Tag Archives: Sanford Bemidji Hospital

Press Release: Bemidji RNs Formally Approve Contract Agreement with Sanford Health

13 Sep

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Media Contact: John Nemo, 651-414-2863

BEMIDJI, Minnesota (September 13, 2011) – Bemidji nurses have formally approved a contract offer from Sanford Bemidji Hospital, ending nearly six months of contract negotiations that included informational picketing and a strike vote.

“We are glad to have reached a settlement,” said Peter Danielson, RN, chair of the Minnesota Nurses Association (MNA) bargaining team. “It was a long, tough road, but we have an agreement in place that our nurses can feel good about. While to us this isn’t a perfect resolution, it is a compromise that helps put our patients first. This new contract takes some important steps by offering a specific timeline to help make management more accountable for improving unsafe staffing levels inside our hospital.”

The current contract between the hospital and 230 nurses represented by MNA expired on February 28, 2011, and negotiations have been ongoing since early April. Nurses voted overwhelmingly on July 28 to reject Sanford’s “final” contract offer, instead authorizing bargaining team leaders to call for a strike. Today’s ratification vote means a strike will be averted, Danielson said.

Sanford Health, a growing corporate health giant that employs 18,000 workers across eight different states, recently bought the Bemidji hospital – previously known as North Country Regional Hospital – and was negotiating its first contract with members of the Minnesota Nurses Association.

Founded in 1905, the Minnesota Nurses Association has represented Bemidji nurses for more than 30 years and represents more than 20,000 nurses in Minnesota, Wisconsin and Iowa. MNA is also an affiliate of National Nurses United, which represents more than 170,000 RNs across the United States.

Please visit MNA’s Bemidji page for more details and updates at http://www.mnnurses.org/Bemidji

Breaking News: Sanford Bemidji and MNA RNs have reached a tentative contract agreement – Vote scheduled for Sept. 13!

9 Sep

Voting information/details is below.

Also, visit MNA’s Bemidji page to see the specifics of the proposed settlement offer from Sanford Bemidji that MNA RNs will be voting on.

More amazing “Letters to the Editor” in support of MNA’s Sanford Bemidji Nurses

8 Sep

More amazing “Letters to the Editor” voicing support for MNA’s Sanford Bemidji Nurses continue to be published in The Bemidji Pioneer. Here’s a sampling of the latest:

Don’t you love it when a mega-business like Sanford Medical takes out a full-page ad to play “I’m the victim?” This message is a public relations jewel.

It explains the greatness of Sanford Medical, how much they care and how hard they have worked to negotiate a mutually acceptable contract with the nurses.

The ad then proceeds to accuse the nurses of not negotiating in good faith and being stooges of the state nurses association. The ad continues with accusations that the nurses are lying and using scare tactics to patients or potential patients. Don’t forget – these same nurses are wives, husbands, sons, daughters, friends and neighbors of all of us.

Reading the last paragraph of the ad reveals the true scare tactic. Strike and be replaced!

David Skeim
Bemidji

***

I have been in and out of the hospital this last month. Observing the nursing staff on the second floor and in ICU, I saw caring, compassionate staff. They all made time to reassure and explain things to me. They also worked at a fast pace with grace and no complaining. They had no down time and ran from crisis to crisis. If I were an employee, I would go home crying, too. The stress was obvious.

Sanford has an excellent staff and they need to be treated accordingly with appropriate pay, benefits and livable schedule.

Pat Berglund
Tenstrike

***

I have been employed at our hospital in Bemidji for over 30 years working at the bedside. Understaffing is a nationwide concern and our nurses have been struggling for years. Three years ago when we negotiated, nursing formally expressed their staffing concerns and management agreed to form a committee to work on this. The issues were never resolved. The tentative agreement that management is referring to is again a committee to work on the problems.

It was part of the offer presented to the Minnesota Nurses Association nurses when we voted, and it was overwhelmingly rejected.

We did have several other issues involving our pension, paid-time-off time and insurance that are big concerns, too. But in a survey done before negotiations began, the nurses’ concerns were with safe staffing.

Sanford is new to our community. The problems were there when they came. We are hopeful that Sanford will be good for our community.

We are proud to be nurses. Not ashamed when we leave at the end of our shift feeling we have been unable to provide safe, adequate care for our patients. There is no one else to speak up for our patients – patients everywhere. Nurses nationwide, not just locally, are speaking out for safe staffing. Safe staffing is about using acuity levels, not just a grid to determine the number of nurses needed to provide care for that shift.

Again, we ask Sanford to be a progressive leader. Help us provide safe care and give us a fair contract.

Mary Olson
Pinewood

***

I am a retired senior citizen who spends four months in the Bemidji area at a lake cottage. I am appalled at the recent one-page advertisement/dissertation by Paul Hanson, president of Sanford Bemidji Medical Center. President Hanson’s defense of Sanford’s commitment to quality health scares me.

