News

Thousands of Stanford and Packard nurses vote to authorize strike

Nurses want greater staffing, mental health and wellness support, increased wages and benefits

Stanford nurses represented by the Committee for Recognition of Nursing Achievement hold a rally outside of Stanford Hospital on April 4, 2022. The group is seeking additional pay and medical benefits, among other demands, in a new contract. Courtesy CRONA.

A whopping 93% of nurses who are eligible to vote in the Committee for Recognition of Nursing Achievement (CRONA) union authorized their leaders to call a strike against Stanford and Lucile Packard Children's hospitals on Friday, the union announced.

The vote, which took place on Thursday, involved more than 5,000 nurses; more than 4,500 approved the strike authorization. Union representatives said they have been bargaining with the hospitals for the last 13 weeks through more than 30 bargaining sessions. The nurses have been working since April 1 without a contract.

The union's demands include wage increases, retention of medical benefits, the addition of stay-on bonuses, support for mental health and wellness, a new student-loan reimbursement program, greater staffing levels, expanded access to vacation time and live anti-bias training for managers.

The strike, if called, would be the third in the union's history and the first in two decades. CRONA would have to provide the hospitals with a 10-day notice of the planned strike, as required by law.

The union asserted that the situation has reached a potentially critical point: 45% of nurses surveyed by CRONA in November said they were considering leaving.

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"Nurses' readiness to strike demonstrates the urgency of the great professional and personal crisis they are facing and the solutions they are demanding from hospital executives," the union said in its statement Friday.

"What message does it send when Stanford and Packard hospitals have hundreds of millions on hand from federal pandemic relief, and nurses are consistently taking on overtime and denying ourselves rest and recovery because the hospitals are not staffed adequately?" Colleen Borges, president of CRONA and a pediatric oncology nurse, said in the union's statement.

"We have been working extra shifts and powering through exhausting conditions because our patients and our colleagues need us. We need the hospitals' executives to show up for us," Borges stated.

The union stated that the number of Assignment Despite Objections (ADOs) filed by nurses, which document notifications when nurses do not have adequate resources, training or staff, rose significantly from 2020 to 2021.

Mark O'Neill, a nurse in a post-cardiothoracic surgical unit, accused the hospitals of telling exhausted nurses they have to work more hours.

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"This is a confounding and illogical solution to our burnout, and it's no wonder so many of us are rethinking whether we have a future at Stanford and even the nursing profession," he said.

"Hospitals have not wanted to acknowledge how short-staffed we are," Kathy Stromberg, CRONA vice president and a nurse at Stanford's radiology department, said in an interview with NPR. "They don't want to acknowledge that relying on travel nurses and staff nurses working overtime shifts isn't sustainable. People are worn out."

The nurses point to the recent death by suicide of a travel nurse working at Stanford, which CRONA said underscored the need for nurses to have improved access to time off and mental health support.

A large trauma room in the emergency room await patients at Stanford Hospital. Embarcadero Media file photo by Veronica Weber.

Stanford Health Care and Lucile Packard Children's Hospital said in a statement: "We believe that hard work at the negotiations table is a far better path than a strike to achieving new contracts for our nurses. We are committed, through good faith bargaining, to reach agreement on new contracts that provide nurses a highly competitive compensation package, along with proposals that further our commitment to enhancing staffing and wellness benefits for nurses.

"Now, as we take the necessary and precautionary steps to prepare for the possibility of a strike, we hope that CRONA chooses to instead focus its efforts on working with us toward contract agreements.

"Given the progress we have made by working constructively with the union, we should be able to reach agreements that will allow us to continue to attract and retain the high caliber of nurses who so meaningfully contribute to our hospitals' reputation for excellence," the hospitals stated.

The hospitals and CRONA met with a federal mediator on Monday, April 4, and again on Friday.

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Sue Dremann
 
Sue Dremann is a veteran journalist who joined the Palo Alto Weekly in 2001. She is a breaking news and general assignment reporter who also covers the regional environmental, health and crime beats. Read more >>

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Thousands of Stanford and Packard nurses vote to authorize strike

Nurses want greater staffing, mental health and wellness support, increased wages and benefits

by / Palo Alto Weekly

Uploaded: Fri, Apr 8, 2022, 9:31 pm

A whopping 93% of nurses who are eligible to vote in the Committee for Recognition of Nursing Achievement (CRONA) union authorized their leaders to call a strike against Stanford and Lucile Packard Children's hospitals on Friday, the union announced.

The vote, which took place on Thursday, involved more than 5,000 nurses; more than 4,500 approved the strike authorization. Union representatives said they have been bargaining with the hospitals for the last 13 weeks through more than 30 bargaining sessions. The nurses have been working since April 1 without a contract.

The union's demands include wage increases, retention of medical benefits, the addition of stay-on bonuses, support for mental health and wellness, a new student-loan reimbursement program, greater staffing levels, expanded access to vacation time and live anti-bias training for managers.

The strike, if called, would be the third in the union's history and the first in two decades. CRONA would have to provide the hospitals with a 10-day notice of the planned strike, as required by law.

The union asserted that the situation has reached a potentially critical point: 45% of nurses surveyed by CRONA in November said they were considering leaving.

"Nurses' readiness to strike demonstrates the urgency of the great professional and personal crisis they are facing and the solutions they are demanding from hospital executives," the union said in its statement Friday.

