Minnesota Nursing Accent Summer 2021

Page 1

MINNESOTA NURSING Accent SUMMER 2021 | Volume 93 No. 2

Nurses are fighting back – from safe staffing issues to emergency leave

InInthis thisissue issue

• Nurses say ‘yes to invest’ – page 5 • Supporting BIPOC communities with • Take your advocacy to a new level: vaccination and education - page 2 run for office - page 17 • Nursing after the pandemic: reset and • Where do you dues go?– page 18-22 rebuild - page 8 • Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus, Species - Considering a Name Change for MNA - page 9


minnesota nursing accent

Feature Story Supporting BIPOC communities with vaccination and education

Shirlynn LaChapelle, RN, has been involved in community work all her life. In 2020, her story was no different. She has been volunteering at vaccine clinics for more than a year now, helping to make sure communities of color receive the vaccine. Additionally, Shirlynn has been volunteering her time educating communities of color about the vaccine and why they should get vaccinated. Communities of color and Indigenous communities have been disproportionately affected by the COVID-19 pandemic as they are at a higher risk for severe illness from COVID-19 than white Minnesotans. Black Minnesotans are testing positive for COVID-19 at a rate greater than white Minnesotans, and Latinx and Native Hawaiian/OPI Minnesotans are testing positive for COVID-19 at over two times the rate of white Minnesotans (Minnesota Department of Health, June 2021). Shirlynn got involved in educating communities of color about the vaccine through a COVID-19 grant with the Minnesota Department of Human Services (DHS). “The reluctance is huge in the Black community and other communities of color,” says Shirlynn. Oftentimes, she’d encounter people who were concerned about the speed at which the vaccine was put out, and she’d talk to them about how the vaccine was created: “I explained that the messenger RNA was originally used as the vehicle to kill cancer. It was a targeted messenger to kill cancer cells. That same vehicle was used for the COVID-19 vaccines so the cell would detect the COVID-19 virus and the body could prevent it from being overwhelmed.” She would also educate people on how we, as a society, got to where we are today in regards to vaccines, saying, “We’re alive today because of other vaccines—polio, smallpox—diseases they’ve only heard about. They don’t know anyone who has had them because of the vaccines.” Shirlynn also spent some of her time volunteering with Ramsey County, working with the unhoused population. “When Ramsey County had people housed in hotels, I would go to the hotels to educate them on the COVID-19 virus and why they should wear masks and get the vaccine. This was a weekly visit at the hotels,” she says. After chatting and discussing people’s concerns, Shirlynn found that it helped put people more at ease to get the vaccine. During education sessions, they’d make sure to have all of the information people needed to get a vaccine, including lists of clinics and instructions on how to get appointments. “As of the last two months or so,” Shirlynn shares, “it’s been far easier to get an appointment. You just walk in somewhere, to one Supporting BIPOC communities cont. on page 5

Minnesota Nursing Accent

Minnesota Nurses Association 345 Randolph Avenue, Ste. 200 Saint Paul, MN 55102 651-414-2800/800-536-4662 SUMMER 2021 PUBLISHER Rose Roach MANAGING EDITORS Lauren C. Nielsen Chris Reinke BOARD OF DIRECTORS Mary Turner, President Chris Rubesch, 1st Vice President Doreen McIntyre, 2nd Vice President Jennifer Michelson, Secretary Sandie Anderson, Treasurer Directors Laurie Bahr, RN Angela Becchetti, RN Daniel Clute, RN Bridget Gavin, RN Heather Jax, RN Susan Kreitz, RN Lynnetta Muehlhauser, RN Stella Obadiya, RN Gail Olson, RN Rui Pina, RN Angela Schroeder Malone, RN Judy Russell-Martin, RN Office Hours: Monday-Friday 8:15 a.m. - 4:30 p.m. Subscriptions Published: March, June, September, January Opinions

All opinions submitted are subject to the approval of the publisher, who reserves the right to refuse any advertising content which does not meet standards of acceptance of the Minnesota Nurses Association. Minnesota Nursing Accent (ISSN 0026-5586) is published four times annually by the

Minnesota Nurses Association

345 Randolph Avenue, Ste. 200, Saint Paul, MN 55102. Periodicals Postage paid at Saint Paul, MN and additional mailing offices. Postmaster, please send address changes to: Minnesota Nurses Association 345 Randolph Avenue, Ste. 200 Saint Paul, MN 55102.


minnesota nursing accent

Executive Director’s Column Coming together as one, as nurses The annual MNA Convention is a cornerstone of the union. It is an opportunity for you, as members, to come together and create change. It is democracy in action. Our membership is diverse. Our nurses are of all different races, ethnicities, religions, genders, sexual orientations, political ideologies, backgrounds, and so much more. Because of these differences, we are a strong and diverse union. While members are each different in so many ways, you are all the same in one: you are nurses. Convention is a time to come together, to share our thoughts and ideas, to shape our union and its future. As MNA’s highest governing body, the House of Delegates (HOD) is made up of nurses. In the past, delegates were elected to the body on a statewide level. Recently, the election process moved to facility-based elections to further promote attendance and representation across our entire membership. Those who choose to become delegates have opportunities to learn, not just from trainings and educations, but from one another. Convention offers nurses a place to discuss nursing issues, union policy, and ways to grow our collective voice and power as a union. Delegates are elected to represent you and your fellow nurses’ voices. Consider becoming a member of the House of Delegates yourself or, if your facility has already elected its delegates, I encourage you to start a conversation with them. Tell your delegates about what you envision for the future of your union, so they can learn how best to represent their colleagues. The best way for you to make an impact in your union? Act. This year, the convention will be held in person from October 3-5, 2021. I invite each of you to participate, if you can. When we work collectively, there’s nothing we cannot accomplish. I look forward to seeing many of you at Convention this year and to collectively shaping our shared vision for a strong and lasting Minnesota Nurses Association.

What is Medicare for All?

The movement for Medicare for All (M4A) is snowballing, and no wonder! Millions of people in the United States are not receiving healthcare because they simply can’t afford it. We’ve heard enough stories: delaying a test because of high copays and deductibles; skipping doses because prescriptions are too expensive; or turning to bankruptcy and GoFundMe to deal with outrageous medical bills. People are dying unnecessarily. People are waking to the possibility of Medicare for All, a transformative healthcare reform that would provide quality care to all people, regardless of wealth, age, or employment status. MNA nurses and many other healthcare professionals have long supported the fight for a single payer system like Medicare for All. Rep. Pramila Jayapal (D-WA) introduced the Medicare for All Act again this year, as support increased nationwide to nearly 70%. Since its introduction, the bill gained momentum with 115 U.S. Representatives signing on as co-sponsors including Rep. Ilhan Omar (DFL-MN) and most recently, Rep. Betty McCollum (DFL-MN). Medicare for All changes the Medicare system to provide universal healthcare that includes expanded dental, hearing, vision, and home- and community-based long-term care, in-patient and out-patient services, mental health and substance abuse treatment, reproductive and maternity care, prescription drugs, and more with little or no cost to everyone enrolled. Join us! Now is the time to act. Call U.S. Senator Tina Smith’s office at (202) 224-5641 and ask her to become a co-sponsor of Medicare for All Act. You can also call Senator Amy Klobuchar’s office at (202) 224-3244. Do it for the health of yourself, your family, and your community! For questions or additional ways to get involved, contact MNA Political Organizer, Cameron Fure at 651.252.5028 (call/ text) or at Cameron.Fure@mnnurses.org.


minnesota nursing accent

President’s Column Let’s make sure we’re prepared to fight back Heads up, nurses! As nurses, it seems we are always facing a threat. Pandemics, hospital mergers and closures, or safe staffing ratios—no matter the nature, we stand at the ready against any threat that comes our way. Now is no different. Telehealth, a Nurse licensure compact, a healthcare gig economy—these are some of the threats I am guarding against on the federal COVID-19 Health Equity Task Force. Now is not the time to sit back, but rather a time to learn, prepare, and stand ready for these fights ahead of us. As we continue to fight this pandemic, hospitals and nursing executives across the industry are trying to chip away at our entire profession. Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, the healthcare industry has seen accelerated trends around measures that are about reducing hospitals’ costs while increasing their revenue, typically through reducing labor costs—and that means us. Telehealth took advantage of the pandemic’s tendency to cause more people to fear hospitals and refrain from seeking care, and used that opportunity to expand into our profession. By using black box health information technology, telehealth replaces a Registered Nurse’s professional judgment and their direct assessment of each patient. It endangers our patients by creating barriers to effective communication, inhibiting the ability to establish trust with our patients, and increasing the risk of error by depending on unlicensed patients and caregivers to perform their own health assessments. Telehealth is not a replacement for in-person care, and it is not a friend to nurses or our patients. Healthcare corporations are supporting a Nurse licensure compact (NLC) which would cause individual state boards of nursing to relinquish control over nursing licensure for nurses outside of Minnesota to the Interstate Commission. They support the NLC because it gives them greater flexibility in hiring—meaning they can use scabs during strikes and employ nurses from out-of-state where nurse pay is much lower. NLC jeopardizes our patients and their care by enabling nurses to provide ‘care’ through remote patient monitoring and other forms of telehealth. Heard of the gig economy? Well, it’s not just for food delivery and rideshare services anymore. Combining telehealth and the Nurse licensure compact could lead to nurses being employed in gig jobs where they are only employed one shift at a time. Quality patient care shouldn’t be left to the lowest bidder. We’re seeing each of these issues popping up in our state and across the nation. At the same time, the healthcare industry is attempting to shift nurses from advocating exclusively in the interests of each patient, to focusing more on the costs of healthcare. They do this by pushing for care management and team-based care. We are trained to provide quality, safe patient care. We know what is best for our patients. And shifting RNs from direct patient care to managing patient care and managing care teams is not what’s best for our patients. Let’s make sure we’re prepared cont. on page 5

MNA Visions, Values, and Strategic Pathways for 2021 MNA Mission Statement 1. Promote the professional, economic, and personal well-being of nurses. 2. Uphold and advance excellence, integrity, and autonomy in the practice of nursing. 3. Advocate for quality care that is accessible and affordable for all.

