JNESO in the News
Labor Day is even more relevant since COVID-19 | Opinion by Douglas Placa
Almost nothing is normal in this pandemic year of 2020. Everyone endures restricted travel, entertainment, business and education. Many non-emergency medical treatments were restricted in favor of patients fighting the coronavirus. What about the holidays? Are they restricted, too? In some ways, yes, because of all the other restrictions. But in other important ways, no; not at all. Even if we can’t celebrate holidays like we usually do, their meaning has not changed in this strange year. In fact, the historical reasons and meaning for holidays is even more relevant amid COVID-19.
Op-Ed: The new frontlines: Advice from Pa.’s Nurses to Educators
Over the last several months, nurses, doctors, and other health care workers have been the first line of defense against what has become a veritable foe — COVID-19. We had very little information about the virus, fluctuating guidance, limited access to personal protective equipment (PPE) and often felt woefully unprepared for the enormity of the task before us. We did our best with everything we had, but lives were still lost, and the physical and emotional toll continues to impact us professionally and personally.
Op-Ed: Make Mental Health a Priority for Health Care Workers by Douglas Placa
Now’s the time to shine a light on the importance of the mental health and well-being of all health care professionals. The general public may be able to see the light at the end of the COVID-19 tunnel as more businesses open and life kick-starts around the state, but the future is a bit murkier for frontline health care workers. For nurses and other health care workers, the stress, anxiety, frustration and fears of the pandemic are ongoing, and something needs to be done to protect their mental health and well-being. Health care workers are already experiencing high rates of burnout and depression, and some have been so negatively impacted they have chosen to leave the profession.
Traumatized by the amount of death, some NJ nurses unsure they can face another COVID-19 wave
The lawn signs call them heroes. And like veterans of any war, many nurses who have fought COVID-19 in North Jersey’s hospitals dwell less on their heroism than on the trauma they have witnessed. They appreciate the signs, but they don’t think you know how it felt. How it felt when, because so many were dying so fast, the hospital ran out of body bags and toe tags. How it felt to place one corpse — an 80-pound female — into an Army bag big enough to hold eight. To cut up manila folders for toe tags.
Douglas A. Placa, Executive Director- JNESO, District Council 1, Testimony to the Assembly Health Committee
Good afternoon Mr. Chairman and members of the Assembly Health Committee-thank you for the opportunity to address you today on the issue of the Mental Health and well-being of our healthcare workers. If I may, I believe this issue in and of itself has become collateral damage during this crisis as healthcare workers and providers have struggled over the last several months to not only treat sick patients, but to contain the spread of COVID-19 in their healthcare setting.
Passaic County police and fire departments honor healthcare workers at St. Mary’s Hospital
Thankful healthcare workers greet vehicles driven by first responders including fire departments, police departments from the City of Passaic, Clifton and Paterson as well as the Passaic County Sheriff’s Department, that formed a procession that drove to St. Mary’s Hospital, blasting sirens and horns as a gesture of thanks to the health care workers that attend to patients stricken with COVID19.
As officials worry about PPE supply, some nurses clash with employers
Amid lingering concerns about the supply of protective gear worn by nurses and other health care professionals, some workers and their representatives are clashing with employers over whether appropriate steps are being taken to protect those on the front lines of the battle against COVID-19. Nurse Dawn Kulach made headlines earlier this month when, she said, she was fired by Virtua Voorhees Hospital in South Jersey for trying to keep herself safe, wearing her own N95 mask on a COVID-19 floor when the facility was relying on regular surgical masks at the time.
NJ nurse says she was forced to lose her job over COVID-19 safety
A registered nurse from Camden County says she was fired from her job at Virtua Voorhees Hospital on Friday for trying to keep herself and others safe at work from the novel coronavirus. The South Jersey hospital system, meanwhile, says Dawn Kulach refused to comply with its infection control policies and protocols, and that's why her employment was terminated. Kulach said those policies and protocols are not protective enough. "I just wanted to do my job in the safest way possible, and that was not OK," Kulach, 39, told New Jersey 101.5.
Another NJ nurse is fired during the coronavirus outbreak in dispute over protective gear
A nurse said she was fired on Friday by Virtua Voorhees Hospital in Camden County for not agreeing to comply with a policy to ration protective equipment that she claimed put her and others at risk of contracting the coronavirus. Dawn Kulach, 39, of Sicklerville, who was told to take off the N95 respirator and gloves she brought from home or leave, said she and the union, JNESO intend to appeal her termination.