"What message does it send when Stanford and Packard hospitals have hundreds of millions on hand from federal pandemic relief, and nurses are consistently taking on overtime and denying ourselves rest and recovery because the hospitals are not staffed adequately?" Colleen Borges, president of CRONA and a pediatric oncology nurse, said in the union's statement.

"We have been working extra shifts and powering through exhausting conditions because our patients and our colleagues need us. We need the hospitals' executives to show up for us," Borges stated.

The union stated that the number of Assignment Despite Objections (ADOs) filed by nurses, which document notifications when nurses do not have adequate resources, training or staff, rose significantly from 2020 to 2021.

Mark O'Neill, a nurse in a post-cardiothoracic surgical unit, accused the hospitals of telling exhausted nurses they have to work more hours.

"This is a confounding and illogical solution to our burnout, and it's no wonder so many of us are rethinking whether we have a future at Stanford and even the nursing profession," he said.

"Hospitals have not wanted to acknowledge how short-staffed we are," Kathy Stromberg, CRONA vice president and a nurse at Stanford's radiology department, said in an interview with NPR. "They don't want to acknowledge that relying on travel nurses and staff nurses working overtime shifts isn't sustainable. People are worn out."

The nurses point to the recent death by suicide of a travel nurse working at Stanford, which CRONA said underscored the need for nurses to have improved access to time off and mental health support.

Stanford Health Care and Lucile Packard Children's Hospital said in a statement: "We believe that hard work at the negotiations table is a far better path than a strike to achieving new contracts for our nurses. We are committed, through good faith bargaining, to reach agreement on new contracts that provide nurses a highly competitive compensation package, along with proposals that further our commitment to enhancing staffing and wellness benefits for nurses.

"Now, as we take the necessary and precautionary steps to prepare for the possibility of a strike, we hope that CRONA chooses to instead focus its efforts on working with us toward contract agreements.

"Given the progress we have made by working constructively with the union, we should be able to reach agreements that will allow us to continue to attract and retain the high caliber of nurses who so meaningfully contribute to our hospitals' reputation for excellence," the hospitals stated.

The hospitals and CRONA met with a federal mediator on Monday, April 4, and again on Friday.

Comments

Aram
Registered user
Duveneck/St. Francis
on Apr 8, 2022 at 10:57 pm
Aram, Duveneck/St. Francis
Registered user
on Apr 8, 2022 at 10:57 pm

Stanford needs to pay these extraordinarily dedicated health care workers what they deserve and improve their working conditions, benefit packages, wellness services…and require bias training for management.


Online Name
Registered user
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Apr 8, 2022 at 11:32 pm
Online Name, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
Registered user
on Apr 8, 2022 at 11:32 pm

My nurse friend who's long worked there has shared many outrageous horror stories about under-staffing leaving patients sitting in their waste, cutting back on nurses aides leaving the nurses struggling to lift patients alone which hurts the patients and nurses, etc etc. -- all to the detriment of the patients and the staff.

She was hoping for a strike vote but I doubt she envisioned such an incredible margin.

I was amused at Stanford's full-page ad today praising the nurses for "GIVING everything" -- which is rather tone-deaf during contract negotiations. Maybe it's time for uber-rich Stanford to be the one doing the "giving" for a change. Just a thought.


super chicana
Registered user
Palo Alto High School
on Apr 9, 2022 at 12:22 am
super chicana, Palo Alto High School
Registered user
on Apr 9, 2022 at 12:22 am

It’s like this with EVERY corporation. Amazon workers, farm workers, healthcare workers - every single sector if society is being squeezed. Inflation, interest rates, gas, suicide rates - all going up. The only reason mass shootings took a pause is because of covid. The mega rich get mega wealthier. I know no one wants to hear it but capitalism is not working. The whole dysfunctional system is corrupt and every politician bought. We need a 21st century economic system to meet human needs. Call it anything you want but we have to fix this. Guns and prescription drugs pour into our streets and leaders turn a blind eye as gun manufacturers and big pharma grease palms. Problem is people don’t have the ability to see how this is all connected. The corporations do. They demonstrate time and time again - profits over people. Look how that philosophy effects these nurses. Wonder what the profits look like for medical “non-profits?” The Right’s racist/sexist/homophobic culture wars divides everyone while they make off with the loot. Find common ground or we become a third world country. The corp solution will be to lobby Congress for more foreign cheap labor and all these expendable health care workers will be replaced. Think Reagan and the striking air controllers. To the nurses: stay strong, stay united, and fight like hell for ALL of us. We support you. Again, our economic system does not work for us.


Carol
Registered user
another community
on Apr 9, 2022 at 7:29 am
Carol, another community
Registered user
on Apr 9, 2022 at 7:29 am

Could Stanford's canning of their nursing school have contributed to their current nursing shortage? This set the tone in my opinion, and results in more competition for a smaller local pool of Advance Practice Nurses. Running nurses ragged will shorten their working careers (often from physical ailments). Loss of acquired expertise impacts quality of care in the long run. And it won't save Stanford a dime, as it takes (poorly acknowledged & compensated) skill to keep floor patients out of intensive care units).


