UNAC/UHCP Members in Sacramento Tell Their Stories

June 2016

In April 2016, a group of UNAC/UHCP members traveled to Sacramento to speak with legislators. The following are written testimonials about the experience.

Viera Daniels, RN, Peds | Parkview Registered Nurses Association

"Our first visit was with Assembly Member Tony Thurmond and he was very receptive to taking us. During the conversation, I tried to explain to him and paint a picture of Parkview Community Hospital in Riverside--a small nonprofit Hospital in an under-served area of Riverside, where most of our patients do not have medical coverage. Most hospitals have some staffing issues but community hospitals are especially understaffed. In my unit, acuity is not taken into account when determining nurse-to-patient ratios.  This is very dangerous for the patient and is very dangerous for the nurses trying to provide care of these patients. Assembly Member Thurmond stated that a hospital in his district had been closed and therefore he is very aware of the need for staffing ratios and staffing to acuity.  He said at the end of our meeting that he had learned a new word, acuity."

Edwin Guardado, RN, Tele | St. Francis Registered Nurses Association

"On April 18, 2016 I found myself in Sacramento listening attentively to the budget committee hearing for the Department of Health Services Licensing and Certification division. As I listened to the Department discuss ongoing issues with recruiting surveyors and standardizing their own wages, I kept coming back to the word "standard." This word triggered in my mind memories of so many hard moments during my career as a nurse. I began to realize that we had a purpose there. We all have experienced working short staffed in extremely unsafe work environments. We still do what only a nurse can do in the midst of systems issues created by management that place not only health care professionals at risk but most importantly, our patients at risk. I felt it necessary to ask the Department of Health to please do more to mandate safe patient ratios. My closing comments were relative to what we all feel are vital. In our case at all of our affiliates, safe standards of care should never be compromised.

"I would like to thank Eric Robles and UNAC/UHCP Leadership for the opportunity. I feel honored to work alongside people that have always had character and continue to advocate for patients."