To me, leadership means making positive change. Here at Parkview, that means safe change for the benefit of patients, nurses and the community. If I can lead with compassion and respect for other people, and do the right thing for the best outcome of the patient, then I feel good when I go home at the end of the day.
There was a period when management wasn’t providing break relief. I’m a Charge Nurse. I finally said, we need to put a stop to this. Our contract says that we need to be relieved for breaks so that we don’t go out of ratio. So we filled out staffing objection sheets and missed meal sheets. Needless to say, the Director didn’t like to see my name on all of those forms, but we got it changed. They started paying attention to getting us lunch relievers. Not every time, but you can tell that they’ve tried.
I have worked where there was no union and it was a lot different. I felt like I couldn’t speak up or they’d retaliate against me. Here at Parkview, I feel as though our issues are always taken seriously and acted upon quickly. Recently several nurses were counseled by management, who made them sign papers without a Steward or Union Rep present, for having six absences even though our contract says you can be absent eight times without discipline. I got our Union Rep involved and those papers were removed from their files, and HR agreed it won’t happen again.
With a union, you can deliver good, safe care to your patients without worrying that someone will punish you for something you didn’t do, or for a mistake. You can be confident that you will be represented if you need it. That’s the main thing about a union. It gives nurses a voice, so we can speak up without being harassed. It’s a crucial check-and-balance, whereby management can’t just make decisions without caring about nurses or patient safety issues.
I like that Parkview is a non-profit, community hospital, where we provide a friendly environment and try to deliver the best care. I see it as a calling to make a difference in people’s lives, physically, spiritually and emotionally. Not just in nursing, but life in general. To be able to help the people around you, that’s what it means to me to be a successful person.