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Report from the Patient Care Committee

August 8, 2012

Union stewards and activists Karen Pelone, L&D, Lady Lea Mason, ER, and Linda Epstein, CVICU, met with hospital representatives during the July Patient Care Committee Meeting.

ER — The hospital reported that it hired a new ER  manager who will start on August 13.  We again proposed security improvements (see next article) and reviewed ER patient falls.

Drug Reconciliation – The hospital is still working on the program.

RRT – The hospital reported that the new RRT program seems to be working.  The hospital has created a distribution list for all employees who wish to sign up for the RRT position.  If you are interested, make sure your name is on the list.

Staffing by Acuity? The Patient Acuity Committee is meeting in September.  RNs interested in serving on the Committee, should email Judy Serlin, SEIU 121RN representative, at serlinj@seiu121rn. org or talk to Karen Pelone (L&D), Sandy Thompson (ER), or Jim Owen (PACU).

Peds/PICU and Children's Tarzana is now exploring the creation of a  “joint venture” with Children’s based on a program Stanford has with a  hospital in San Francisco.  CEO Dale Surowitz has said this proposal would not impact hospital staffing.  We are awaiting more info.

Hospital Cleanliness – The hospital is replacing broken sections of flooring, fixing leaking pipes, and is engaged in gnat control (everything from education to better traps).  Help facilities management do their jobs by reporting problems.  Administration is also working with IS and IT when concerns arise over printers & computers and other equipment.

Computer Charting – Our Union raised concerns on behalf of Peds and NICU RNs who have been floated to units within the pod and RRT in the ER.  Charting requirements are different and RNs need to be trained or assignments need to be made which note these issues. Similarly, PACU RNs need access to discharge screens.

Calling in Sick — Our Union received a number of complaints about responses to our sick calls. We raised this concern.  Know Your Rights: You must state that you are sick but you do not have  to provide specific details. You have a right to be treated with courtesy and respect at all times.

Breaks/Lunch — In line with the recent court case decision, you still have the right to take three 10-minute breaks and two lunch periods of 30 minutes, one of which may be waived.

Human Resources — Live Streaming —The program will go live in August.  Stand by.  Let us know about your concerns.

Hospital Security

Jan Andelson, an ER RN, filed a grievance regarding hospital security measures after she was attacked by a patient.  Jan, Sandy Thompson and Lady Lea Mason, both ER stewards, met with HR to propose the following:  Signage which alerts patients and their families that it is a crime to assault a healthcare worker and that no weapons are allowed in the ER, a security guard in the ER,  patrol of  the RME, additional training for all ER employees, and other life saving measures.

An employee on the night shift left at 5 a.m. and requested that security escort her to her car.  Since there was a guard at the lot, security advised her accordingly. Later, there was a code gray and the “World” security guards did not respond. Human Resources was notified of both incidents, and as a result, security will receive the training they need to do their job and we will be better protected as we do ours.

In response to recent incidents at the Etiwanda parking lot, the hospital has posted a security guard there from 4:30  a.m. to 9:30 a.m. and 3:30 p.m. to 8 p.m.

Specialty Pay and/or Clinical Ladder

Our contract recognizes the efforts we make to improve our clinical practice.  Whether we are a PT, CLS, a dietician or an RN, the contract contains objective language which recognize extra education and certifications that we bring to our practice to improve patient care.

As jobs get more competitive and standards of practice have increased through regulation and the encouragement of professional organizations, specialty pay and a Clinical Ladder is one way employees receive recognition for professionalism.  This was an important item in bargaining last year and it will be even more important in 2013 when we return to the bargaining table!  We are proud of our Clinical Ladder which is based on measurable objective standards.