October 21, 2009 | | Comments 4
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H1N1 flu conditions have nurses’ union ready to strike

The California Nurses Association (CNA) announced on Monday that its members may participate in a one-day strike on October 30 due to concerns regarding healthcare organizations’ inadequate safety precautions regarding the H1N1 pandemic. The strike would involve more than 16,000 registered nurses at more than 30 hospitals, targeting three large California hospital chains.

The CNA says nurses are concerned about safety preparations to protect patients, families, and healthcare workers during an H1N1 pandemic. Specific areas of concern include isolating patients with symptoms to prevent contagion and adequate supplies of fit-tested N95 respirators.

The CNA also wants California hospitals to adopt guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and Occupational Safety and Health Administration. They say this would ensure that all hospitals in the California area meet the highest safety measures demanded and that they be uniform throughout the state.

In August, the CNA released results from a survey it conducted, reporting that 190 hospitals had widespread problems with poor segregation of patients, lack of sufficient N95 masks, numerous cases of nurse infection, and punitive sick leave policies.

Concern for nurses’ own safety has risen since the death of a California nurse this past summer. The nurse died of a severe respiratory infection, pneumonia, and H1N1.

Hospitals that could potentially be affected by the strike include, California Hospital Medical Center in Los Angeles, CA, St. Vincent Medical Center in Los Angeles, Glendale Memorial Hospital and Health Center in Santa Maria, St. Mary Medical Center in Long Beach, and Community Hospital of San Bernardino and St. Bernardine Medical Center, both in San Bernardino. Nurses are also planning to picket two Catholic Healthcare West hospitals in Nevada.

Does your facility have N95 masks available to all staff members? If so, are they required to wear them when dealing with infected patients? What are some measures to help keep nursing staff from contracting the H1N1 virus? Do you isolate patients who have the virus? Is your facility limiting visitors due to concerns they may spread the virus?

Source: The Wall Street Journal and Medical News Today

Entry Information

Filed Under: Hot topicsInfection control


Sarah Kearns About the Author: Sarah is an Editorial Assistant in the patient safety group at HCPro, Inc. She contributes to two monthly newsletters; Briefings on the Joint Commission and Briefings on Patient Safety, and manages four e-zines; Accreditation Connection, AHAP Staff Challenge, Nurse Manager Weekly, and Healthcare Training Weekly. She also helps research new products for the patient safety and nursing market. She graduated from the University of Connecticut in 2008 where she earned her bachelor's degree in English.

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  1. I find the reason for the strike non-conforming to acceptable behavior of Nurses and healthcare workers. When we entered the healthcare field, we accept the risks and took oaths. Is there not more dangerous diseases and illnesses than a flu virus that we work with everyday? What a joke and a lie! H1N1-sounds like a rouse to me. We deal with Encephalitis, TB, MRSA, Necrotizing fasciitis, C-dif, Hepatitis, etc. on a daily basis. We are all supposed to be educated professionals in dealing with disease, and know how and what to do. Don’t give me the lie above, give me the truth! It’s about money, isn’t it?

  2. I understand that we do need to procure safety measures for Health care staff as well as the patients, but how effective can this really be if the hospitals are going to be understaffed (which is already a problem) therefore a whole day could provoke a major situation in waiting rooms due to prolonged waits????Is this the best way to try to get the message through???

  3. CHW wants to oversimplify the issues involved by claiming that the H1N1 issue is a smokescreen to force a pay raise. Its a lot more than pay, we are not that far apart on the issue. Its about CHW’s weak commitment to H1N1 protections. CHW claims they will follow all regulations. They wont put those regulations into their contract and are working to weaken those regs through the hospital association. Its about threatening discipline to Nurses who do not reuse their N95 Masks or not even providing those masks. Its about not backing your Nurses when they take action to limit exposure of others by properly isolating patients or limiting visitors. Its about denying responsibility for workers who become ill by denying work comp claims of Nurses who were likely to have been exposed at work. Its about how CHW’s call off policies have depleted the PTO or Vacation time of Nurses creating a hardship when they must take time off for personal or family illness. Its about a 50 year old Nurse at Mercy San Juan Hospital died from H1N1 and another CHW Nurse who lost her pregnancy after being hospitalized for H1N1 I wonder if CHW knows their Names?

  4. What’s up friends, good paragraph and nice arguments commented at this place, I am genuinely enjoying by these.

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