MNA Purpose The purpose of the Minnesota Nurses Association, a union of professional nurses with unrestricted RN membership, shall be to advance the professional, economic, and general well-being of nurses and to promote the health and well-being of the public. These purposes shall be unrestricted by considerations of age, color, creed, disability, gender, gender identity, health status, lifestyle, nationality, race, religion, or sexual orientation.

MNA Vision and Values MNA is a positive, powerful union of professional direct patient care nurses that advances nursing practice, effective, safe staffing and working conditions, patient interests and works to build a healthy community, empowered profession, and fair and just society along the principles of the Main Street Contract: • Jobs at living wages • Guaranteed healthcare • A secure retirement • Equal access to quality education • A safe and clean environment • Good housing • Protection from hunger • Human rights for all • An end to discrimination • A just taxation system where corporations and the wealthy pay their fair share In practice, this means: 1. MNA empowers registered nurses to use their collective strength, knowledge, and experience to advance and enhance safe and professional nursing practice, nursing leadership, and the community health and well-being. 2. MNA promotes effective RN staffing and safe working conditions for both patients and registered nurses in direct patient care, in policy and political arenas, and in our communities. 3. MNA builds its power as a union of professional nurses by increasing its membership and exercises that power through effective internal and external organizing, and member participation, activism, education, and mobilization. 4. MNA actively promotes social, economic and racial justice and the health, security, and well-being of all in its organiza tional programs and collaborations with partner organizations. 5. MNA works in solidarity with the National Nurses United and the AFL-CIO to build a worker movement that promotes the rights of patients, nurses, and workers across the United States.

Strategic Pathways MNA will achieve its vision through six key strategic pathways. • Strengthen the integrity of nursing practice, nursing practice environments, and safe patient staffing standards and principles. • Oppose any attacks on nursing practice and workers’ rights, including any attempts of deskilling the professional nurse’s scope of practice and right-to-work legislation. • Collectively bargain from strength across the upper Midwest • Organize externally and internally to increase MNA membership and continue to increase solidarity and participation of membership locally, regionally, and nationally. • Elect politicians who will implement nurse/worker-friendly public policy, including safe staffing and a healthcare system that includes everyone and excludes no one. • Work in solidarity with the NNU and AFL-CIO and other community allies to advance nursing, health care and worker justice issues.


minnesota nursing accent

Let’s make sure we’re prepared cont. from page 4

It feels, at times, like it’s me against the industry. While it can be quite daunting, I’m totally up for the fight!

Looking to the future, Shirlynn’s plans are no surprise. She will continue volunteering in the community as the work is not done yet. “It’s one thing to give the vaccine,” she says, “but you need people to come take the vaccine.”

Supporting BIPOC communities from page 2

of the many places around the Cities that vaccines were available for walk-ins.” Shirlynn wasn’t the only nurse actively volunteering at these clinics and participating in community education sessions. Nurses at Hennepin Health, the Black Nurses Association, and the Nigerian Nurses Association, among others, were especially active in making sure that communities of color could learn about the benefits of and receive the vaccine. “It’s a mix of ages, but lately, I’ve been seeing more younger people,” she adds, “A lot of young people are tuning into internet conspiracy theories and it’s kind of a problem.” To young people who are getting their information from the internet, Shirlynn tells them, “You know what, I would hate for you to get the virus. Research some things from the Minnesota Department of Health. And even if you get the virus and get over it, there’s something called long-hauler syndrome. People have had it for over a year and we don’t know if it will get worse. This is a monster we’ve never experienced.” The hardest part, according to Shirlynn, has been trying to get people to look and read something other than what they’ve been reading already. “What they’ve been reading is all conspiracy,” she continues, “it’s sad because it’s causing people to die unnecessarily.” While continuing her community volunteer work, Shirlynn is also making sure to remember mental health in her work. “It’s gotten to be a lot worse with COVID-19,” she says. “People are isolated, they’re frightened, they’ve lost loved ones and friends. And the added stress has had a huge impact on mental health and how they behave.” To help people process the trauma and stress from the pandemic, Shirlynn has been encouraging people to talk about some of the things they’ve gone through and what to do to keep themselves safe and healthy. “After all,” she says, “we’re all in this together.” Lots of people are noticing Shirlynn’s hard work and dedication this past year. Shirlynn was recently awarded the DAISY Community Award by the DAISY Foundation, whose mission is to express gratitude to nurses and recognize them for the extraordinary skills and care they provide to patients and families.

MNA office reopening plan As vaccination rates rise, and new COVID-19 cases and hospitalizations decrease, MNA has drafted a plan to begin the reopening of our St. Paul office. The plan structure is based on the MN Department of Health’s COVID-19 Preparedness Plan for Businesses as well as the precautionary principle to make sure we are thoughtful about the transition back to preCOVID-19 protocols. As an employer, there are a number of details we must adhere to in order to provide a safe environment for our staff and members which are outlined in the plan. You can find the detailed plan on the MNA website in the Member Center. Here’s a link to the plan for those reading the Accent electronically. We will be opening the office, and allowing staff to begin working in the field, over a five-month period with a phase-in plan that began June 1, 2021 and hopefully has the office fully open and meetings back to being in person by October 1, 2021. We will be monitoring metrics throughout this phase-in period in case circumstances change so we can re-evaluate the plan should any adjustments be required.


minnesota nursing accent

MNA Nurses Statement on the Death of Daunte Wright

“On April 11, 2021, while running an errand, 20-year old Daunte Wright was killed by an officer of the Brooklyn Center Police Department. The Twin Cities have lost another young Black man, a two-year-old son has lost his father, and a mother and her family are grieving the loss of another innocent life. MNA joins the world in mourning and grieving another life lost to police brutality, and we extend our condolences to the family of Daunte Wright. As nurses, we know Daunte Wright should be alive today. His life and all Black lives matter. This is the basic tenet of nursing practice and healthcare, and it has again been violated. Our communities, already reeling from the trial of Derek Chauvin, continue to be pummeled by systemic racism that has shown no mercy or remorse. We recognize that the harm suffered by Black, Brown, and Indigenous communities of color at the hands of racist police is emboldened by a broader culture of white supremacy. This culture plagues not only our police force, but all areas of our society, from our educational and healthcare institutions, to wealth disparities and governmental institutions. This is a public health crisis as much as it is a crisis of policing in our country. The government’s decision to respond to protests of this latest police killing with militarized force will only exacerbate the trauma we are seeing in our patients, students, and loved ones. We cannot wait for policies that emphasize reform at the expense of another life lost. The public health crisis of racism requires a holistic response that attends to the needs and demands of society’s systematically oppressed. As a labor union, we believe in the fundamental right of all people to live a life of dignity, respect, and justice. That is the world we must win, and to do so requires that we confront racism head-on, in our workplaces, in the justice system, and on the streets. It deserves the same amount of care and attention we would devote to any other public health crisis such as the COVID-19 pandemic. In the past few years, we’ve seen the tragic killings of Philando Castile, Justine Diamond, Jamar Clark, George Floyd, and now Daunte Wright. All could have been avoided. As Registered Nurses, we recognize that a society where Black and Brown lives are not valued erodes the collective well-being of our communities. As we have seen with systemic racist policies causing the loss of lives of people of color during the COVID-19 pandemic, we see systemic racism again surfacing with the loss of Black lives in policing. We have a re-

sponsibility in improving the general welfare of our communities and we must advocate and support when injustice takes place and stand in solidarity with other workers fighting for justice. We call upon our members, labor allies, and community partners to stand together and demand justice and support the community in their grieving as they process the loss of Daunte Wright. MNA encourages and urges all members to respect the privacy and wishes of the family.” This statement was originally released on April 13, 2021.