Annette
Registered user
College Terrace
on Apr 9, 2022 at 7:37 am
Annette, College Terrace
Registered user
on Apr 9, 2022 at 7:37 am

Nurses choosing to strike should make us all stand at attention. These are people drawn TO helping people, not walking FROM people in need. Nurses are critical to every health care experience we all have, especially the serious ones. Can you imagine chemo, pre-op or post-op without good nurses? Taking your kid or elderly parent to the clinic and not having their needs met by a capable, caring nurse? No, thanks.

@SuperChicana makes excellent points. Capitalism is warped and it does need to be fixed. I do think, though, that people see how the problems are connected but don't see how to remedy the situation. Exceptional "beyond the pale" thinking and doing is going to be required.

I think part of the problem is immediacy; we summon the bandwidth to address specific problems when they occur and then slip back to business as usual. Take this vote to strike. Stanford will negotiate and some demands will be met. But will the root problems be solved? That will involve insurance reform so I won't hold my breath. But I will reread and think about all that SuperChicana wrote.


Online Name
Registered user
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Apr 9, 2022 at 10:21 am
Online Name, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
Registered user
on Apr 9, 2022 at 10:21 am

Yes, Annette, SuperChicana raises some excellent points about the need for reform throughout the workplace -- the delivery/ride-sharing companies that spent hundreds of millions of dollars lobbying to deny benefits and reasonable compensation to their gig workers but when one company wanted their salary workers making hundreds of thousands a year to spend ONE DAY driving, they objected because it was beneath them. The figure used in those articles was $400,000. The geniuses who decided it made economic sense to layoff workers as soon as they hit 50 to save money on benefits...

Examples abound and this has to stop. I can't wait to see how Stanford's highly paid pr machine spins the strike vote AND their assurances that patient care hasn't and won't suffer one leetle bit.


Online Name
Registered user
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Apr 9, 2022 at 10:26 am
Online Name, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
Registered user
on Apr 9, 2022 at 10:26 am

PS: I was just advised that "Over 4600 out of 5000 voted YES. The vast majority of the remainder didn't vote, as it was a complicated online proxy procedure which some couldn't navigate. So it would have been higher than 94% if the rest had voted."

Stanford, that's not exactly a vote of confidence.


Retired RN
Registered user
Old Palo Alto
on Apr 9, 2022 at 11:00 am
Retired RN, Old Palo Alto
Registered user
on Apr 9, 2022 at 11:00 am

I retired from Stanford after working decades there. I loved my job but over the years the work environment changed in my opinion. The majority of my years were spent in the ICU and things got worse for staff with the completion of the new building and the financial pressure brought with it. Initially staff were not allowed in the public areas and we were not supposed to enter through the main door. Fortunately this demeaning demand was ended after it was applied to an attending physician who was less than amused.
On my unit they got rid of the Service center (supply room) staff, unit based pharmacy, and nursing assistants, and decreased the number of nurses. They also wanted us to sit in the hall so that we would be able to help each other. The problem with that is the patients were in the room. Imagine being partially awake with a breathing tube down and no one being there to comfort you because they were busy chasing alarms in the hall.
So, for me I chose to retire rather than continue my practice under those conditions. Those RNs for whom retirement is not an option are rightly seeking a change. The nurses simply must have better support returned to the workplace.


John
Registered user
Adobe-Meadow
on Apr 9, 2022 at 11:41 am
John, Adobe-Meadow
Registered user
on Apr 9, 2022 at 11:41 am

The fact that people believe we’re currently operating under capitalism is a clear failure of our government/union controlled school system. What’s the system where you privatize profits and socialize losses? Where FedGov aligns with supposedly private corporations to protect the bottom line via onerous legislation, and expensive “compliance” preventing competition? Where bankers, and pharmaceutical executives move from private to public service and back again, after bestowing government goodies onto the corporation who just happens to hire them?

That’s not capitalism kids.


ALB
Registered user
College Terrace
on Apr 9, 2022 at 12:53 pm
ALB, College Terrace
Registered user
on Apr 9, 2022 at 12:53 pm

RetiredRN echos the ongoing problems facing nurses st Stanford right now. One ICU nurse I know, a friend, has been alarmed by Stanford’s rigid and disrepectful treatment of healthworkers who work over time and are burning out. Stanford has excellent nurses and doctors. I have benefitted from their care in a life saving surgery. I will never forget the nurses Natalie, Chelsea and Matt in ICU. I am grateful to Dr. Steven Daniel Chang and his team.

When I step back I see how the business model has changed Stanford. The pandemic has imposed stress but that does not give Stanford carte blanche to ignore reasonable requirements as stipulated by the union. If Stanford does not listen and act upon these essential changes then the patients, doctors, nurses and the community will suffer.


Annette
Registered user
College Terrace
on Apr 9, 2022 at 6:05 pm
Annette, College Terrace
Registered user
on Apr 9, 2022 at 6:05 pm

Stanford has one of the best business schools in the world. Maybe they should educate MBAs seeking careers in the health care industry of this simple fact: medical care has to be patient centric, not profits centric. I assume MD/MBA holders understand this but bottom-line MBAs, Boards, and other decision makers who do not should learn it, and quick. Without good staff, doctors will choose to practice elsewhere, patients will go elsewhere, mistakes will happen, lawsuits will happen, headlines will be bad, etc.

Stanford: what gives? The university’s greatness is waning.