Virtua OKs masks brought from home; nurse who raised concerns fired
Nurse Dawn Kulach says she believes she was fired for going public with her concerns. A Virtua nurse who says she was prohibited from wearing gloves and an N95 mask she brought from home was fired on Friday. Dawn Kulach, a Virtua Voorhees Hospital nurse, said she was told by supervisors that wearing equipment from home was a contamination risk and that she could take off the gear or leave. Virtua declined to comment on Kulach’s case, citing hospital policy on personnel matters, but noted that it has revised its masking policy.
Virtua Voorhees fires nurse who brought her own N95 mask from home
Virtua Voorhees Hospital has fired a nurse for bringing her own N95 mask from home. News 12 New Jersey first reported about nurse Dawn Kulach who was originally suspended for bringing the mask and other PPE from home. Kulach says that her supervisor told her that she couldn’t wear the mask because it was not issued by the hospital. The hospital had given her another mask to wear, but Kulach described it as “tissue paper.” The hospital said that Kulach did not need an N95 mask because she was not working directly with COVID-19 patients. But Kulach says that COVID-19 patients were located on her floor. JNESO, the union representing Kulach, says that it will fight on her behalf.
NURSE CLAIMS SHE WAS SENT HOME FOR WEARING N95 MASK WHILE AT WORK
A South Jersey nurse says that she was sent home for wearing an N95 mask while at work and not the mask provided for her. Dawn Kulach works for Virtua Voorhees. She was told that she couldn’t wear the mask and gloves that she brought from home. “Virtua is playing a very risky game with our lives,” she says.
How the Inadequate Supply of Protective Equipment Takes a Toll on Nurses
Two nurses tell their stories as union rep says ‘conflicts between hospital administrators and medical staff’ are increasing. Pam Tavarone, a veteran ICU nurse at St. Mary’s General Hospital in Passaic, suited up for work last Friday in the makeshift safety uniform she had been wearing for the past week and a half — a white Tyvek painter’s suit, goggles and an industrial-grade respirator mask — all of which she had acquired herself. Supplies of personal protection equipment at the hospital were in short supply. The heavy-duty mask had left bruises on each side of her nose from her 12-hour shifts.
CarePoint Health issues 2,700 layoff notices in anticipation of hospital sales
The owners of three hospitals in Hudson County have taken another major step toward getting out of the hospital business. More than 2,100 layoff notices have been issued to employees at Hoboken University Medical Center (HUMC) and Christ Hospital in Jersey City, two Carepoint facilities that are being purchased by RJWBarnabas Health. Some 627 more layoff notices were issued to employees at the company’s headquarters and affiliated entities in Jersey City and Bayonne.
JNESO TO DISTRIBUTE BOTTLED WATER AT PARADISE BAPTIST CHURCH
As the battle over lead in Newark water rages on, JNESO District Council 1 members are taking action. On Saturday, September 7th, from 10:00 AM to 1:00 PM, JNESO volunteers will distribute bottled water at the Paradise Baptist Church located at 348 15th Avenue (Corner of Hunterdon St. & 15th Ave.) in Newark. "Many of our nurses work every day caring for the people of Newark and some are on the frontlines of providing lead testing and education to the community, so we felt it was extremely important to do something to help," said Elfrieda Johnson, JNESO Board President, and a longtime Newark Resident.
NJ SIGNS MULTISTATE NURSING LICENSING COMPACT
The Garden State will partner with 33 other states to address its nursing shortage, which is the third most severe in the U.S. After nearly two decades of debate, nurses licensed in New Jersey will soon be able to work in dozens of other states — and those in other participating jurisdictions can also now practice in the Garden State. Gov. Phil Murphy signed legislation Friday that adds New Jersey to an existing multistate nursing licensing compact that will soon connect it with 33 other states, including Delaware and Maryland — but not Pennsylvania or New York.
HAS NURSE STAFFING IN NEW JERSEY REALLY IMPROVED? | OPINION
The fact that Rutgers University conducted a study that deals with safe staffing ratios for nurses shows how important this issue is in New Jersey. The study, Effects of Public Reporting Legislation of Nurse Staffing: A Trend Analysis, claims hospital reporting of staffing numbers has led to better nurse staffing ratios – that nurses are handling fewer patients. Public reporting of staffing statistics is a good thing. However, JNESO, the professional healthcare union that serves some 5,000 nurses and techs in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, would argue the study does not tell the whole story.