Minnesota Nurses Association Recognizes the Trauma Related to Chauvin Trial

“The Minnesota Nurses Association recognizes that the beginning of the Chauvin trial may be traumatic for our nurse members, especially for our Black, Indigenous, and People of Color (BIPOC) members. MNA nurses sympathize with our fellow members as this may rekindle the traumas they have seen and experienced, whether it’s at the bedside, in the community, or to themselves. MNA nurses have seen and heard from patients, coworkers, and employers about the controversy over the trial from the beginning, and those who wish to debate the facts of systemic racism continue to try to debate, insult, and create conflict with nurses. This has forced MNA nurses to turn away, remain silent, and ignore this race-baiting as they attempt to provide patient care. Your brothers and sisters at the bedside sympathize and stand with you. Just as nurses care for all patients, regardless of their gender, race, religion, or other status, we care for each other. We both encourage and embrace all MNA members throughout this difficult time and beyond. We offer comfort, counseling, and peace as needed. We hope the trial delivers justice for all. We demand that systemic change take place to finally stop these atrocities once and for all. We again pledge to work to end all forms of racism, from the direct hate-filled actions to the more subtle slights and put-downs the BIPOC Community has endured for centuries. Racism has no place in our healthcare systems, our union, or our society. MNA calls on every employer, every institution, and every fellow Minnesotan to support our BIPOC Community members during this time and offer them help and understanding in the coming weeks.” This statement was originally released on March 29, 2021.


minnesota nursing accent

Racial Diversity Committee Multiracial, multidisciplinary group of workers address systemic racism in the workplace By Roshani Saraiya, RN I am a proud member of MNA and part of a group called Concerned Employees of Hennepin Healthcare (HCMC). We are a multiracial and multidisciplinary group of Hennepin Healthcare workers who came together after George Floyd’s murder. As demonstrations spread, we asked: What can we do as workers to address systemic racism in our corner of the world, at our workplace? First, I am going to share a little about how I got involved and then I will tell you more about this amazing group of Concerned Employees that I found. I live about four blocks from where George Floyd was murdered and I felt the ground shake on many levels last summer. After reading about the overuse of excited delirium and ketamine in the news, and countless other stories of excessive medical force against BIPOC people, it felt like a wake-up call to me that it’s not just about excessive police force, we also have to look at how our own institutions of health and healing are contributing to excessive police and medical force against black and brown people. I felt called to do something as a nurse to make sure we authentically addressed systemic racism at my hospital. At first, our group processed how the events were affecting us as healthcare professionals and our work with families in the community. Then, we started meeting with other healthcare workers and professionals outside of our unit. As our group grew larger, we became more multidisciplinary with social workers, doctors, nurses, and mental health workers. We are made up of active members of MNA and AFSCME. Many of them had been working on addressing this issue of racial equity and restraints/seclusion for years without getting very far with leadership. A lot of us were solely focused on ketamine and, over time, we saw that it’s not about one drug but a larger pervasive problem with how we approach issues of trauma with seclusion and restraint from the EMS to the ED to the medical wards to inpatient psych, instead of using a trauma-informed framework. We decided to write a petition to the leadership with the following demands: that HCMC stop all training of excited delirium with police departments. Second, we want transparent data with demographic information on how medical force is used across the healthcare system. Third, we want a public review of that data with the aim of safely preventing and re-

ducing the use of medical force such as restraint and seclusion. Both AFSCME and MNA endorsed our petition and their support has been immense. This is a workplace issue – not just a racial equity issue. With adequate staffing and training, we can prevent many seclusions and restraints from occurring in the first place. We distributed the petition and got over 1100 signatures! We delivered the petition to executive leadership and the HHS board with a primary request to meet with us. We followed up with two different requests for a meeting with no real commitment. All we received was a vague response in the employee newsletter that leadership aligned with our goals and urged us to get involved in the work. That’s exactly what we were doing! It took doctors pushing this issue internally, union leadership persistently bringing this up with management, and some press work to finally get a meeting with leadership after eight weeks. We know that the organizing work continues but it has been a wonderful lesson for me about the solidarity that we can have when we work with our unions, across disciplines, and see that issues of racial equity are often aligned with workplace safety and patient care. ROSHANI SARAIYA is a public health nurse and works in Minneapolis. Roshani is originally from Chicago and had past careers as a community organizer and massage therapist. She is a member of Minnesota Nurses Association and has served on the Racial Diversity Committee of MNA. Roshani is also an active member of Concerned Employees of Hennepin Healthcare, a multiracial and multidisciplinary group of workers addressing racial disparities, adequate staffing, and seclusion and restraint. As a nurse, Roshani has interests in healing and trauma informed care.


minnesota nursing accent

Practice and Education

Nursing after the pandemic: reset and rebuild By Patrick Simon S. Soria, MSN, RN

The decreasing number of COVID-19 cases around the world, the rapidly scaling vaccine roll-out, and the gradual phase-out of population-wide public health measures are signals of hope for a transition towards pre-pandemic normalcy in the next few months. However, the emergence and re-emergence of infectious disease is a continuous threat to global health and security that always needs awareness and preparedness. Healthcare will face more challenging enemies in the unforeseen future and nurses, perceived as heroes, should always be ready. The lessons we have learned have exposed the weaknesses and opportunities in our current systems. Nurses can reset and rebuild the profession in the aftermath of this catastrophe. The world has seen the lack of safety in the working conditions of health professionals. It is important that we seek the support of the public as we fight for the approval of the Essential Workers Emergency Leave Act and other pending legislation affecting healthcare professionals. If unsuccessful, leaders can include emergency leave provisions at the negotiating table to ensure that we are protected in the years to come. It is vital that we continue to push for equitable health, the expansion of nursing roles, and a more responsive patient-centered healthcare system. Let us grab the opportunity to review current evidence-based practice models that only allow nurses to make decisions based on the best evidence. Nurses will not be able to implement evidence-based interventions in a health crisis when there is a scarcity of resources. Experts are recommending the adoption of the resource-based view (RBV) model. Although it has been used in healthcare to appraise resources, this has been successfully implemented in the business and management sector. The RBV model assumes resources as tangible or intangible; heterogeneous or homogenous; and mobile or immobile. Resources should be homogenous and mobile during a health crisis, meaning they should be widely available and can be moved swiftly beyond borders thus reducing competition and empowering the health system to respond. This is a challenge for nursing scholars to conduct implementation research on a resource-based approach as an alternative standard. The unprecedented physical, emotional, and mental demands of the crisis are predicted to have long-term impacts on the health of nurses. According to experts, uncertainty leads to unpredictability and uncontrollability that can be a

traumatic stressor until it exceeds the ability of the organism to cope. Recent surveys revealed that many are planning to leave the profession. Others argue that nurses are known to be resilient and that we can withstand extensive traumatic experiences which are innate in our careers. Resiliency should not be exploited and glorified. Nurses should demand accountability, improved working conditions, and protection for health workers. To romanticize resiliency is to present nurses as the desired image of a health crisis victim – one who survives. Let us not allow hospital leaders and government to use resiliency to justify inaction. Facilities should go beyond free pizza or coffee in the breakroom as a sign of appreciation, nurses need unlimited psychological support systems that are important in supporting and retaining a dwindling workforce. Frontline nurses need to be involved in the development of policies and strategies for future emerging infections and their lived experiences understood to improve current strategies and solutions. Before the start of this pandemic, the U.S. government conducted a simulation exercise from January to August 2019 called the “Crimson Contagion” that involved several federal and state agencies testing the preparedness of the health system in response to a novel influenza A (H7N9) virus that is antigenically distinct from stockpiled vaccines. The results of the simulation revealed that the federal and state governments lacked funding, lacked clarity on their roles, and lacked the production capacity for protective equipment and medical devices to address such a threat. This simulation could have been used as an early warning sign, but it was not disclosed and therefore left unheeded by those in government. It is vital that nurses continue to advocate for transparent, coordinated, and robust federal and state preparedness and response initiatives such as simulations and exercises to improve the response capacity of health systems. If you’re reading the Accent digitally, you may view the Crimson Contagion Report here. The pandemic that coincided with the prophetic declaration of 2020 as the Year of the Nurse will remain in the annals of history as a time when nursing was pushed to its limits but has emerged victorious and stronger than ever. As we rise from the ashes, let us flex our muscles as the largest group of health professionals and show them our superpower as we contribute to rebuilding a more responsive healthcare delivery system for all.


minnesota nursing accent

Kingdom, Phylum, Class, Order, Family, Genus, Species—Considering a Name Change for MNA By MNA Task Force on Amendment to Bylaw Article 1 Section 1