MattR
Registered user
Woodside
on Apr 9, 2022 at 9:40 pm
MattR, Woodside
Registered user
on Apr 9, 2022 at 9:40 pm

My wife is an L&D nurse. Over 30 years experience. Every morning at 5 AM, her phone pings if the floor is short staffed and they're looking for more nurses. It is a rare day that I don't hear the 5 AM ping.

I'm shocked that Stanford/LPCH is issuing boilerplate statements. They are understaffed and they know it. There is a shortage of travellers and they know it. The pandemic has made the job both harder and riskier and they know it.

Stanford/LPCH management is playing a dangerous game. Staff is exhausted and frustrated. Soon they will be very, very mad. If they don't do right by the workers, this will not end well for them. All the nurses can easily find other jobs. Stanford/LPCH won't be able to hire new staff that easily. They risk their Magnate status as well. Hospital rankings will drop as well.

Why they think hardball is the right way to go is beyond me.


super chicana
Registered user
Palo Alto High School
on Apr 10, 2022 at 12:04 pm
super chicana, Palo Alto High School
Registered user
on Apr 10, 2022 at 12:04 pm

Yes John, it’s fascism but that becomes too extreme for people. They call it “capitalism” so you have to meet them where they are. Too many big scary words sounds like radical socialism. Odd - they seem to love “communist” Russia and Putin. It’s all totalitarianism but introducing Hannah Arendt into the conversation is too cerebral and esoteric. And yes, my public school education was excellent, no amount of private schooling would have afforded me Angela Davis as a mentor. Bashing public schools is a tad elitist. What better an education than rubbing elbows with the best and brightest of the working/under class and all their real experiences of life. People who belong where they are with true merit. Not legacy rights and the social status wealth can buy. But our corrupt and divisive educational system is another debate. You would be amazed what this purely public educated, woman of color can do.


Peter Carpenter
Registered user
Menlo Park
on Apr 10, 2022 at 12:56 pm
Peter Carpenter, Menlo Park
Registered user
on Apr 10, 2022 at 12:56 pm

Having served as the Medical Center's Executive Director during the nurses' first strike my advice to both sides is to settle quickly.

Holding patients hostage is a painful experience for everyone involved - particularly the patients and their families.

And Stanford should realize that neither public opinion nor the balance sheet are on your side.


Online Name
Registered user
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Apr 10, 2022 at 2:34 pm
Online Name, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
Registered user
on Apr 10, 2022 at 2:34 pm

"And Stanford should realize that neither public opinion nor the balance sheet are on your side."

Of course they should why would they start now given their track record on this and many other issues


Nayeli
Registered user
Midtown
on Apr 10, 2022 at 4:10 pm
Nayeli, Midtown
Registered user
on Apr 10, 2022 at 4:10 pm

So, what is the average salary or wage for LVNs, RNs, LPNs, etc.? An LVN is a license after successfully completing a roughly 1 year educational program. How does that compare with the salaries of teachers (which requires at least four years of education)? What about other professions?


Jennifer
Registered user
another community
on Apr 10, 2022 at 4:38 pm
Jennifer, another community
Registered user
on Apr 10, 2022 at 4:38 pm

With all due respect to RNs, they're making more money than they've ever made. It's not uncommon for nurses to make $85-100K in California, and they don't need a four -year degree. Most nurses these days have an AA from a junior college, according to an article I read last month. There are certain professions that shouldn't be allowed to strike including nurses, teachers, etc.

If we all went on strike every time something was "wrong" at work most of us would not be going to work on Monday.


Retired nurse
Registered user
Old Palo Alto
on Apr 10, 2022 at 5:19 pm
Retired nurse, Old Palo Alto
Registered user
on Apr 10, 2022 at 5:19 pm

I thought that I would comment about the educational level of the nurses that I worked with. After more that 3 decades of employment I only knew of 2 RNs that had an AA degree. The rest had BSNs as well as many with masters degrees in nursing as well as other fields. Stanford moved away from hiring diploma nurses many years ago and they also don’t use LVNs in the inpatient units. The specialty units also require extra training and certifications.
Compensation is certainly an issue here but also the work environment needs to change. During the pandemic we had to make do with poor staffing along with less support. It is possible that to work for a limited amount of time but eventually you end up with a staff that is burned out and have lost compassion and concentration because they simply don’t have any more to give. The patients benefit from an educated and supported nursing staff and the community should encourage the hospital to make significant improvements. Using travelers is fine to provide a little help but the majority of nurses should be in house.


cvvhrn
Registered user
Midtown
on Apr 11, 2022 at 10:53 am
cvvhrn, Midtown
Registered user
on Apr 11, 2022 at 10:53 am

Nayeli,

Neither hospital uses LVN's. The vast majority of new nurses have a Bachelors of Science. Wages are available on the Unions website.

@Jennifer you comments about the education level of nurses may have been accurate 30 years ago, but both facilities hire only BSN's have done so for the last decade plus. So its a 4 year degree. That being said there is honestly very little in terms of skill sets between a AA and a BSN in particular when starting out. It seems that there would be very few professions you would allow to strike based on your comments.


Cat Mom Leonorilda
Registered user
Barron Park
on Apr 11, 2022 at 11:36 am
Cat Mom Leonorilda, Barron Park
Registered user
on Apr 11, 2022 at 11:36 am

Thank you to Super Chicana for her comments. They get to the root cause of this problem and so many others in our society.


