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How Barack Obama Will Affect Nurses

How Barack Obama Will Affect Nurses

NursesForObama.com / Obama for America

January 16, 2009


Barack Obama has been a consistent champion of America’s nurses. As an Illinois state senator, Barack Obama chaired the Senate Committee on Public Health and helped lead efforts to protect Illinois nurses and improve the quality of health care throughout Illinois. As a U.S. senator, Obama serves on the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions (HELP) Committee where he has continued his long record of advocacy for America’s nurses.

NURSES’ RIGHTS

Oppose Mandatory Overtime: Barack Obama believes supporting nurses in the workplace leads to better health care outcomes. Numerous reports have demonstrated the importance of proper workplace protections for nurses and other medical professionals for ensuring that patients receive the highest-quality care and reducing preventive medical errors. In the Illinois State Senate, Obama worked to ensure that nurse-staffing levels and work conditions were subject to public review so that hospitals and other facilities implemented strong pronurse, pro-patient policies. In the U.S. Senate, Obama is a cosponsor and advocate of the Safe Nursing and Patient Care Act of 2007 which would limit mandatory overtime to true emergency situations. As president, Obama will sign this legislation into law.

Ensure Safe and Adequate Staffing Levels: As chairman of the Illinois State Senate Committee on Public Health, Obama led efforts in Illinois to ensure that health care facilities implement safe staffing levels for nurses and adequate nurse-to-patient ratios. Obama’s Hospital Report Card Act, which provided requirements on safe staffing levels, was signed into Illinois law. In the U.S. Senate, Obama built on his record of success and introduced the Hospital Quality Report Card Act, a bill that requires reporting of staffing levels for nurses which will help to ensure that the number of nurses is consistent with the types of care needed by the patients and the capabilities of the staff. Obama’s universal health plan also includes a provision requiring health care facilities to monitor issues such as nurse-patient ratios. Obama’s health care reform plan supports inclusion and expanded reimbursement for advanced practice registered nurses.

Protect Nurses’ Labor Rights: Barack Obama has fought the Bush National Labor Relations Board’s (NLRB’s) efforts to strip workers of their right to organize. He is a cosponsor and strong advocate of the Re- Empowerment of Skilled and Professional Employees and Construction Tradeworkers (RESPECT) Act, which will overturn the NLRB’s “Kentucky River” trilogy of decisions classifying hundreds of thousands of nurses, construction and professional workers as “supervisors” who are not protected by federal labor law. Obama also believes that the Bush NLRB’s decisions could put too many nurses – over 800,000 nurses cross the country – at risk of losing their rights to organize and bargain collectively simply because they participate in modern managerial approaches like team production or direct others’ work as part of their professional responsibilities. The RESPECT Act reaffirms Congress’ original intent to exclude from the National Labor Relation Act’s protections only supervisors truly vested with managerial responsibilities.

Bring More Americans into the Nursing Profession: The nursing workforce shortage ranks as one of the most pressing issues facing our health care system. Nurses play a critical role in every aspect of patient care and also serve as administrators and executives in clinical and policy settings. Yet, too many young adults are choosing not to enter the nursing profession, and a significant number of current nurses are switching careers or retiring early. Barack Obama will improve working conditions including limiting mandatory overtime, improving nurse-to-patient ratios, providing additional support to training and incentive programs, and continuing to recognize and support nurses’ right to organize. In addition, Obama supports reauthorization of Title VIII training programs with greater financial incentives for students and nurse faculty, including scholarships and loan repayment. Obama also supports adequate funding of the Nurse Reinvestment Act. In the Illinois State Senate, Obama sponsored legislation and voted to increase funding for nursing scholarships.

Implement Assistive Patient Handling Technology to Improve Nurse Safety: Six of the top ten occupations at highest risk for back injuries are in health care, according to the federal Bureau of Labor Statistics. Nurses are at high risk for sustaining back injuries, which are most likely to occur when moving a patient. Barack Obama believes it is critically important to implement “safe lift” and other assistive technologies to protect nurses from preventable injury. Barack Obama will expand and accelerate research to identify novel and innovative technologies and determine which are the most effective for various medical settings. He will also provide federal financial and technical assistance to hospitals, nursing and long-term care facilities to employ effective assistive technologies and will direct the Occupational Health and Safety Administration to implement meaningful standards that protect nurses from injury related to patient care.


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    jerseyshorenurse

    almost 6 years ago

    2 comments

    Finally an activist and advocate. Today is historical.