JNESO nurses at LVH-Pocono donate shoes to girls empowerment program
More than 100 pairs of shoes have been collected by the JNESO nurses at Lehigh Valley Hospital-Pocono to help support a local girls empowerment program. JNESO Chief Steward and Board Member Annmarie Ruggiero organized the shoe drive after learning about the Girls on the Run Poconos program, which provides after-school programming for girls in grades three to eight. Ruggiero enlisted the support of several JNESO union members at LVH-Pocono who helped spread the word and enabled them to collect more than 100 pairs of shoes since September. This week, the final batch of shoes was delivered.
Virtua averts nurses' strike with new contract, increased staffing
(Camden Courier Post) About 1,500 registered nurses have voted to accept a new contract with Virtua, calling off a threatened strike that would have affected the health system's locations in Voorhees, Marlton, Berlin and Camden, as well as its visiting home care nurses.
Virtua union representing 1.5k nurses votes to strike if necessary
(Becker's Hospital Review) A union representing 1,500 registered nurses at Marlton, N.J.-based Virtua Health voted March 6 to strike if necessary after complaining nurses are frequently too busy to take a break during shifts or take earned days off, according to a Courier-Post report.
Nurses and LVH-Pocono reach agreement
(Pocono Record) Nurses with the Lehigh Valley Hospital-Pocono reach three-year contract with the hospital, but not without taking some parting shots. The nurses are represented by JNESO, the healthcare union, a New Jersey-based union. The contract will cover about 400 full-time, part-time and per diem registered nurses employed by the hospital.
LVH-Pocono nurses agree to three-year contract
(Morning Call) Lehigh Valley Hospital-Pocono reached a three-year contract agreement Friday with the union that represents registered nurses there, according to a statement released by the union.
State health care workers struggle with staff reductions | Opinion: Elfrieda Johnson
(NorthJersey.com) We love our patients
– just ask any health care professional who
works day in and day out caring for them.
It’s a labor of love, as we work long hours -
St. Mary's laying off 20 nurses, medical techs
(NorthJersey.com) Twenty nurses and medical
technicians will be laid off at St. Mary's General
Hospital in Passaic, union officials said Monday.
Pocono Medical Center to lay off 61 Registered Nurses
(Pocono Record) Pennsylvania and New Jersey
healthcare union JNESO was informed of the
planned layoffs Tuesday, Douglas Placa, district
council executive director, said.
HOW TO HANDLE SALE OF NEWARK HOSPITAL PRESENTS DILEMMA FOR STATE OFFICIALS
(NJSpotlight.com) Saint Michael’s sale to Prime
Healthcare receives unanimous support at public hearing,
but others raise serious questions about proposal.
At public hearing, widespread support for sale of Newark hospital
(POLITICO New Jersey) NEWARK -Supporters of the
proposed sale of Saint Michael’s Medical Center in Newark
turned out in force Tuesday for a state Department of
Health public hearing.
BATTLE CONTINUES OVER NURSE-TO-PATIENTS RATIO AS MEASURE ADVANCES
(NJSpotLight.com) Nurses cite patient safety while hospitals
say they need staffing flexibility. Labor unions representing
the state’s nurses have won a key legislative skirmish over
reducing the registered nurses-to-patients ratio allowed in
hospitals and ambulatory surgery centers.
Should N.J. hospitals be forced to add more nurses?
(NJ.com) TRENTON -Hospitals and same-day surgery centers
would be required to meet minimum nursing-to-patient
requirements or face fines by the state Department of Health
under a bill approved Thursday by a state Assembly committee.
WITH BANKRUPTCY FILING, SAINT MICHAEL’S OPENS UP NEW FRONT IN BATTLE OVER SALE
(NJSpotlight.com) Hospital CEO points to lengthy state review
while state argues it must act in best interests of community. The
decision by Saint Michael’s Medical Center officials to file for
Chapter 11 bankruptcy yesterday opens a new opportunity for the
hospital to argue for its proposed sale to the California-based
for-profit chain Prime Healthcare Services.
Mona Hartle, RN and JNESO PMC Local President: Bill Would Make Pennsylvania Hospitals Safer
(PoconoRecord.com) Are you safe in Pennsylvania’s hospitals?
That’s a question that our Commonwealth sought to answer, and
after months of research and evaluation, it did.
Union Members Rally in Support of St. Michael's Medical Center
(Patch.com) The people have spoken: we need our
hospital. On Wednesday, May 27, 200 residents, healthcare
workers, doctors, clergy and elected officials rallied in
the streets of Newark in support of the sale of Saint Michael's