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Leg Conference Update

July 18, 2011

Nurses participating in the Nurse Alliance of California’s (NA of CA) Legislative Conference in Sacramento May 11 learned:

Safe Patient Handling

A study on nurses lifting and the resulting low back pain was presented. The cumulative weight lifted by a nurse in one typical eight-hour shift is equivalent to 1.8 tons! (Tuohy-Main, 1997) This can cause micro tears in our spine. The bottom line: After assessing your patient, always request assistance before lifting!

AB 1136, a Safe Patient Handling bill, has been proposed in the California State Assembly to help prevent RN injuries, and NA of CA nurses are lobbying to get it passed.

Workplace Violence

In light of two nurses who were killed on duty in northern California last year, SEIU Nurse Alliance continues to rally for new legislation to keep California nurses safe.

AB 30 has been proposed in the California State Assembly to address workplace violence prevention, and, again, NA of CA nurses are lobbying legislators to get it passed.

I had the opportunity to speak directly to State Senator Tony Strickland, on May 6. Strickland is vice chair of the Health Committee. SEIU continues to fight for our rights and workplace safety!

Horizontal Workplace Violence

We also need to learn how to recognize abnormal behaviors by coworkers, doctors and staff to prevent violence by fellow staff. Know that you do have a voice. Our Union, SEIU 121RN, is here to listen.

Post Traumatic Stress Disorder and Vicarious Trauma

Laurie Barkin, RN, MSN, has penned a book based on her own experience in the trauma ER at San Francisco General Hospital called “The Comfort Garden.” It’s been noted nationally in NurseWeek and is available at It is a riveting and insightful story from a nurse’s perspective about how this kind of work affects us more than we realize.

In Solidarity, Donna Anderson, RNC, NICU SEIU 121RN Union Steward

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