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Ana Herrera

I'm a nursing assistant at another Sutter hospital, Alta Bates in Berkeley. Recently they changed the staffing for CNAs - they changed the matrix so they can give us more patients. we have 10 patients each. that's on day shift when we have to feed and bathe the patients, change beds, do blood draws, collect specimens etc. A lot of our patients are total care and need to be turned every two hours - and changed frequently if they're incontinent. Since we have so many patients now they won't let us give them baths. Instead we are supposed to wipe them with a "comfort bath" which is really like a baby wipe. Some of the patients are incontinent or they have urostomy bags so they have urine leaking on their skin. The ammonia can cause bed sores. It's hard to really clean the patients good using these wipes. I like to really scrub the patients with soap and water to get them clean. Even when we've already wiped the patients, they ask for a shower or bath later on because they feel sticky. Sometimes I have to leave it for the next shift and I feel terrible.

We really need to have a voice in the staffing levels. Our manager didn't ask us what we think about the changes. She tried to tell us the "comfort bath" was better for the patients skin - but it seems like an excuse for giving us more patients. I like to spend time with the patients to make sure they're comfortable. But i feel like i only have 8 minutes an hour for each patient.

The first thing I do when I start my shift is check every patient before i start my vital signs to make sure they're breathing and that the ones on oxygen have the canula in their nose. Because the night shift nurses don't do rounds - today the saturation on one patient was only 88% - that's low. The problem with nights is so many traveler RNs that they don't really care about the patients and they don't check the patients before they leave - which is very dangerous. I can't believe Sutter would rather give these patients to travelers than help the nursing assistants go to nursing school.

I come to the CPMC picket line every week. Their strike is my strike because we're striking for better patient care and patient safety.


I was not on the picket line during the now infamous Thursday Morning incident where guards kicked a female worker.

I had heard about it when I arrived later in the day. People were tense but determined not to lose control over our struggle for better conditions at CPMC.

The next day, Friday, many of us came out in solidarity with those coworkers who were kicked or hit by the guards.

We had a peaceful morning at the Pacific Campus. We took the higher ground and maintained it.

Many of us looked at friday's SF Chronicle article with mixed feelings. We were happy to have a big story, but they let certain crazy assertions go unchallenged.

The CPMC spokeswoman suggested that the woman who was bruised from the guards' kick was really stepped on by fellow strikers. Huh!?!

Just because management walks all over people doesn't mean we do the same. Just how would we accidently step forcefully on one of our friends?

The one funny thing in the article was the revelation that Dr Brotman claims to have received the notification of the Federal Mediator's Proposal at the Opera. Instead of making him look like an "innocent victim" of the union it simply reveals him to be a rich guy who is not in touch with the workers (and average income patients). Hey Dr Brotman, the Fat Lady is Singing--just say Yes to the Federal Mediator's Proposal

Towards the end of my shift, I received a call from registry to work a shift at a CHW hospital. It was an eye opener.

At CPMC, Aides on the regular floors have 14-18 patients on evening shift (3-11PM).

At St Mary's, I only had 8 patients on the evening shift. I not only had time to report irregular vital signs but had time to discuss them with the RN. I was able to assist the RNs with wound care. While an interesting learning experience for me, it also made things easier for the RN.

The SEIU UHW members asked if we were really getting our strike money. I was able able to say yes. Apparently they took a vote to support us. I thanked them for their support.

Now that I see what the other hospitals have, I am more convinced than ever that an Industry Standard Contract is worth fighting for.

C'mon CPMC, Just Say Yes!!!

marie delloue

thank you for your great note on this blog.
i hope your description/clarification of your job duties and how patient care is going down will be read by many.
thank you for your input....
marie & emily

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