President’s Message – June 2011
Most people know Registered Nurses simply as caregivers. And that we are. What the public doesn't often see is that beyond functioning as “angels of mercy,” there are times when RNs must step in and forcefully advocate for patients in matters ranging from acquiring sleeping aids for a patient when none have been ordered to preventing life threatening medications from being administered.
Every day, Registered Nurses save lives. A Registered Nurse functions as more than just a trusted colleague to a doctor. The RN can make the difference between life and death. Registered Nurses are a vital link between physicians and patients because the RNs provide the bulk of the care to patients. Registered Nurses make up the largest segment of health care employees. Whether you're in a hospital or a doctor's office, we are literally everywhere. We are on the frontlines of care, and we are the last line of defense.
One of the unique features about a Registered Nurses' union is that we bargain for ways to strengthen our role as patient advocates. However, at the bargaining table lately, we have had to fight tooth and nail for our wages and benefits in addition to the right to bring patient safety issues to the attention of management. Speaking up for ourselves is not something that Registered Nurses are used to doing, but we've learned the best way to do this is to join together in a union and use our collective voice. This year, I say we make every week Nurses Week. Health care is a team sport, RNs are vital members of the team, and this can be said for all the health care professionals who make up the United Nurses Associations of California/Union of Health Care Professionals.
Ken Deitz, RN