Has Mr. Hanson ever had a patient push a call button in the middle of the night? Who does he think comes to the aid of patients who have had urinary or fecal problems or pain problems in the middle of the night? It’s the nurse. It’s the nurse who always has a smile. It’s the nurse who says, “It’s OK. I’ll clean it up.” It’s the nurse who says, “Call me again if the pain doesn’t go away.”

I firmly believe the nurses in Bemidji deserve better than what Sanford has offered. I firmly believe nurses are not getting the extra staff that is needed. I firmly believe Sanford is trying to eliminate a defined pension, which our great Bemidji nurses have earned by their hard and tireless work in the middle of the night and long days. In my 70-plus years, I have never seen management bring care to my bedside. I have never seen management change sheets on my bed. I have never seen management go without pay increases, bonuses or severance packages.

As I see and read it, Sanford Bemidji bases its justification for limiting of staff or giving decent pay (including defined pension) to its nurse employees on a “benefit program that is competitive, sustainable, and affordable.”

Sanford Bemidji, open your eyes to what makes your hospital important. It’s your nurses – not your self-directed, one-page dissertations, or spending millions on hockey rinks or wellness centers. Write about the good nurses you have. Write about how you back them up. Don’t be short sighted. Try spending your money where it is needed – on staff. To your amazement, you may even find this “sustainable and affordable.”

Vince Thoma
Fergus Fall, Minn.

***

I am responding to the recent letter in the paper from the president of Sanford Health. I am a nurse who works at the hospital in Bemidji and am a member of the Minnesota Nurses Association.

Staffing at the hospital is not OK. Nurses are going home crying after their shifts due to the stress from poor staffing. If management is aware of this and says staffing is OK, then something is seriously wrong. Perhaps staffing levels at the hospital are at a national level, but as many of you know, national standards aren’t always good enough. It is not OK for nurses to go home crying from being overworked. The patients of Bemidji deserve more nurse time at their bedside. It has been mentioned by Sanford that staffing has been addressed as negotiations. Yes, it was discussed but the “agreement” reached does not represent any type of actual improvement in staffing.

The nurses of Bemidji are deeply committed to serving the community. So is Sanford; however, Sanford management (who have office jobs) think staffing is OK. The nurses who work on the floor with the patients every day, every hour are saying they need more staff. You decide. The nurses need your support.

Sanford will bring many new things to Bemidji. I also know they have millions of dollars to spend as seen in the $2 million spent to name the hockey arena and the $200 million-plus to spend on the proposed new hospital in Fargo, N.D. They can afford a few more nurses on each shift at the hospital.

Together with the community, the nurses and Sanford we will do great things. I would like nothing more than for Sanford and the MNA negotiating team to come to an agreement soon.

However, if we 236 (or so) nurses need to strike in order for Sanford to see that we really do need more nurses on each shift to take care of you, we will. We feel that passionately about it.

Jacqueline M. Gibbons RN, BSN
Bemidji

Patient to Bemidji Nurses: Give Yourselves a pat on the back!

1 Sep

The Bemidji Pioneer recently published a letter from a former patient that contains the kind of “Thank You” nurses can never hear enough of:

In late July I had surgery at Sanford Bemidji Medical Center. Having never had a surgery before, I had nothing to compare it to, but I have to say, the treatment I received was above and beyond what I expected. The surgeon was caring and supportive, the nurses and nursing assistants were wonderful. I have to say it made a very scary experience less stressful because of all of their hard work and TLC. Kudos to all of you hard-working caregivers. Give yourselves a pat on the back. I appreciate everything you did for me. Keep up the good work.

Lynda Moe
Bemidji

Video: An interesting (check that: VERY interesting) update out of Bemidji negotiations

30 Aug

This TV news report sheds what some might consider significant new light on what to expect out of Bemidji, where MNA RNs continue to fight for their patients and their profession in their effort to secure a new contract. Sanford Bemidji COO Joy Johnson, according to the reporter in this TV news clip, says the hospital “is ready to make a contract deal.”

That’s a very interesting quote, in light of how things had been going to this point. So did the powerful informational picket conducted by Bemidji RNs earlier this month change management’s mind? Watch the report and decide for yourself:

Must-read: More amazing words of support for MNA RNs in Bemidji

29 Aug

More great Letters to the Editor ran over the weekend in The Bemidji Pioneer regarding the ongoing contract fight there. Here’s two of the best:

Nurses Provide Compassionate Care to their Patients
I have been in and out of the hospital this last month. Observing the nursing staff on the second floor and in ICU, I saw caring, compassionate staff. They all made time to reassure and explain things to me. They also worked at a fast pace with grace and no complaining. They had no down time and ran from crisis to crisis. If I were an employee, I would go home crying, too. The stress was obvious.

Sanford has an excellent staff and they need to be treated accordingly with appropriate pay, benefits and livable schedule.