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    louise126

    almost 6 years ago

    2 comments

    My concern is where are the nurses coming from to meet the staffing levels. Fine to organize but that would price nurses out of a job, with the decreases in managed care reinbursment. He should have the insurance compainies with their rich lobiest stop deciding patient care and give it back to the providers. I think he needs to look at insurance companies reinbursment and thier bonus, develope some kind of incentive for recruiting nursing educators and us as nurses should do more to attract young people to the profession.

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    prettygal2003

    almost 6 years ago

    2 comments

    I agree with the CNA comments. I worked in a LTC facility as a CNA and it was nothing for me to be assigned 10-12 patients that were completely dependent upon me. I as well as my co-workers had to get the residents bathed, up, and fed breakfast in a matter of 5 hours. With about half of my patient load requiring two assist or complete lifts this was very difficult. I think that if Barak is really going to do something I agree that he and his staff need to look at the acuity of the patient's and not numbers. Those who own these businesses seem to have one thing in mind, profit. It's not fair to the residents who are from a generation of hard workers. It is sad that people who are well are scared to be placed in a LTC facility. I also think that these same principles apply to nurses. Although they don't have the as much of the physical aspect of care they have a great amount of responsibility. We need a leader to help us.

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    BWillisLPN

    almost 6 years ago

    4 comments

    I'm an LPN from Arkansas/Oklahoma border. I'm glad too, to see some one advocate for us. I am a mother of 4 children and I went to school to be able to support my kids on my own with dignity and purpose. Health care is a really personal issue for since i have 4 children, 12, 10, 8 and 3. I lived in Oklahoma and worked in Arkansas. Before I became an LPN, my kids had Sooner care and I didn't have to worry about them being able to go to the Dr. without costing me an arm and a leg. No that I make decent money, I am on that line where I make $96 too much to get assistance from State but at 15.50 an hour and a $4,000.00 deductible and $300.00 a month on insurance I can't afford to keep insurance and support myself and my kids so for the last year I haven't ....I just pray Thanks that they haven't had more than the common cold or strep throat...which at christmas all 4 kids had it. I pay out of pocket for care and meds. My daughter's antibiotics alone was $84.00 ....We need better health care for everyone even us nurses!

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    WeekendWarriorATL

    almost 6 years ago

    62 comments

    I am a pro-Obama RN, but if you check the source of this article it is NursesForObama.com / Obama for America. The campaign over and he is in office, so we will have to wait and see if things improve. In the meantime I will count my lucky stars for the opportunities that I have been given and work hard to keep.

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    gcc_38

    almost 6 years ago

    2 comments

    gerry_carrillo@yaho.com.ph is email address and i am looking for a job in the US. can you help how, i am from the philippines.

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    itnurse

    almost 6 years ago

    2 comments

    it looks like President Obama is the answer to the Nursing Profession's need for a leader who will look into the Nurse's needs. Let's all pray he would be true to his promises

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    chadlmt

    almost 6 years ago

    6 comments

    Can't wait for something new.

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    khoward73

    almost 6 years ago

    4 comments

    "I am an Illinois nurse, and I work in LTC. We have 100 residents and require at least 5 cna's per hall. One hall alone has over 30 residents, half of which are lifts. One of the wings has ALL lifts. Only 3 mechanical lifts in the whole building and maybe 7 CNA's (if we are lucky) during day shift, 5 on evening and 4 on Midnights. That is the state requirement. That has not changed in many years. They say we need more resident's to constitute more CNA's. How does that seem fair? Fall risks are high, pressure ulcer risks are high, weight loss triggers and this last month, so did Depression. I am noticing a trend with staff ratio to these mentioned risks. CNA's are human too. They have the same bone structure and muscle strength that I do, and I couldn't do it. It is back breaking work, and unfair. Little CNA staff equals more risks to the resident's, equals word of mouth and less resident admissions. I think he needs to relook at the Staff to patient ratio and rethink the required number, especially if he wants a safe lift policy. Time does not stand still, and people can only wait so long. Employers are not going to spend out the money they need if they are not mandated too. That's sad...but it is the way it goes."

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    ivysamonte

    almost 6 years ago

    2 comments

    How about foreign nurses who wanted to work for USA? is retrogression be over? I mean do nurses about be given the opportunity to work here?

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    enidbmorales

    almost 6 years ago

    6 comments

    Good to know he is on our side.

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