Remember your days in biology? Where nomenclature was a way to understand what kind of living thing we were studying and finding its place in the world? We are ruminating about where we are with the way we describe this organization that we know as the Minnesota Nurses Association. MNA has a 116-year history of being a group of nurses united for the good of nurses, the good of nursing practice, and for the good of our communities of patients. It is a proud legacy, and our reputation is strong. However, the name is not as inclusive or as specific as it could be. We are exploring ways to renew our commitment to all nurses in every MNA facility while building members and member power to drive this Union closer to the objectives outlined in our Mission. In his article “Naming is an Act of Creation” (2018), Joe Dunn says, “Naming is a tool, and a powerful one. Naming allows us to bring to bear the true expertise of human beings—our ability to cooperate around concepts. Names are the building blocks of everything we do.” MNA has committed to being a Union that builds power through the organizing model. While leaders and members and even some folks in the general public recognize the Minnesota Nurses Association as a Union, it is not explicit in our name. Association, by one definition, is a word that has less to do with power than it does with a nod to a mental connection to an idea, which does little for building the potential for power in a Union. Furthermore, we have recently celebrated the addition of a group of nurses from North Dakota and hearing their story of fighting the boss and WINNING a Contract is inspiring. It also provides a model for continued expansion of our organizing efforts. They, along with nurses from Wisconsin and Iowa, are the seeds of greater growth in Union density for nurses in the Midwest. Our current name does not reflect the inclusion of these nurses from neighboring states and though they are few in number, every worker has a right to be fully represented by their Union. We recognize a name change is a difficult topic to consider for nurses who deeply resonate with the history and strength of MNA as the Minnesota Nurses Association. We currently have an Ad Hoc Committee, appointed by the Board of Directors, to do a meticulous deliberation of risks and ben-

efits, costs, both in terms of financial resources and other impacts, potential timelines for such a change, and what exactly would be the new name. This Task Force met recently and one idea that emerged was to blend the current name with another name, similar to our Union siblings in California, who use the name California Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee (CNA/NNOC). This builds from where we are and expands to name and amplify our organizing efforts on behalf of nurses and other healthcare workers in our region. Any change would have to be presented for consideration to and voted on by the House of Delegates at an annual Convention. As a member driven organization, we want to hear from you. Please watch for a short survey coming soon to your personal email or if you are reading the Accent electronically, please click here. to fill out this short, six question survey. If you just want to suggest a name for the task force to consider, please email rose.roach@mnnurses.org with your ideas and she will pass your suggestion along to the committee.

Fighting for Workplace Violence Prevention

Nurses and other healthcare workers in Minnesota and across the country are fighting for better protections from violence in the workplace. By advocating for better protections at the state and federal legislatures, nurses are making a difference. Advocacy at the federal level Currently, nurses across the United States are urging U.S. Senators to take up and pass the Workplace Violence Prevention for Health Care and Social Service Workers Act now. Nurses have always been at the forefront of this fight, speaking at meetings with legislators, press conferences, and events. In an April press conference, nurses joined with Rep. Joe Courtney (D-CT) to celebrate a win in the U.S. House of Representatives as they passed the Workplace Violence Prevention for Health Care and Social Service Workers Act (H.R. 1195) in a bipartison vote. MNA member Luciana Herr, RN, shared her story of workplace violence during the press conference: “About a month ago, I came home to my children after a Friday evening shift with a black eye about the size of a pancake … This is the second time I’ve been assaulted in just a few months. Almost every nurse I know has a similar story.” Fighting for workplace violence cont. on page 17


minnesota nursing accent

Bargaining and collective action update NEW CONTRACT AGREEMENTS


Community Memorial Hospital nurses reach Tentative Agreement The Negotiating Team and bargaining unit at Community Memorial Hospital in Cloquet knew the importance of protecting their contract and pushed for it throughout the entirety of their negotiations, reaching a Tentative Agreement (TA) in late April. Nurses won 3%, 2%, 2% increases in wages and bumps in call pay from $7.40 to $8.38 (more for on-site call). The biggest highlight of the TA was winning Gold-Standard Successors and Assigns Language.

Fairview Southdale Nurses Hold Info Picket on Safe Staffing Fairview Southdale Hospital nurses held an informational picket on the afternoon of May 12, around M Health’s plan to cut staffing for patients in vitally important care departments. Close to 300 people were in attendance, including nurses, legislators, and community supporters. While nurses have tried to engage in discussions with hospital management on solutions, Southdale staffing plans show managers intend to cut anyway, including reducing Medical/Surgical department staffing. The effect will immediately increase the patient load from between four and five to six patient assignments for nurses working on most inpatient departments. Nearly 1,000 nurses previously signed a petition telling Fairview that the staffing plans they have created are untenable and downright dangerous. Instead of respecting and listening to nurses’ professional judgement, Fairview Southdale Hospital labeled current nurse staffing as “unsustainable.” Kristy Ricks, a Registered Nurse at Southdale said, “We are constantly being asked to give more and more with less. Eventually, we will have no more to give. The staffing levels management intends to force on nurses is simply impossible and may lead to potentially unsafe situations. Nurses have told management this repeatedly. We need them to hear us.” Minnesota State Senators Melisa Franzen (DFL-Edina), Jen McEwan (DFL-Duluth) and Erin Murphy (DFL-St. Paul) came out to the picket line to show their support for nurses. Sen. Erin Murphy, RN, shared her thoughts around the importance of safe staffing, saying “When you’re in a hospital, you’re there for good nursing care. When hospitals propose to cut the nursing, what they’re saying is they’re devaluing your care. We need our nurses inside this hospital, in numbers enough to provide the best care you deserve.” Today, more than ever, Fairview appears intent on protecting their bottom line over patients’ lives.

Tentative Agreement reached in Hibbing With a final bargaining session lasting 20 hours, the Negotiating Team in Hibbing reached a Tentative Agreement in late April. The Negotiation Team fought off concessions including half-day mandates, removal of 12-hour shift benefits, and opening the OR. Highlights of the tentative agreement include 2.34%, 2.33%, 2.33% wage increases retroactive to November 1, 2020 and a 2% 403(b) match on top of the current contribution. Increases in holiday call pay, increases in baccalaureate reimbursement, a pilot program that increases staffing in Surgical Services, and addressing staffing in LMC were also celebrated as wins by the Negotiating Team. Lake Region reaches Tentative Agreement After eight bargaining sessions, the Negotiating Team at Lake Region reached a Tentative Agreement on their contract in mid-April. While the Negotiating Team was unable to save the Extended Illness Bank in the contract, the Negotiating Team and Hospital agreed to implement a Short-Term Disability plan. Other wins during negotiations included 2.5% increases to the wage scales in 2021 and 2022, new language around workplace violence to help protect and provide care for nurses, increased shift differentials, increased call pay, and an increased certification bonus. Nurses can also expect a new article to protect their contract in the event of a merger or sale of Lake Region. Management further made a commitment that, prior to the expiration of the new contract, a task force will be created with MNA nurses to explore a plan that covers nurses who need to care for family members that wouldn’t be covered by the Short-Term Disability plan selected by the Hospital.


minnesota nursing accent

Essentia Health, CHI merger falls through amid workers’ concerns over patient care

Nurse and healthcare worker members of the Minnesota Nurses Association filed a petition with Essentia Health to notify them they are concerned the company’s takeover of Catholic Health Initiatives (CHI) hospitals will result in less access to patient care, not more. In January, Essentia Health and CommonSpirit, CHI’s parent company, signed a letter of intent where Essentia would assume control of 14 facilities and numerous clinics throughout Minnesota and North Dakota. In 2020, Essentia already took over Mercy Hospital in Moose Lake, Minnesota. Nearly 700 healthcare workers from both CHI and Essentia hospitals signed the petition, including nurses from: • CHI St. Gabriel’s – Little Falls, MN • CHI Lake Wood Health – Baudette, MN • CHI St. Joseph’s – Park Rapids, MN • CHI St. Alexius – Bismarck, ND • EH Duluth – St. Mary’s Medical Center and Miller Dwan – Duluth, MN • EH St. Mary’s Hospital – Superior – Superior, WI • EH St. Joseph’s – Brainerd, MN • EH Sandstone – Sandstone, MN • EH Deer River – Deer River, MN • EH Virginia (and Unit B) – Virginia, MN • EH Moose Lake – Moose Lake, MN MNA members from the various hospitals spoke at a virtual press conference on May 6 to discuss their concerns and take questions about next steps to ensure both patients and workers will be cared for during and after this merger process. “We’ve seen what Essentia did when they took over the hospital in Moose Lake,” said Tristin Eastvold, a Registered Nurse at the Moose Lake hospital. “Ever since the takeover, we’ve lost numerous staff, causing shortages in how we care for patients. We don’t want CHI’s hospitals and clinics to lay off workers, cut the services they offer, or close entirely.” On May 18, Essentia Health and CommonSpirit Health

ended their negotiations around the acquisition of more than a dozen CHI facilities across Minnesota and North Dakota. MNA member Leslie McKarney, a Registered Nurse at St. Alexius Hospital in Bismarck, ND, responded to the news saying, “We were hopeful that both parties could convince us and the public that the deal would create synergies to improve the overall quality of services. Their refusal to do so indicates to us that this deal was unsound from the start and hopefully we staved off negative consequences like potential layoffs or service cuts. We hope this means both Essentia and CommonSpirit will now rededicate each company’s resources back to their respective patients, listen to nurses for what the community needs to care for them, and staff enough nurses for their patients.”

