Tuesday, March 1, 2011


One day last week we had 25 holds in our 33 bed ED!  What is going on? Where are all these people coming from?  The last 3 weeks have been unbelievable, on diversion part of most days, borrowing stretchers from around the hospital, people in every hallway and corner.  We're getting tired.  Administration assures us that every bed is being utilized, I am not sure.

One of the roles of a nurse, one of the most important roles I think, is to advocate for his patients.  Saturday I had the opportunity to do that in a new way for me.  My state representative, Mae Flexer, Representative Rovero of Putnam, and state senate president Don Williams held an open house in Killingly.  I had spoken to Mae last week at church and filled her in on our union effort at work.  She had many good questions and offered to help in any way she could.  I wanted to drop off a mission statement and our first 2 newsletters to her and also do the same for senator Williams.  What I did not know is that there would be me, 25 members of the tea party, and 3 democratic legislators.  Let me just say, my views do not align with the tea party's.  I felt the need to be debriefed after the 2 hours.  I did get the chance to speak with both Mae and Don in private.  I gave them both copies of the  literature.  Senator Williams was not yet aware of our efforts so I filled him in. He thanked me for the literature and update and is looking forward to a more formal meeting with some of us in the future.  Yes, it was a painful 2 hours, but important in fulfilling our obligation to advocate for our patients, our families, ourselves, our community and our hospital.  I see all of these obligations as intertwined.  Someday in the future, a patient at Backus will be sick and a nurse with experience will recognize what is happening and act quickly and the patient will have an improved outcome.  That experienced nurse will be at bedside because we had the courage and determination to advocate for them now.  We will not see the result of that interaction but it will happen.

A big thank you to our colleagues at other area hospitals and other departments for helping us out these past few weeks, we couldn't do it without you.  Our union is not some outside "third party ", it is me and you and the nurses you work with every day, coming together, reaching a consensus, and speaking with one voice. We will be partners with administration, working to make Backus better.For this to happen we need active members from every floor, every shift, every age group, because it is diversity of ideas that makes us strong.Is this dream possible? You bet it is! It is happening already, one floor at a time. I invite you to join us.

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