Jennifer
Registered user
another community
on Apr 11, 2022 at 11:50 am
Jennifer, another community
Registered user
on Apr 11, 2022 at 11:50 am

Most nurses' years ago had RN or BSN degrees. These days AA degrees are the norm. If Stanford only hires BSNs -- good for them. Which means they'll get paid more. Probably above $100K.

My mom and daughter are/were RNs, with BSN degrees. It was the norm when my elderly mom was a nurse, and not the norm these days. Women these days have more educational choices, and nurses are in high demand. They always have been.


Peter Carpenter
Registered user
Menlo Park
on Apr 11, 2022 at 12:25 pm
Peter Carpenter, Menlo Park
Registered user
on Apr 11, 2022 at 12:25 pm

As both Stanford and Stanford Children's hospitals are teaching hospitals they have some of the most qualified and experienced nurses in the entire nation.

In my experience as both an administrator at Stanford Medical Center and as a patient at the Palo Alto VA, also a teaching hospital, nurses at these institutions are motivated much more by the quality of care they are able/allowed/supported to provide than they are by their monetary compensation. If highly trained and motivated nurses are not given the resources that they need to provide quality care then there will be a high level of dissatisfaction - the current vote in favor of a strike is exactly that.


Mary
Registered user
Los Altos
on Apr 11, 2022 at 1:41 pm
Mary, Los Altos
Registered user
on Apr 11, 2022 at 1:41 pm

To Jennifer,
You are okay for other professions to strike and not the nurses? Why?
Basing on your comments, you seem to have very little knowledge about nursing, and nurses particularly Stanford nurses. Stanford is a Magnet hospital which means they only hire BSN grads. That has been the case for more than a decade since Stanford is one of the first few academe hospitals that has earned the Magnet status. Magnet status is the highest designation given to a hospital for outstanding and excellent healthcare services particularly Nursing. Advanced education is highly encouraged. Nurses in Stanford are high caliber nurses. A lot of these nurses also came from world renowned hospitals like Cleveland Clinic, Mayo Clinic, John’s Hopkins etc. They usually have multiple specialization certifications and significant number of their nurses have Master Degrees. Some are even Nurse Practitioners but chose to stay at bedside. Some because they start with 0 experience as Nurse Practitioners and their present salary is even higher than starting as NPs. My two NP friends are in ICU. You can see the nurses salary at CRONA’s website. The contract is there. Nurses are compassionate and care deeply about their patients. It is in their DNA. But they must take care of themselves too!


Jennifer
Registered user
another community
on Apr 11, 2022 at 2:52 pm
Jennifer, another community
Registered user
on Apr 11, 2022 at 2:52 pm

While others are saying "Stanford only hires BSNs" I was curious. According to Stanford's job openings for nurses, some openings list "BSN required." Some list "BSN preferred." One opening didn't mention BSN.

If Stanford only hired BSNs, they wouldn't post a job opening as "preferred." It would say required.

Nurses should be motivated by quality of care, not compensation. If you're in any helping profession for the money, you're in the wrong profession.


Brittany R
Registered user
Stanford
on Apr 11, 2022 at 4:27 pm
Brittany R, Stanford
Registered user
on Apr 11, 2022 at 4:27 pm

Current Stanford RN here. I appreciate all of the community support in most of these comments! There are a few things I'd like to clarify, though.

A BSN isn't necessarily required to be hired at Stanford, but if you don't have one upon hiring, you will need to get your BSN within a short amount of time in order to keep your job. Part of Magnet status requires that most of your RNs have their BSNs (or higher).

This strike vote isn't because we're underpaid. According to the Bureau of Labor and Statistics, California inflation was 7.4% in 2021. We're asking for raises to keep up with the cost of living - that's all. We know that we're paid better than nurses in lots of places. We also know that we live in one of the most expensive areas in the world. It's hard or impossible to purchase property on a nurse's salary here, which means a lot of people end up living out of state or hours away (Sacramento, Mendocino, etc) just to be able to afford some kind of property.

And honestly, most of our fight doesn't have to do with money. Yes, it's part of it. But far more concerning is the difference from when I started at Stanford to now. Patients comment on how different the conditions were from a former hospitalization to their current hospitalization. Patients are sicker after pandemic years of putting off primary care, but we're expected to still take care of the same numbers of patients despite them needing much more help. If our staffing issues aren't handled, patient outcomes will suffer. We're burnt out, we have compassion fatigue, and we are continually asked to work more.

And we want better mental health benefits. What is currently in place for mental health is actually inaccessible for most. I know; I've tried. We want that system to be overhauled so nurses can access mental health support when we need it. We are generally very caring people and we WANT to help, but just like on an airplane you have to put your own mask on before you can help others.


Annette
Registered user
College Terrace
on Apr 11, 2022 at 6:50 pm
Annette, College Terrace
Registered user
on Apr 11, 2022 at 6:50 pm

@Jennifer - for a hint about SUH's approach to morale, recall the "mistake" that happened when the COVID vaccine was first released. Publicly, Stanford said front line workers would be the first to be vaccinated. That didn't happen. There was a protest at the hospital. Promises were made, but OOPS, it happened again. And Stanford had the temerity to blame the repeat "mistake" on an algorithm. That's a head-scratcher if ever there was one.