Pat Berglund
Tenstrike

Nurses are too overloaded to provide adequate healthcare
I ask the Bemidji community to support Sanford Nurses concerned about staffing issues. I had surgery two years ago in Bemidji. Pain pills failed to work for my pain, so I was admitted to the hospital. I asked for pain meds several times after surgery; however, I was told they could not give them to me until I reached the inpatient floor. It seemed like I waited forever. Finally, I told the nurse I couldn’t take it anymore. I’m not sure if she finally gave me something or not. When I finally did get transferred to the floor, I waited again for pain medication. I think I waited an hour to get a pain button and much longer to get my pain under control. I was alone and I suffered. I saw many nurses running about the halls. I knew my nurse was busy and I certainly don’t blame her for my inadequate pain control instead I blame the institution which said she had to take care of me when she was already having difficulty taking care of her patients assigned to her.

The lack of care I received violated my patient rights. My story is not rare as my wife is an RN at Sanford Bemidji and tells me daily how she has to choose who to care for when she can’t care for all of her patients. I encourage you to speak up! Share your story because HIPAA doesn’t allow nurses to publicly share stories like mine. Members of our community need to know the truth about what’s really happening inside the hospital when staffing levels are unsafe.

I survived my incident without any long-lasting, debilitating effects; however, that is not the case for all. Research shows that the death rate in hospitals climb when nurses are assigned more and more patients.

The nurses who cared for me said that they were too busy; however, no one cared and I was sent there anyway. Did the facility care about me or about my money? I know the nurses cared about me, that they were extremely busy and that they tried to keep me from being sent to the medical floor because they did not feel they could care for me with their current workload. It is wrong to feel bad about using a call light when you need help from a nurse because they are too busy.

Jeff Moss
Laporte

Boom! Bemidji RNs keep their amazing Letter to the Editor streak going in the local paper

26 Aug

Another great Letter to the Editor from a MNA Nurse ran in today’s Bemidji Pioneer newspaper:

I have been employed at our hospital in Bemidji for over 30 years working at the bedside. Understaffing is a nationwide concern and our nurses have been struggling for years. Three years ago when we negotiated, nursing formally expressed their staffing concerns and management agreed to form a committee to work on this. The issues were never resolved. The tentative agreement that management is referring to is again a committee to work on the problems.

It was part of the offer presented to the Minnesota Nurses Association nurses when we voted, and it was overwhelmingly rejected.

We did have several other issues involving our pension, paid-time-off time and insurance that are big concerns, too. But in a survey done before negotiations began, the nurses’ concerns were with safe staffing.

Sanford is new to our community. The problems were there when they came. We are hopeful that Sanford will be good for our community.

We are proud to be nurses. Not ashamed when we leave at the end of our shift feeling we have been unable to provide safe, adequate care for our patients. There is no one else to speak up for our patients – patients everywhere. Nurses nationwide, not just locally, are speaking out for safe staffing. Safe staffing is about using acuity levels, not just a grid to determine the number of nurses needed to provide care for that shift.

Again, we ask Sanford to be a progressive leader. Help us provide safe care and give us a fair contract.

Mary Olson, RN
Pinewood

MNA RN: “Nurses are going home crying after their shifts due to the stress from poor staffing.”

25 Aug

 

 

 

 

The Bemidji Pioneer recently published this amazing Letter to the Editor from Bemidji Nurse Jacqueline M. Gibbons RN, BSN:

I am responding to the recent letter in the paper from the president of Sanford Health. I am a nurse who works at the hospital in Bemidji and am a member of the Minnesota Nurses Association.

Staffing at the hospital is not OK. Nurses are going home crying after their shifts due to the stress from poor staffing. If management is aware of this and says staffing is OK, then something is seriously wrong. Perhaps staffing levels at the hospital are at a national level, but as many of you know, national standards aren’t always good enough. It is not OK for nurses to go home crying from being overworked. The patients of Bemidji deserve more nurse time at their bedside. It has been mentioned by Sanford that staffing has been addressed as negotiations. Yes, it was discussed but the “agreement” reached does not represent any type of actual improvement in staffing.

The nurses of Bemidji are deeply committed to serving the community. So is Sanford; however, Sanford management (who have office jobs) think staffing is OK. The nurses who work on the floor with the patients every day, every hour are saying they need more staff. You decide. The nurses need your support.

Sanford will bring many new things to Bemidji. I also know they have millions of dollars to spend as seen in the $2 million spent to name the hockey arena and the $200 million-plus to spend on the proposed new hospital in Fargo, N.D. They can afford a few more nurses on each shift at the hospital.

Together with the community, the nurses and Sanford we will do great things. I would like nothing more than for Sanford and the MNA negotiating team to come to an agreement soon.

However, if we 236 (or so) nurses need to strike in order for Sanford to see that we really do need more nurses on each shift to take care of you, we will. We feel that passionately about it.

Jacqueline M. Gibbons RN, BSN
Bemidji

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