For too long, nurses have been asked to provide patients with high-quality care amidst dangerously low staffing levels. Never has this fact been illustrated more vividly than during the COVID-19 pandemic, as ERs have run out of beds and hospitals have been overrun with novel coronavirus cases.
But there is hope now that California’s hospitals can no longer rely on “pandemic waivers” to skirt around nurse-to-patient staffing rules. This is big news for everyone in the healthcare field and all of us who depend on them for care!
“I’ve been very involved in it from the beginning of the pandemic,” said Lianna Boyajyan, a Registered Nurse at the Olive View-UCLA Medical Center and a member of SEIU 721. “I am glad to hear the news that we’ve finally stopped ‘team nursing’ or ‘ratio waivers.’ Now, I’ll have more time for patients, and their families, to explain, to teach, to support, to give hope, to grieve – which has been nearly impossible so far during the COVID pandemic.”
The end of “pandemic waivers” – recently announced by the California Department of Public Health – marks a huge victory for our union, and especially for nurses and hospital personnel.
“We took action together as a union,” said Alexandra “Alex” Tapia, a Registered Nurse at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center and a member of SEIU 721. “Thanks to our organizing, we beat back the waivers removing protection for our patients.”
This huge win is yet another example of the power of our union and the value of union membership. Our union’s advocacy with key members of important state healthcare agencies, and Governor Gavin Newsom’s Administration, played a major role in securing it.
When we unite and fight, we deliver results – as the end of state “pandemic waivers” proves. The stronger our union is, the more effectively we can fight this fight.