for union = more power.


    • TC….I have resigned my membership the day before the 1 day strike but I still received the National Nurse magazine. You hit the nail on the head….we already staff for acuity so what were we striking for? I do realize there may be hospitals and units that need some work….but I will continue to fight that striking will not pave the way for patient safety. I also agree that CEO’s and nursing directors cannot all be labeled as arrogant…..there are nurses who would be in that group also. We need to lose the attitiude and work with management if we truely want what is best for the patients.


    • Posted by Angie on July 25, 2010 at 5:58 pm

      TC..your last sentence says it all. That’s exactly why MNA attempted to push for “strict ratios”. And why NNU continues to push this agenda across the country. I’ve seen flyers posted throughout my hospital regarding meetings set up for “next steps” for safe staffing. I will be making every effort to attend, listen to what is being planned and voice my opinion. As Penny said, some units do need work. However, the contract language in place needs to be utilized and nurses need to step up and be willing to do the work to make changes. I co-chaired the staffing committee on my unit, I know it can be done and we have the “flex” grid to prove it! It seems from what I have read from MNA, the next push is for legislation to mandate ratios and endorsing candidates they feel will make this happen. Hopefully we can all brainstorm and come up with other possible solutions!


  6. Posted by Not A Union Fan RN on July 25, 2010 at 3:26 pm


    Not a lot of information but the website was a good idea….thought it was interesting and that you all might want to check it out.

    It’s called “RN’s Against Forced Unionism”


    • Thank you for sharing this link….I especially liked the youtube video near the end from Inland Valley Hosp….very interesting that many of their thoughts and feelings were mirrored here on this blog.


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