Nurses don't vote to strike against decent employers or employers with legitimate financial problems. Think about it: nurses hang in there when the going gets tough b/c it is part of a nurse's ethos to remain where needed. This strike is about much more than money.

Throughout COVID, the nurses soldiered on, despite their fatigue and the risks to their own health and the health of their families. SUH should be rewarding them not just in words on billboards, but in deeds. And bonuses. There should have been no need for this strike because SUH should have proactively recognized the contributions and the problems and eliminated all reasons for a strike. It's not as though SUH can't afford to be a decent employer. Stanford can afford to be an exemplary employer. It's a matter of choice.


Retired nurse
Registered user
Old Palo Alto
on Apr 12, 2022 at 11:29 am
Retired nurse, Old Palo Alto
Registered user
on Apr 12, 2022 at 11:29 am

Nurses are motivated by a variety of things including compensation. I would imagine that Jennifer would not sell a home or a car to a Nurse for less money. The fact is that nurses still have to pay for things just like the general population and the Bay Area is one of the most expensive places to live in the country. If the nurses are unable to afford to live near Stanford do you really want them to drive several hours followed by a 12 hour shift? I want Stanford’s motto of CI Care to extend to the staff as well as the patients. Right now the nurses need and appreciate the support of the community.


connie kettendorf
Registered user
Adobe-Meadow
on Apr 12, 2022 at 5:47 pm
connie kettendorf, Adobe-Meadow
Registered user
on Apr 12, 2022 at 5:47 pm

I'd like to clarify a few things posted herein.
Stanford is a Magnet Hospital SOLELY because of the nurses. It is a designation given for stellar nursing care and satisfied nurses. It is given by a national nursing organization. "Respect for nursing permeates the organization from top to bottom." It was originally an exploration as to why nurses stay at an institution. Professional satisfaction was a prime driver. MAGNET is all about the nurses.
Also, there were many studies conducted comparing patient outcomes, as to why they were so good at some hospitals and less so at others. Time and time again, when comparing apples and apples, the presence of a nurse was determined to be the primary driver of good outcome. Reference the Apache study and others.
So, Stanford nurses are primarily now asking, not for the money, but for better staffing for the sake of the patients. Time and again it is demonstrated that the patient is safer with a nurse at the bedside in a timely way.
Stanford nurses need more support at the bedside in providing nursing care. Over the past three years, the Hospital has cut back on nursing assistants, pharmacy support, housekeepers, lift team help, supply chain personnel, IT help, and transporters. ( Did I say nursing assistants?!) Stanford hemorrhages permanent staff for a reason.
Please know the strike vote is primarily about patients' welfare.


Annette
Registered user
College Terrace
on Apr 12, 2022 at 7:02 pm
Annette, College Terrace
Registered user
on Apr 12, 2022 at 7:02 pm

Question to Connie Kettendorf: is it correct to assume that this strike, which seems to have quite a lot to do with the professional satisfaction of SUH nurses, puts Stanford's status as a Magnet Hospital at risk? If yes, do you know the ramifications of that? Does that impact recruiting? Can you shed light on what the magnet designation means to doctors, nurses, and other staff when evaluating a job opportunity?

There are myriad reasons for staying healthy; this strike is yet another. Why would anyone choose to go to Stanford for medical care while the problems causing 93% of the voting members of the nurses union to vote to strike are active?


Online Name
Registered user
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Apr 12, 2022 at 9:17 pm
Online Name, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
Registered user
on Apr 12, 2022 at 9:17 pm

@Connie, thank you. What happens when the nurses describe to Stanford administration the specific ways patients care is suffering?


Peter Carpenter
Registered user
Menlo Park
on Apr 12, 2022 at 10:02 pm
Peter Carpenter, Menlo Park
Registered user
on Apr 12, 2022 at 10:02 pm

It is useful to remember that the nurses's union is CRONA - which stands for Committee for the Recognition of Nursing Achievement.

CRONA was formed in the late '60s for exactly that purpose - to recognize nursing achievement. The nurses did not set out to create a union but rather sought a mechanism whereby their professional achievements could be recognized.

After a number of years of functioning superbly as such a committee the National Labor Relations Board determines that, by discussing terms and conditions of the nurses's work, CRONA was a de facto union.


cvvhrn
Registered user
Midtown
on Apr 13, 2022 at 10:57 am
cvvhrn, Midtown
Registered user
on Apr 13, 2022 at 10:57 am

@Annette sadly regarding Magnet, the ANCC has an almost incestuous relationship with hospital management. They are the ones paying the millions for this most bogus of designations. If it really was about the nurses, then it would be suspended immediately because 93% of 5000 nurses vote to strike, there is something wrong a the hospitals.

Its not just about compensation either. Its about safe staffing. This strike is also about the future of our patients and the community we serve. Do you want to go to to a hospital that is staffed properly so you get the care you need? Or do you want to go to a place like Vanderbilt where understaffing and a poor safety culture lead to the death of a patient and the criminal prosecution fo a nurse?


