Thursday, December 31, 2015

That was an interesting year

That was an interesting year.

I went from bedside to boardroom and had enough experiences to write a book.
(maybe I will some day)

I started the year as an ER registered nurse, in my 16th year as a nurse and my 21st year in the ER.  I was treating heart attacks, traumas, ODs, and cut fingers.  I was literally a part of saving lives and sometimes not being able to save them.

I was president of the Backus Nurse's Local and fighting management to protect my member's rights.
Now I'm State Federation VP and fighting for the rights of 30,000 members but also finding myself a manager of our own staff.
It's quite a change.

Along the way I have established and deepened relationships with so many people, some of whom I knew previously, some I have met, and some I only knew from afar.
Although no longer in a position to have to make life and death decisions, I now have to make decisions that can effect a larger number of people's lives.

I was asked which position was more stressful by some education visitors from Baltimore.
I guess you have to be in healthcare to understand.

The decisions I now make weigh heavy on my heart, sometimes incredibly heavy. 
My work day often extends to 9 or 10 in the evening and I may not be in the office on the weekends but I am probably working every day of the week......
But, it is not the same as titrating multiple IV drips in an effort to keep someone's father alive, it is not the same as standing with a young mother when she realizes her infant is not going to wake up, it is not the same as hugging a new nurse as she cries after caring for and stabilizing a young car accident victim who is her brother's age, as she watches him being shipped to a higher level of care hospital, not being sure what his final outcome will be, and telling her she did a good job...she gave him a chance.

My transition has not been without bumps in the road.  I was not perfect as a nurse and I'm not perfect as a leader.  I make mistakes. I do hope I learn from them.  I have an incredible amount of support, at home from Michelle who has been there for me for 40 years, and at work from incredible leadership partners and staff and from supporters from around the state and country.

I do want to say something about my transition.  When I ran for this office, I ran as a part of a ticket.  I was not running to replace the then sitting VP, I was running because I believed in the ticket as a whole.
I had a discussion with Steve early in the campaign and explained this.  We agreed that we would refrain from any negative campaigning.  He kept his word and he assisted me in the transition.  He is a gentleman in every sense of the word and I thank him for his service.  I hope I can be as much a gentleman when the time comes that someone runs against me.

No one can know what the new year will bring, but Labor is at a crossroad.
Union membership is at an all-time low and we are being assaulted in the courts by cases designed to deal a death blow, yet public opinion polls show more people now see unions in a positive light. Perhaps we realize that incredible income inequality and the shrinking of the middle class is turning us into a society of haves and have nots.  People see that standing together in unions may be the only thing that can reverse this trend.
We have our work cut out for us, but being a unionist is like being a nurse. 
It's not a profession, it's a vocation.

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