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Our Campaign for Safe Patient Limits in 2020, Starting with the Nurse Voter Values Survey

If you don’t have time to read our entire 2020 campaign plan today, and just want to skip to the next step to move safe patient limits forward: Click here to take our 2020 Nurse Voter Values Survey!

Or you can keep reading!

On Thursday’s Statewide Call, nurses from all across our union talked through our plan for how we’ll keep pushing safe patient limits forward in 2020. If you weren’t able to join us, you can listen to a 20 minute abridged highlights from the public portions of the call (excluding the small group discussions) here, but here’s the gist of it:

Where we’re at and the obstacles we face: Several years ago, nurses across our union began an effort to bring every nurse in PA into the fight for safe patient limits, regardless of whether they are in a union or not, through a new organization called Nurses of PA. Since then, we’ve made historic progress through tens of thousands of union and non-union nurses speaking out all across the state, contributing our time, energy, and resources to collectively build a powerful voice of nurse advocacy.

Additionally, Governor Wolf’s administration began a review last year of the current regulations for nursing home staffing levels, but we haven’t yet gotten any decision back from that review process.

Because of our hard work, we have the support of 50% of the State Senate and 43% of the State House on the legislation for safe patient limits in PA’s hospitals. However, the leadership of the Senate and House Health Committees—where our bill currently sits—have made it clear they are not taking action on our bills this year. So even with these accomplishments, we still have lots of work to do! It doesn’t end here and the fight for our patients and our profession is more important than ever before.

How we move safe patient limits forward in 2020: We probably can’t win our safe patient limits bill before the end of December – which is when the current Pennsylvania two-year legislative session ends. In early 2021, our Senate and House bills will have to be re-introduced by a sponsoring legislator—one bill in the State Senate, and a twin bill in the House.

Even though we are not likely to get our safe patient limits bill passed before the end of 2020, there is an incredible opportunity this year to change the decision-makers in Harrisburg: On November 3, EVERY State Representative and HALF of the State Senators are up for election.

Since we already have the support of 50% of the Senate and 43% of the House, we have a real chance this year for targeted work in key races to build to a majority of legislators who will stand with nurses.

Pennsylvania nurses, once united and mobilized, are a formidable force. 1 in 50 Pennsylvanians is a nurse (and that ratio is even higher if you only count voting-eligible adults!), and as you know many polls have shown that Nurses are the most trusted profession. If we act together as one, nurses have the power to win safe patient limits through the ballot box on November 3, by electing leaders who will move our legislation forward.

But in order to win, we have to do two things:

  1. Engage more nurses than ever before around the issues we care deeply about as bedside professionals, and…
  2. Commit to vote for our Nurse Values in November, and bring our coworkers, friends, families, and neighbors along with us to elect nursing champions at the state level!

So that’s why a team of nurses have created the Nurse Voter Values Survey. We want to take the survey to thousands of nurses across the state and hear from them about the top legislative priorities for bedside nurses, things like safe patient limits and reducing workplace violence.

We will use this survey to build out a nurse voter platform that we can use to test candidates on where they stand, and challenge them to step up and take action to be nurse champions.

The Plan for 2020:

  • Phase 1: Build our Nurse Voter Values (that’s the survey)
  • Phase 2: Nurses pledge to vote our values and test candidates based on where they stand on our values. We’ll start the pledges during Nurses Week, so mark your calendars now for Wed, May 6th—join nurses in the Capitol in Harrisburg to announce the results of our survey, our Nurse Voter Values, and our plan to make 2020 The Year of the Nurse Voter!

  • Phase 3: Get every nurse who stands with us to turn out to vote, and bring their friends, families, neighbors, and coworkers with them!
  • Phase 4: After the election, we need to follow through & hold everyone who is elected accountable to taking action on moving safe patient limits forward in the state.

That all starts right now. Will you take the Nurse Voter Values Survey? We need to collect at least 2,000 surveys from nurses statewide by April 19th, which will give us a couple weeks to analyze the responses before we launch our Nurse Voter Values Pledge during Nurses Week.

We’ll provide more detail about these steps in the weeks to come, ask for more of your help getting nurses to participate in the survey, and we will be sharing more information about the mobilization to Harrisburg for Nurses Week, but first we wanted to make sure everyone has a chance to look over the plan we discussed on last night’s call.

2020 is the International Year of the Nurse, let’s make politicians answer to our Nurse Values. Will you click here to take the Nurse Voter Values Survey?

– Nurse Alliance of SEIU PA

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