MNA nurses stand with SEIU Healthcare workers at informational picket

On Wednesday, April 7, SEIU Healthcare Minnesota (HCMN) workers held an informational picket at Allina’s Abbott Northwestern hospital after management offered an insulting 0% pay increase next year for thousands of essential workers. MNA nurses attended to show their solidarity, including members who experienced Allina’s tactics at the bargaining table in 2016 and 2019. Angie Becchetti, RN and Chair at Abbott Northwestern, spoke on behalf of MNA members. “Our nurses stand with you and your efforts to get the contract you deserve,” she told the crowd of frontline workers and supporters. “We’ve all been through a horrific year. We all deserve to be paid fairly and justly, considering all that we have endured over the past thirteen months. We all deserve to be protected at work and to be confident that we’re not endangering ourselves or our families.” SEIU Healthcare workers held three additional informational pickets at St. Francis Regional Medical Center on April 14, United Hospital in St. Paul on April 21, and Mercy Hospital on April 28. Negotiations between Allina employees and management broke down soon after and SEIU Healthcare workers announced a date for an Unfair Labor Practice (ULP) Strike. In addition to the insulting 0% pay increase next year, SEIU workers were also centering negotiations around workplace safety and safe staffing. Bargaining cont. on page 12


minnesota nursing accent

Bargaining from page 11

MNA nurses came out in support of their SEIU teammates for each informational picket and filed to picket in solidarity alongside SEIU workers when the time came for a strike. Just a few days before the strike would begin, the SEIU HCMN bargaining team reached a Tentative Agreement (TA) with Allina Health and ratified the TA soon after with a Super Majority of votes across the eight facilities. SEIU HCMN workers won a 5% pay increase over three years with 3% in the first year, with back pay. Throughout SEIU Healthcare’s negotiations, it was very clear: when union workers stand together and fight, we win!

MNA nurses stand with AFSCME members MNA nurses at the State Forensic Mental Health Hospital in St. Peter, Minnesota, stood in solidarity with AFSCME members who held an informational picket to bring public attention to the increased patient assaults recently and management’s overall lack of respect for staff and the union contracts. Nurses joined AFSCME members in calling on management to respect and care for caregivers.

Essential workers share experiences of working throughout the pandemic

On Monday, May 10, essential workers across Minnesota held a virtual town hall, inviting legislators to join in and listen to their stories from the frontlines of the pandemic. Workers urged legislators, including Governor Walz and Lieutenant Governor Peggy Flanagan, to support the Essential Workers Emergency Leave Act (EWELA). Among those sharing their experiences was MNA President Mary C. Turner, RN, who shared stories of the stress and trauma nurses on the frontlines have been under for more than a year now. “We should not have to live through another year like this, unprepared,” she shared with legislators, “Never again, I say … We’ve been there from the beginning, all of us, and we will be there because this pandemic is not over. And we’re not leaving the frontline. But we need justice … And you all need to provide it.” Governor Walz also shared a few words, saying, “To each of you who shared your stories, thank you for trusting us with those stories. And you’re absolutely right … no one should have to choose between their health and their economic well-being. It’s absolutely unacceptable … We need paid family leave, we need safe and sick time, we need the ability to have worker protections in place no matter what happens.” EWELA would ensure that the frontline and essential workers who quarantined, cared for a loved one with COVID-19, or cared for a child who did distance learning or whose childcare provider closed due to COVID-19 during this pandemic aren’t left with the financial burden of lost personal or sick time.


minnesota nursing accent

Once a Nurse, Always a Nurse By Julie Anderson, RN, MNA Organizer

This past year has been a wild ride. As a Registered Nurse working away from the bedside during a pandemic, I went through many emotions—including guilt. If you had told me when I first applied to nursing school that I would be working as a Union Organizer, I would have said, “What’s a Union Organizer, and why would I want to do that?” But after some wonderful years as a psychiatric nurse and some unfortunately traumatic experiences, I found myself intrigued at the idea of advocating not only for patients, but for fellow nurses away from the bedside so I began a new nursing journey with the Minnesota Nurses Association. When the pandemic became a reality last year, I felt extremely fortunate to have an employer who valued me as an employee, encouraged me to stay safe and provided the tools necessary to do my job effectively from home. I was grateful that I did not have to worry about my income and medical insurance during that uncertain time. I was not, however, accustomed to working from home. It was strange to have such little interaction with others, except through computer screens or phone calls. But there was also the overwhelming feeling of guilt, thinking about my fellow nurses battling this virus with every ounce of their strength, while also fighting to get appropriate PPE and the seemingly impossible task of convincing their neighbors this pandemic is here and it is real. So, when my manager asked me if I would be interested in coordinating a mask drive to collect N95 and other PPE for nurses working on the frontlines, I jumped at the opportunity even though I had never done anything like this before. I was nervous that we wouldn’t be able to pull off a successful drive with the last-minute planning, but the community heard our pleas and showed up like I never could have imagined. The first day when I showed up, there had already been a truckload of N95 masks dropped off and for the next week, they never stopped coming. I finally felt like I was doing something positive to help confront this virus. A few short weeks later I found myself coming together with nurses again to defend St. Paul hospitals when anti-quarantine protesters threatened to gridlock the streets in front of Bethesda Hospital. I was proud of the coordination between nurses, and others, across three hospital systems to confront

this activity the best way we knew how, with our bodies in the street. Over the next few months, I volunteered whenever I could to help those around me get the resources they needed, whether PPE, food, toilet paper, or as a street medic during the protests in Minneapolis and the surrounding area. But I still felt like I wasn’t doing enough with my nursing skills to combat the virus. So, when the numbers began climbing again around the holidays, I spoke to my manager about taking a Leave of Absence to help with nursing needs related to the pandemic. What started out as two weeks to a month, turned into almost four months at a rapid COVID-19 testing site. During that time, I swabbed somewhere around 3500 noses! I’m back at MNA now, doing the work from home thing for at least a little bit longer. But now I break up the monotony by working at vaccination clinics when it works with my schedule. That one shift every week or two gives me the positive energy I need to get through the rest of the week. I can finally see the light at the end of the tunnel. But this won’t be the end of patient care for me. It’s true what they say— once a nurse, always a nurse. No matter where I am employed, I will always be called to care for people in my community. That’s what I do, I’m a nurse.


minnesota nursing accent

At the Capital 2021 on the Hill

Throughout the 2021 session, MNA has watched several key pieces of legislation move through the legislative process. At the beginning of Session, 67 Senators and 134 Representatives were sworn in. The main business of the 2021 Session was crafting the state budget that will be in effect beginning July 1, 2021. The Legislature started with good intentions, a big budget surplus, and plans to finish their work by the May 17 end of Session deadline. Over time, however, a divided government and a last-minute influx of federal money led to legislators needing to go into a special session in order to continue budget negotiations. The Special Session started on June 14; legislators needed to pass a budget by midnight on June 30 and were successful in their efforts with the Legislature passing the fourteen bills that make up the state budget. The $52 billion budget funds all areas of state government for the next two years. Nurse advocacy delivered wins in both of MNA’s priority areas for this session. In conjunction with other unions, MNA’s primary focus has been working on protecting workers, their health, and their paychecks while the COVID-19 pandemic continues. Last year, the MNA Governmental Affairs Commission and Board of Directors set two key goals for this legislative session: one being to improve the lives of essential workers who sacrificed their own lives during the pandemic, and the second to chip away at the continued corporatization of healthcare and hospitals. MNA celebrated big wins, with two bills passing related to these priorities—something that hasn’t happened in over a decade. Nurses, MNA Staff, and allied union workers and organizations came together to fight for these bills and succeeded. Essential Workers Emergency Leave Act (EWELA) The Essential Workers Emergency Leave Act (HF 41/SF 331) would ensure that nurses and other frontline workers

