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Registered Nurses at UW Medical Center Hold Candlelight Vigil to Highlight Concerns for Quality and Safe Patient Care
Date:9/14/2008

SEATTLE, Sept. 14 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Washington State Nurses Association (WSNA), representing more than 1,200 nurses at the University of Washington Medical Center (UWMC), held a candlelight vigil to demonstrate the nurses' concerns for safe patient care over stalled contract negotiations. The last mediation session is scheduled on September 15th. The outstanding issues include:

-- Rest between Shifts - The Hospital's proposal to reduce the time of rest between shifts places both patient care and RN safety in jeopardy. Research studies confirm that the amount of time nurses receive between shifts is directly linked to an increase in negative patient outcomes. Any attempt to reduce the time of rest between shifts for RNs is simply irresponsible.

-- Economic Package - In order to recruit and retain qualified nurses in this time of a shortage of nurses, we must have a competitive economic package that is consistent with hospitals throughout the region and the State. UWMC's current wages are 8% below other Seattle area hospitals.

-- Changes in Benefits - Proposed changes by the Hospital will greatly reduce the nurses' ability to take time off including time off to care for sick family members. Nurses simply want to maintain the current level of benefits and are not demanding anything additional.

"During these negotiations, the Hospital has not demonstrated a willingness to address the nurses' concerns. This lack of willingness is evidenced by the Hospital's repeated attempts to take away every advantage contained in the current contract which ensures safe patient care and protects nurses from exhaustion and burnout. While UWMC is a State organization, no direct funds are allocated by the State for wage increases for the nursing staff. According to the UWMC, the Hospital funds all nursing wage increases. Therefore, unlike other State employee negotiations that are taking place, the state budget deficit is not a consideration for
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SOURCE Washington State Nurses Association (WSNA)
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