Hinrich
Registered user
Old Palo Alto
on Apr 17, 2022 at 6:29 pm
Hinrich, Old Palo Alto
Registered user
on Apr 17, 2022 at 6:29 pm

This article would be a better with specifics - how much are they making, what are the demands, how does Stanford compensation, benefits, and working conditions compare to other hospitals. I remember so many protests and walkouts and strikes by the Stanford nurses - what is the cause and why is this so frequent? I also remember the nurses protesting in front of Meg Whitman’s house during her run for Governor and the nurses activism during the Schwarzenegger administration among other times when the nurses - like the SEU seem to exert far too much influence on our political process. What exactly is the ask so that voters - and patients - can then follow the money?


Online Name
Registered user
Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
on Apr 17, 2022 at 8:04 pm
Online Name, Embarcadero Oaks/Leland
Registered user
on Apr 17, 2022 at 8:04 pm

If you read the following statement from the nurses Web Link you'll see that it's not primarily about money for each of the nurses so much as about the chronic understaffing that's hurting patient care and undermining the nurses' ability to treat the patients -- and to take care if themselves.

Also note MattR's comment from days ago which bears this out:

>>My wife is an L&D nurse. Over 30 years experience. Every morning at 5 AM, her phone pings if the floor is short staffed and they're looking for more nurses. It is a rare day that I don't hear the 5 AM ping.

I'm shocked that Stanford/LPCH is issuing boilerplate statements. They are understaffed and they know it. There is a shortage of travellers and they know it. The pandemic has made the job both harder and riskier and they know it...
>>>

Since Stanford -- one of the richest of all universities -- is building yet another $100,000,000 hospital, it boggles the mind that they should refuse to acknowledge the incredible contributions of their own staff and hire more nurses so patients AND their staff can thrive.

To build that new $100,000,000 they abruptly evicted hundreds of doctors and dentists from Welsh Road -- many of whom had been there for DECADES -- and sent those poor professionals and their patients scrambling in the middle of the pandemic!

Their insensitivity extends to patients undergoing long-term care and their families who need to be here to oversee their care. Some of whom occupy those unsightly RV's on El Camino; others reduced to begging on NextDoor for available rooms AND driveways to park in while they visit their family members!

They tell us they haven't added one single car trip during all these years of expansion so you can imagine what they tell the nurses!

Not everything is about the bottom line. Did they forget we just came through 2 atrocious, stressful years with the pandemic??

Shame on Stanford!!


Annette
Registered user
College Terrace
on Apr 17, 2022 at 8:37 pm
Annette, College Terrace
Registered user
on Apr 17, 2022 at 8:37 pm

Online Name wrote: "Shame on Stanford!!"

I agree; Stanford should never have let the situation at the hospitals get so bad that 93% of the nurses in the union voted to strike. That sure is whopping, especially when they know, first hand, how ruthless SUH management can be and what the stakes are for them personally. Things must be REALLY bad for such a high percentage of nurses to agree that a strike vote was necessary.

I encourage members of the community to support the nurses in this b/c Stanford's treatment of hospital personnel also impacts patients and their families. As has been said throughout the pandemic: we are all in this together.


rita vrhel
Registered user
Crescent Park
on Apr 18, 2022 at 3:46 pm
rita vrhel, Crescent Park
Registered user
on Apr 18, 2022 at 3:46 pm

Hospital RNs work long hours and incredibly hard during those hours. I believe I remember an article about most nurses not taking breaks or lunches,even though they are mandated, because they interfered with providing quality care.

Hospital nurses also have a high on the job injury rate usually involving their neck, back or shoulders. Lift teams were developed to reduce these injuries. What happens when they are not readily available; the nurse lifts or does what is needed to facilitate patient care.

As an RN, I left the hospital many years ago when I saw a 350 # patient in the ER. As obesity has increased, so have the demands on nurses.

Stanford's previous strike included staffing by traveling RNs (at a higher salary and paying for rooms at the Westin Hotel). I could never understand why that money could not have been used to improve working conditions for Stanford's loyal, long term and very devoted RNs.

I think it would be very hard to work with a traveling RN knowing they are making more per hr when Stanford states they have no money to improve working conditions!

Over 20% of all RNs left nursing (nationwide) during the pandemic. There is an acute health care personnel shortage esp. in high cost living areas, like Palo Alto.

Shame on Stanford for not acknowledging that RNs are the backbone and strength of their hospitals. RNs need and deserve everyone's support. Employers are most successful when employees are supported and valued.

Stanford should stop expanding their "empire" and start spending the funds necessary to meet nursing demands. Sadly, this is a long term issue which affects us all.

I would suggest those "against Stanford RN's demands" suit up and follow any RN for any shift. The entire shift. Most have no idea what a hospital RN does. The constant demands.

Watching RNs provide patient care, avoid emergencies and save lives would be a real education for so many. Just do it and then tell me what you think.

Thank you.


connie kettendorf
Registered user
Adobe-Meadow
on Apr 18, 2022 at 9:38 pm
connie kettendorf, Adobe-Meadow
Registered user
on Apr 18, 2022 at 9:38 pm

@Henrich. To answer a few of your comments:
You remember incorrectly. Stanford nurses have not been frequently marching and on strike. We went on strike ONCE in the past 40 years, in 2000. The Hospital forced us out because they wanted to break the union. Friendlies told us all.

Meg Whitman spoke out repeatedly against nurses, hence nurses' opposition to her.