during this pandemic can quarantine, care for a loved one with COVID-19, or care for a child who is distance-learning or whose childcare provider is closed due to COVID-19, without financial burden. EWELA came out of MNA’s first legislative goal. HF 41 was chief authored by Representative Cedrick Frazier (DFL-New Hope) and SF 331 was co-authored by Senator Erin Murphy (DFL-St. Paul). The bills were introduced in both the House and the Senate in January 2021. Throughout the Legislative Session, union members from MNA, SEIU HealthCare MN, SEIU Local 26, Education Minnesota and more met with the Governor and legislators to share their difficult experiences with getting leave from their employers to deal with COVID-19 quarantines. In April, the House passed the combined Labor and Jobs omnibus bill that included EWELA. The Senate never took up EWELA, though Senator Erin Murphy and other DFL Senators tried to amend similar policies to bills on the Senate Floor. By May, legislative leaders and the Governor began ‘global’ negotiations, where EWELA was discussed. On Monday, May 17, both the House and the Senate adjourned, ending this year’s regular legislative session. At that point, the budget had not been finalized and EWELA still had not been accounted for in the budget. In the week prior to the end of the special session, legislators announced that they had reached an agreement to spend $250 million to support essential workers. Legislators also announced that a working group will be formed in July to create guidelines on dispersing the funds to workers, as well as who will be eligible to receive the funds. MNA plans to continue advocating that these funds go to pay back workers who lost pay and benefitted time. Notice of hospital closures and public hearing MNA’s second legislative priority for 2021 revolved around the corporatization of healthcare and hospitals. With the abrupt closure of Bethesda Hospital, many important units at St. John’s Hospital and some services at Children’s Hospital in St. Paul, nurses and community members barely had a chance to object before the changes were made permanent. To slow this down, MNA supported legislation that would require notice before a hospital is able to move forward. The final Health and Human Services bill adopted this legislation and now contains language that would require a hospital or healthcare system to give notice of a closure or major change to services 120 days in advance. Additionally, the MN Department of Health is required to hold a hearing so


minnesota nursing accent

that the public can understand the changes and weigh in with their opinions. While this is an important step, nurses know that much more work needs to be done in this area. Other MN Legislative Updates The Minnesota Senate’s Health and Human Services bill included funding for raises for personal care attendants, more money for other home care services, and increased funding for substance abuse services and mental health services. The Senate also spent some money on increased dental services and their ideas for policies that will make prescription drugs less expensive. In the House’s Health and Human Services bill, they funded more money for personal care attendants and increased the MFIP and SNAP programs. The bill also funds programs aimed at ending homelessness and increased funding for mental health and substance abuse prevention services. Both the House and the Senate have included a provision that would allow Hennepin County Medical Center (HCMC) to take advantage of a new funding opportunity from the federal government, giving HCMC a more stable source of funding. Additional items of interest throughout the Legislative Session include, but are not limited to: • Medical Assistance postpartum coverage for birthing parents was extended from 90 days to 12 months • Reporting on managed care and county-based purchasing plan provider reimbursement rates for state health care programs • Fixing the family glitch that was a by-product of the Affordable Care Act so that families with unaffordable spousal employment coverage can qualify for coverage on the MNsure marketplace with tax credit assistance to reduce the cost of their premiums • The Dignity in Pregnancy and Childbirth Act requires hospitals with obstetric care and birth centers to offer continuing education on anti-racism training and implicit bias to staff who routinely care for pregnant or postpartum women • A change to the funding stream for Hennepin County Medical Center that provides increased and more stable funding to the medical center • Operating budget increases for the MN Department of Health, Department of Human Services, Direct 2021 on the Hill cont. page 18

Nurses Need Our Earned Benefits Back By Kristen Jacobson, RN

I’m a Pediatric Intensive Care Unit nurse. I love my job. I love where I work. I love what I do. Unfortunately, lately, I haven’t been able to do it, and every time away from work has cost me, not my hospital. When my son came in 2018, who knew I’d need all of my sick bank later? I used the time off that I’d earned to that point, and only when I returned to work, could I start accruing time off again. Along came 2020, and nobody knew how serious the symptoms were or what they meant. One day, I had a headache that just wouldn’t go away. That meant a test and time off. Earlier this year, some of those tests took five or six days to come back with a result, and, if it was negative, the time is on me. It’s not compensated. I figured out I lost 10.5 shifts over the last year or 126 hours of work. Then came March, and the good news that kids were going back to school. My six-year-old daughter was happy to go back, and then she couldn’t. Around March 5, she was exposed to a child who was positive on the school bus. Through no fault of her own, she was back at home, and so was I. It’s just me at home right now to care for her and my little one. Helping the first-grader at home while keeping a twoyear-old entertained. Trying to figure out how they can get outside at all. Since no childcare will take them when they’ve been exposed, I went back to distance learning with her for a week. I had her tested, and I’m so glad she was negative— except it didn’t make one bit of difference. According to the school, she couldn’t go back to school for a full two weeks even with a negative COVID-19 test result. Once again, it’s another week of my time from work. I had to apply for a Leave of Absence to be excused, and the paychecks came from my earned hours, not the hospital. I asked, “Isn’t this covered?” I was told no because the hospital is an employer with more than 500 employees. I know I’m lucky. I actually had some time earned to use. I had some savings. I have a financial planner who’s been urging me to plan for that rainy day. Well, that plan is in action. It’s raining. I know a lot of nurses are not able to make up for all the time and the benefits they’ve lost. At least we don’t have to worry about buying sports equipment right now. Nurses need earned benefits back cont. on page 16


minnesota nursing accent

Labor Lessons: UMD students learn about Labor In March, MNA Labor Relations Specialist Amanda Prince and MNA Board member Chris Rubesch, RN were invited to speak at a labor history class at the University of Minnesota Duluth. The class, entitled “Labor History’s Lesson for Today’s Workers”, was part of UMD’s University Honors program and included students from across disciplines. Amanda and Chris were brought in to provide perspective for the class on what labor is, why people voluntarily do union work in addition to their full-time jobs, and their thoughts on the face of the labor movement. Associate Professor Jannifer G. David believed that the course was important because, “the history of working people has such a large impact on the working relationships that employees have today … We specifically looked at the role of unions in shaping work, as well as the roles of government and management.” All done virtually, Amanda and Chris engaged with close to 20 students for an hour and a half-long free-form discussion. “The class was very engaged,” Amanda shared. “It was a little strange to me how new this information was to them. They were really grappling with just the basics of labor, that the way you spend a third to half of your life is a topic for workers to determine collectively.” Chris and Amanda talked to the students about how legislation affects patient care, how union activities don’t have to end at the door of your workplace, and their experiences in organizing and achieving goals at the table and in the broader community. “I hadn’t ever had the opportunity to speak like this to students about labor,” Chris relayed, “I was excited to give them an idea of what union organizing looks like from inside the union.” The class also asked questions about the differences between a union and non-union shop, and why unhappy workers can’t just go get a job somewhere else. Amanda relayed an example with nurses, explaining how the community is a central part of the issue: “There are patients here that need to be taken care of. And if you’re saying the good nurses should take off, you’re saying the corporation gets to say what level of healthcare patients and the community receive.” Fewer and fewer young people are growing up in union households, though Minnesota holds a higher percentage of union workers than the nation as a whole, with 15.8 percent

of workers in Minnesota being union members, compared to 10.8 percent nationwide. While he acknowledged these changes, Chris also believes it is imperative to talk about how the labor movement has changed in recent decades: “There is a different type of worker and workplace being organized. We helped [the students] shape the idea that today’s union worker can be in a number of different sectors. That there’s a possibility that unionization may fit wherever they end up. Helping shape that perception can help union support in the community as well as grow union participation in all industries.”

“The way you spend a third to half of your life is a topic for workers to determine collectively.” Nurses need earned benefits back from page 15

We really need our earned benefits back. We don’t know how much longer this pandemic will continue. We don’t know when the next time will be that forces us into quarantine. It could be the kid on the school bus. It could be the patient who wasn’t tested or tested negative but was really positive. Nurses need to be able to be whole again, maybe just to take a break after this is all over. For now, it’s nice that I am going back to work. Not just to earn some more time in case I need it, but because sometimes it’s easier to be a nurse and help others with their problems, instead of my own.

