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Elena Sangit, RN

Affiliate: Panorama City

Unit: Pediatrics

Health Care Professional Since: 1999

UNAC/UHCP Member Since: 2003

Hometown: Chatsworth

At Panorama City, we got the whole management team in the Emergency Department replaced. This was only after repeated contract violations: chronic understaffing that threatened patient safety, schedules not being posted timely, so no one knew when they were supposed to work—which contributed to the understaffing. We met with the department heads and tried to resolve the problems, with no luck. Morale suffered. Finally the staff all came together and said, no more. We petitioned for their removal, and we were successful. The doctors were shocked. There really is strength in unity.

As Union members, we need to realize that we are the union. We’re at the bedside, and we have to hold management accountable. I’m the Union Steward for my department, Pediatrics, and I used to be a Contract Specialist. I generally know the contract better than management. At times staffing has been an issue for us. Children are not adults. Pediatrics is a specialty. We have to understand child development in order to assess our patients appropriately. Management might float an adult Med-Surg to Pediatrics and think the numbers look fine, but patient safety is compromised. People have to realize that just because Kaiser has agreed to something like staffing ratios, doesn’t mean it will always happen. We have to be vigilant. And we need to continue to advocate for patient safety.

I always knew that I wanted to work with children. Then I was hospitalized as a teenager. I had a good experience with the nurses who took care of me, so that’s what steered me into pediatric nursing. Before I came to Kaiser I worked at Northridge Hospital and helped organize the nurses’ union there. This was before the state staffing ratios took effect, which UNAC/UHCP helped put in place. I was a new grad, and they left me with fourteen patients and only two LVN floats, who couldn’t hang medications or assess patients. I was essentially alone. We had to form a Union and hold the hospital accountable.

From that experience I’m familiar with the tactics bosses use against organizers, like saying that a Union can’t do anything about staffing—and I know better. So I’ve been happy to help organize new members like at Beverly Hospital, and the Kaiser Therapists who just joined. A Physical Therapist at Panorama City who’d been against joining the Union came up to me today and said, “Thank you so much. We’re selecting our representatives to the Negotiating Team now, and this is the best thing that could have happened to us.” It’s really important to keep active. We are the Union, and every one of us needs to be involved.

Previous Leaders

Dinah Hernandez, RN Sunset
Joy P., RN Sunset
Debra Sung, PT PT/OT/RT
Michelle Lanorias, RN Pettis Memorial
Brenda Gomez, RN St. Francis
Rose Kivila, RN Parkview
Barb Kotlik, NP Downey
Carol Granot, RN Sharp
Summer Noyes, RN Sharp
Nery Naguiat, CHRN Garden Grove
Randy Naguiat, RN Garden Grove
Crystal Janey, RN Balboa
Linda Church, CNM Specialty Care Nurses
Nancy Gustafson, WOCN Specialty Care Nurses
Erica Yvette Mays, RN, CM Specialty Care Nurses
Maria Palacio, RN, CM Specialty Care Nurses
Isaac Saroia, RN Beverly
Sally Manalad, RN Lakewood
Corazon Arabaca, RN Fountain Valley
Krissy Stassin, RN Riverside
Susanna Adame-Rozbruch, RN, BSN Woodland Hills
Gene Chang, OD South Bay
Monica Guillemin, PA-C West LA
Shelley Stanovich, RN Downey
Inese Redondo, RN Sharp
Ahsan Haque, RN St. Francis
Vena Stover, RN Baldwin Park
Debby Cruz, RN Parkview
Edwin Guardado, RN St. Francis
Angelica Coria, RN Garden Grove
Daniel Quiñones, RN Sharp
Janet Rossi, RN Orange County
Krishna Yu, RN Lakewood
Bernadette “Bernie” Brayshaw, RN Fountain Valley