“Nurses need to be able to be whole again.”


minnesota nursing accent

CARn Corner By Jeanne Surdo, BSN, MA, RN

Nightingale Tribute

At one of our regular monthly meetings almost a year ago, CARn (Council of Active Retired nurses) members were brainstorming ideas to support our nurses, while also supporting the communities in which they live. One of the members brought up the idea of developing a Nightingale Tribute, to commemorate the work life of nurses who have recently passed away. She had been approached by a Metro Steward who asked if CARn could develop a program after seeing a brochure online for the Kansas Nurses Association’s Nightingale Tribute. A Nightingale Tribute (or a Nurse Honor Guard in some states) honors a nurse’s profession at their memorial service and speaks to the art and science of nursing. CARn members were interested in making this happen in Minnesota. We found out that one of our members had recently participated in a Nightingale Tribute in her community and she was a great resource as we explored the idea of offering our own tribute option to families planning services for Minnesota nurses. The Nightingale Tribute started at the Kansas Nurses’ Association in 2003 to honor a deceased nurse at their funeral or memorial service. Her son wrote a poem that was read during the funeral or memorial service. We researched how to start a tribute and found when the Roanoke Valley Nurses created their program, they also created a step-by-step on how to make it happen. It also had much more detail than we needed. Our first steps were to contact a few funeral homes to see if they would be willing to offer a tribute to families, and they were very supportive. We did not want to go overboard with the number of funeral homes, since we really don’t know the response from families. We have asked the funeral homes to provide a small table where we can place the following items: • Framed Poem • Lamp with Candle • Single White Rose (to go to family) • Scrolled copy of the poem (to go to family) We created a committee to complete the tasks we had identified—contacting a few funeral homes, finding a few lamps, creating our pamphlet. Families can decide if they would want a member of CARn to be there to set up and read the poem, or they could ask the nurse’s coworkers to participate by standing around the table as the poem is read, or the coworkers could decide to have each nurse read a verse of the poem. Our pamphlet is completed, and the objects are collected. We received final approval from the CARn leadership

during Nurses’ Week. Then we need our nurses to spread the word about this in their units, to get the word out and make this happen. Visit the CARn webpage to learn more or reach out to the group at nightingaletribute@mnnurses.org Fighting for workplace violence from page 9

Yet there is more work to do as nurses advocate for the bill to be passed in the U.S. Senate. The bill would require the U.S. Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA) to create a federal standard requiring healthcare and social service employers to develop and implement a comprehensive plan around workplace violence protection. This would help to make sure that workplace violence toward healthcare and social service workers would be prevented before it occurs. The bill also covers a wide variety of workplaces and sets a quick implementation timeline to ensure workers receive protections quickly. “We need a federal OSHA standard … that will mandate that all hospitals and social service employers have workplace violence prevention plans in place so these kinds of attacks are stopped before they happen,” Herr urged, “The U.S. Senate needs to take up this bill right away. Lives hang in the balance.” Workplace Violence Prevention in Minnesota Fighting for Workplace Violence Protection isn’t new to Minnesota nurses. In 2015, MNA nurses worked hard to pass the Workplace Violence Prevention Act in Minnesota. This legislation required that every hospital have a safety plan and a safety committee; without these, the hospitals would be fined. While this legislation was a great start, it’s still not enough. Currently, there is no standard defining and documenting workplace violence incidents in Minnesota hospitals. This leaves the definition, reporting, and response on workplace violence up to each individual hospital, and lacks the transparency nurses and the community deserve to know. We believe all Minnesota hospitals should be safe places for everyone, and MNA nurses will continue to use their collective voice and power to work towards preventing workplace violence and ensuring that hospitals are held to the highest standards of care and safety for everyone.


minnesota nursing accent

Celebrating Nurses: Nurses Week 2021

MNA joined with nurses across the country to celebrate Nurses Week May 6-12, 2021. Nurses Week is celebrated each year and ends on the anniversary of Florence Nightingale’s birth. Nurses work hard every day to protect and advocate for their patients. MNA celebrated Nurses Week by asking both members and the public to share a story about a special nurse in their lives, using the hashtag #MyFavoriteNurse. Dozens of stories were shared from across Minnesota. National Nurses United (NNU) also held a week of events including an animated series exploring nurses’ work and power throughout the pandemic, a Facebook Live State of the Nursing Profession, and a National Day of Remembrance. On May 12, NNU hosted a virtual vigil with a reading of the 400+ names of nurses who lost their lives due to COVID-19. MNA participated in the vigil and, prior to the reading of names, hosted a drive-in showing of the union classic “Norma Rae”. This year, especially, has proven that nurses deserve admiration and recognition for the amazing work they do. And while Nurses Week may be over, the hard work and dedication of nurses will continue to be recognized and appreciated every day.

2021 on the Hill from page 15

Care and Treatment, Corrections, and the Department of Veterans Affairs. These are all places where state MNA nurses work. • Extension of the reinsurance program for one more year Federal Legislative Updates Workplace Violence Prevention In mid-April, the U.S. House passed the Workplace Violence Prevention bill. Nurses and healthcare workers across the country strongly advocated for workplace violence prevention for many years. Now, advocates are looking to the U.S. Senate to follow suit and pass the bill. Medicare for All Act U.S. Representative Betty McCollum (DFL-MN) joined 115 other members of Congress in co-sponsoring Medicare for All, after MNA members met with her staff in mid-May, making a passionate plea for her to sign on.

Remember your MNA Quick Reference Staffing Card!

Know what to do in the moment and what to do after the fact to hold administration accountable for their poor and unsafe staffing conditions. Need a new card? Ask your MNA Steward or bargaining unit chair.


minnesota nursing accent

2021 Organizational Goals and Priorities

The MNA Board of Directors has completed the 2021 Organizational Goals and Priorities, having set the course for this year looking through the lens of health and building power for nurses. The Board’s vision is broken into ‘buckets’ as follows: Field: • Preparing for the future: o Assess bargaining units for members’ current and future engagement levels while discussing issues of importance to the members across the bargaining unit (BU) for use in contract and issue campaigns; set individual bargaining unit goals and utilize charting of departments/units to prioritize work, build steward structures and build Communication Action Teams (CATS) to determine local BU campaign strategies that can accomplish the BU goals o Begin 2022 bargaining preparations to include early bargaining team preparation, a member solidarity summit, and community outreach to build relationships and establish a process for gathering proposal input as part of bargaining for the common good • Collective Bargaining Task Force, Board Strategic Planning, and Chairs Outreach: o Implement CBC TF and Board Strategic Planning (Session 1) recommendations with Chair input directly related to the power building plan that focuses on member education, communication, and organizing Governmental Relations: • Legislative: o Pass the Essential Worker Emergency Leave Act to close the federal loophole that exempts nurses and other healthcare and essential workers from receiving paid leave when required to quarantine due to an exposure to COVID-19 or while taking care of dependents who are exposed o Working with our national affiliate, National Nurses United (NNU), pass the national Workplace Violence Prevention Act which would require a worker center standard to prevent violence in our workplace o Oppose legislation for Minnesota to join the national nurse licensure compact and fight to prevent or defeat any amendments that would also commit Minnesota to becoming a compact state o Align MNA’s 2022 legislative agenda with anti-corporate healthcare topics that are also being discussed in 2022 negotiations. This may

include anything from more regulation around hospital closure to staffing ratio legislation o Work with Healthcare for All MN and other labor and community allies to build a campaign to win Medicare for All nationally or the MN Health Plan in Minnesota • Electoral o Elect nurse, worker, and social justice-focused candidates for targeted municipal elections and utilize this process to build member power Nursing Practice and Education: • Moral injury - create programs and resources to help members with the trauma and post-pandemic effects they’ve experienced due to COVID-19 • Create research-based materials and programs to guide nurses on best practices to prevent and respond to workplace violence of all categories • Develop research-based materials and programs to guide nurses on best practices to disrupt racism in the treatment of BIPOC within our healthcare system, our union, across the labor movement, and our communities • Promote and recruit nurses for MNA’s BLS, ACLS, and PALS training programs • Integrate “how to organize” into bargaining unit training as part of the power building plan External Organizing: • Continue working on organizing priorities which include facilities within systems not yet organized with MNA • Engage physicians in a “Doctors Solidarity Campaign”, targeting issues of common concern with nurses around the corporatization of healthcare • Barring an external organizing campaign maturing, half the Organizing Staff will shift over to become campaign leads on the 2022 contract campaigns Communications: • Analyze the current readership of the MNA Nursing Accent and determine how the publication will move forward in a way that best communicates with our membership • Implement both a public and internal campaign raising awareness of negotiations and seeking solidarity All areas of the union, those noted herein as well as research, communications, finance, and administration will be focused on these goals and priorities as we build power for nurses in 2021. You can find these goals also on MNA’s website in the member center.



NG for our L TI I



minnesota nursing accent

Convention 2021 October 3-5, 2021

DoubleTree by Hilton, Bloomington-MPLS South

SCHEDULE-AT-A-GLANCE (Subject to change) Saturday, October 2 7:00 pm – Game Show Trivia & Hors D ’Oeuvres Sunday, October 3 6:30 am – Yoga 7:00 am – Breakfast 8:00 am – Education 12:15 pm – Lunch 1:00 pm – Education 3:15 pm – Bylaws Forum 4:45 pm – Legislative Forum 5:45 pm – NPE Forum 7:00 pm – H&A Reception/ Banquet Monday, October 4 7:00 am – Yoga 8:00 am – Breakfast 9:00 am – Opening Ceremonies 10:45 am – Plenary 12:15 pm – Lunch 1:00 pm – House of Delegates 4:15 pm – FREE TIME/Silent Auction Bidding 6:00 pm – Dinner 7:30 pm – Entertainment – Duelly Noted Tuesday, October 5 7:00 am – Yoga 8:00 am – Breakfast 9:00 am – Plenary 10:45 am – House of Delegates 12:15 pm – Lunch 1:00 pm – House of Delegates 4:15 pm – Adjourn

This year’s Convention and House of Delegates offers three full days of education, networking with other nurses, making decisions for MNA’s future, and of course some fun! Please plan to arrive the evening of October 2, to attend a special pre-Convention event—and so you’re onsite for a wonderful day of education starting at 8:00 a.m. on October 3. All members are welcome to attend Convention as a guest, receive nursing contact hours from timely education sessions, and observe the decision-making process of the House of Delegates. Only Elected/Appointed MNA Delegates have voting power during the House of Delegates Sessions. Education will include a wide variety of topics by presenters from NNU, MNA Staff, MNA Members, and local experts. Participate in the Silent Auction, both by submitting an item for people to bid on and by bidding on other fantastic items yourself. Funds raised in the Silent Auction will go to the Disaster Relief Fund. Go to the Member Center for more information (How to Become a Delegate, Registration Information, Event materials). “Member Center”. Duelly Noted – Monday Evening Entertainment


minnesota nursing accent

Member Benefits Materials MNA offers a wealth of information, benefits, and resources for nurses at any stage of your career. Take a look at all of the many benefits available to you. More information can be found on our website at https://mnnurses.org/ resources/member-benefits/ Please note, special discount codes or details will be found upon logging into the Member Center (members only) section of the website. Working hard for union families since 1986

UnionPlus There are 40 great cost-saving benefits for MNA members who are members of National Nurses United (bargaining unit RNs). Here are just a few examples of UnionPlus benefits: • Credit card deals (1.5 percent cash back on every purchase) • Mortgage program • Car and truck savings (both purchasing and rentals) • Help with medical bills • Travel center and worldwide vacation tours • Entertainment (discounts on over 50 theme parks, movie theaters, museums, zoos, and more)

MNA Travel Discount Program MNA is pleased to offer an exclusive worldwide travel discount service to our members. You have access to exclusive discounts on hotels and car rentals around the world. Let us service your guests through our online and toll-free phone support. Savings average 10-20 percent below market on all hotels and car rental suppliers around the world. Save time and money. Recently added! Discounts on various entertainment such as Theme Parks, Sporting Events, Water Parks and more.

Retiree Medical (Medica) and Dental (Delta) Insurance Medicare Supplemental Insurance for MNA members and their relatives 65 and older. MNA makes supplemental insurance plans available to its Medicare-eligible retirees and their Medicare-eligible relatives. This is a voluntary Group Medicare plan offered through Medica Insurance and marketed by Al Winters of the Holden Insurance Agency. • Medicare Cost/Advantage Plans (depends on the county) • Medicare Supplemental Insurance for MNA Members and Relatives who qualify for Medicare • Group Prime Solution Cost Plan/Medicare Advantage Plans (Same plan designs, depending on what county you reside in) MNA sponsors a choice from two benefit packages: Option 1 • Comprehensive benefits with 100% coverage for covered medical services • Five-tier Part D benefit with coverage gap or “donut hole” Option 2 • Comprehensive benefits with affordable co-pays for covered medical services • Five-tier standard Part D plan • MNA’s sponsored Group Benefit plans deliver all the benefits of Medicare Parts A, B, and D; plus, additional benefits such as a basic health club membership through the Silver Sneakers fitness program and a Health Advocate Nurse Line to assist you with non-emergency medical questions. You, your spouse, and any eligible dependents must be enrolled in Medicare Parts A and Part B. To learn more, contact Al Winters at 715-392-1294 (office) or 218-390-7877 (cell). Email: awinters@holdeninsurance.com Financial Wellness Program Access to a comprehensive source of independent, objective financial advice and planning. Under the MNA Financial Wellness Program, MNA members have access to the following: • Independent, objective advice and information from Member benefits cont. on page 22


minnesota nursing accent

advisors experienced in working with MNA for more than a decade. Dorval & Chorne understands the unique financial opportunities and challenges of MNA nurses. • Guidance on your employer-sponsored retirement plan (401(k), 403(b), etc.) along with a better under standing of how it fits into your overall plan. • How to incorporate the MNA Twin Cities pension into your retirement planning and maximize this very important benefit based on your unique circumstances. • For members who want to create a comprehensive guide for their financial future, Dorval & Chorne will design a plan to direct the decision-making process in working toward accomplishing each member’s unique personal goals – program planning is modeled on the Certified Financial Planner™ Process (see below for details). A separate agreement will be required for each member that goes through the financial planning process but there will be no planning fee for nurses who decide to utilize this valuable service.

Educational Opportunities Offered at no cost to members seeking to enhance their knowledge and leadership skills in labor relations studies, nursing practice and education trends, and advocacy. Classes are offered in a variety of ways to meet your schedule, location, learning timeline, and style of learning. Most educational sessions are designed to meet the Minnesota Board of Nursing continuing education requirements. However, the nurse is responsible for determining whether this activity meets the requirements for acceptable continuing education. Funds are available to MNA members who wish to attend workshops or conferences on the subjects of Labor Studies.

DID YOU KNOW? A Concern for Safe Staffing Form:


Including the numbers of nurses, number of support staff, skill mix and training of staff. CFSS forms also track management’s response to your notice saying staffing is unsafe.


In threats to patient safety that RNs have reported as a result of unsafe staffing situations.


CFSS forms identify trends for you and your local union leadership to use when negotiating or discussing unsafe staffing with hospital management.


CFSS forms record the actions you took to advocate for your patient(s) and can be used at a later date as documentation to defend you, should a negative outcome occur. Concern for Safe Staffing forms can be submitted at any time. Remember—the sooner a CFSS form is submitted, the more useful it can be. Read more & view the form mnnurses.org/concern-for-safe-staffing


minnesota nursing accent

Upcoming Meetings Board of Directors Wednesday, August 18 Wednesday, September 15 Wednesday, November 17 Wednesday, December 8 Convention October 3-5, MNA Convention, Bloomington Commission on Governmental Affairs (GAC) Wednesday, August 11, 1:00-4:00 p.m. Wednesday, September 8, 1:00-4:00 p.m. Wednesday, October 13, 1:00-4:00 p.m. Wednesday, November 10, 1:00-4:00 p.m. Wednesday, December 1, 1:00-4:00 p.m. CARn Wednesday, August 11, 10:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Wednesday, September 8, 10:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Wednesday, October 13, 10:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Wednesday, November 10, 10:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Wednesday, December 8, 10:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m. Racial Diversity Committee Executive Meetings Thursday, August 19, 4:30 – 6:00 p.m. Thursday, September 16, 4:30 – 6:00 p.m. Thursday, October 21, 4:30 – 6:00 p.m. Thursday, November 18, 4:30 – 6:00 p.m. Thursday, December 16, 4:30 – 6:00 p.m. Racial Diversity Committee General Membership Meetings Wednesday, August 25, 4:30 – 6:00 p.m. Wednesday, September 22, 4:30 – 6:00 p.m. Wednesday, October 27, 4:30 – 6:00 p.m. Tuesday, November 23, 4:30 – 6:00 p.m. Tuesday, December 21, 4:30 – 6:00 p.m. Commission on Nursing Practice and Education Thursday, August 5, 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m. Thursday, September 2, 11:30 a.m.-3 p.m. Thursday, November 4, 11:30 a.m.-3p.m. Ethics Committee Thursday, September 16, 4:00-5:30 p.m. Thursday, November 18, 4:00-5:30 p.m.

Minnesota Nurses Association Foundation (MNAF) Wednesday, July 7, 9 a.m.-1 p.m. Wednesday, October 27, 9-11a.m. Health and Safety Committee Thursday, July 22, 9:30-11:30 a.m. Thursday, August 26, 9:30-11:30 a.m. Thursday, September 23, 9:30-11:30 a.m. Thursday, October 28, 9:30-11:30 a.m. MNA Request Forms Available on the Member Center Reminder: Please visit the Forms page of the Member Center for all current MNA request forms, including the: • Dues Waiver Request form • Board Agenda/Resource Request form The paper forms found on your units eventually become outdated and can delay a response to your request. New Staff Lauren Nielsen, Internal Communications Specialist. Lauren has a background in copywriting and editing and has, in the past, volunteered her time and skills on union drives around the Twin Cities. Morgen Martin, Labor Relations Specialist. Morgen is a former AFSCME Field Representative. Coly Intemann, Labor Relations Specialist. Coly is a former worksite coordinator from the MN AFL-CIO. Chad McKenna, Labor Relations Specialist. Chad has 10 years of experience with AFSCME Council 5 as a former field representative and political organizer. Hattie Idalski, RN, BSN, Nursing Educator. Hattie was a bedside nurse at CHI St. Alexius in Bismarck, ND during their first and second MNA organizing campaigns, and more recently has worked as a Clinical Care Coordinator and Nurse Case Manager for Spirit Lake Tribal Health in Ft. Totten, ND.

345 Randolph Ave., Ste. 200 St. Paul, MN 55102


Convention 2021 • October 3-5, 2021

NG for our L I T I H



DoubleTree by Hilton, Bloomington-MPLS South

minnesota nursing accent