Governor Schwarzenegger opposed staffing ratios (which are actually for the sake of the patients.) He also opposed law that required an institution to have adequate staff to move a patient, which again is for the protection of the patient (as well as the backs of the staff.) Nurses have more back injuries than truck drivers who unload their own trucks. The governor referred to nurses as "just another special interest group....." You can google the rest of his low-brow remark. The media confirmed that nurses saved his life when he was a heart patient at St. Mark's fortyish years ago; how quickly he forgot. His wife convinced him to cease targeting teachers and nurses. Men really should listen to their wives.
Sir, good staffing is for the safety and welfare of the patients as well as the nurses. Do you want a nurse who is not at your bedside when you are in need because she is overloaded with work elsewhere? The Apache study and others consistently concluded that bad things happen when a nurse cannot respond and respond in a timely way. State-of-the-art hospitals which had poor outcomes were determined to be subpar because of the absence of nurses who can rescue. Spend all you want on facilities, surgeons, diagnostics. With no nurse at the bedside, outcomes will suffer.
So, Sir, Stanford nurses want salaries that will attract permanent staff so the latter are the majority on a unit, rather than a majority traveler, as is true on some units now. Who do you want caring for you, Sir?


connie kettendorf
Registered user
Adobe-Meadow
on Apr 18, 2022 at 9:39 pm
connie kettendorf, Adobe-Meadow
Registered user
on Apr 18, 2022 at 9:39 pm

@Henrich. To answer a few of your comments:
Stanford nurses have not been frequently marching and on strike. We went on strike ONCE in the past 40 years, in 2000. The Hospital forced us out because they wanted to break the union. Friendlies told us all.

Meg Whitman spoke out repeatedly against nurses, hence nurses' opposition to her.

Governor Schwarzenegger opposed staffing ratios (which are actually for the sake of the patients.) He also opposed law that required an institution to have adequate staff to move a patient, which again is for the protection of the patient (as well as the backs of the staff.) Nurses have more back injuries than truck drivers who unload their own trucks. The governor referred to nurses as "just another special interest group....." You can google the rest of his low-brow remark. The media confirmed that nurses saved his life when he was a heart patient at St. Mark's fortyish years ago; how quickly he forgot. His wife convinced him to cease targeting teachers and nurses. Men really should listen to their wives.
Sir, good staffing is for the safety and welfare of the patients as well as the nurses. Do you want a nurse who is not at your bedside when you are in need because she is overloaded with work elsewhere? The Apache study and others consistently concluded that bad things happen when a nurse cannot respond and respond in a timely way. State-of-the-art hospitals which had poor outcomes were determined to be subpar because of the absence of nurses who can rescue. Spend all you want on facilities, surgeons, diagnostics. With no nurse at the bedside, outcomes will suffer.
So, Sir, Stanford nurses want salaries that will attract permanent staff so the latter are the majority on a unit, rather than a majority traveler, as is true on some units now. Who do you want caring for you, Sir?


Citizen
Registered user
College Terrace
on Apr 20, 2022 at 10:17 am
Citizen , College Terrace
Registered user
on Apr 20, 2022 at 10:17 am

I wonder how many nursing union members wrote on this thread?

Capitalism works well, which is why the US has the highest per capita wealth in the world for its size.


Andy
Registered user
Mountain View
on Apr 21, 2022 at 10:11 am
Andy, Mountain View
Registered user
on Apr 21, 2022 at 10:11 am

I agree with Peter Carpenter's comment early on. Settle this quickly. My wife is battling two different types of cancer and was set for kidney surgery next Wednesday. Today Stanford called saying they were canceling all surgeries for next week. It seems premature but I guess the assumption is that this will not be settled in advance of the strike date. Both sides should hammer this out and not play with patients lives. I speak as a strong pro-labor person as well as a former Stanford Health Care employee.


Resident 1-Adobe Meadows
Registered user
Adobe-Meadow
on Apr 26, 2022 at 9:22 am
Resident 1-Adobe Meadows, Adobe-Meadow
Registered user
on Apr 26, 2022 at 9:22 am

In Redwood City SU has an apartment complex called The Cardinal on Jefferson and El Camino - across from the train station. It is a giant structure. SU has demonstrated that they are capable of adding housing in dense locations that support their growth plans. They also have a hospital in RWC next to 101 and a new campus. All of this is recent development activity on SU's part.

That raises the question as to why the Palo Alto campus has so much open land that is not built on when there is an obvious shortage of housing for SU workers on the Palo Alto campus.

The hospital is a signature component of the campus - I donate to them. So why the lack of management and school funding at that location? If they are asking for donations but do not demonstrate that they are using the donations correctly then people will stop and direct their donations to other children's hospitals. Why is the management of this institution not functioning in a common-sense manner?


2Sides2aStory
Registered user
Woodside
on Apr 27, 2022 at 9:58 am
2Sides2aStory, Woodside
Registered user
on Apr 27, 2022 at 9:58 am

Let's take the emotional aspect out of this issue since the news seems to be looking for sensational headlines. I love and respect nurses just like everyone, especially having seen what they endured through pandemic. However, let's look at this from legal, employment stance and on how a union works. When a worker chooses to go on strike, that person is not entitled to a normal paycheck from their employer. However, many unions will have a strike fund that will help striking employees meet their basic financial needs. Standard national practice is that employer-paid benefits are only provided to employees who are actively working. During work stoppage, nurses who choose to strike may continue their health coverage through COBRA. This standard practice is not unique to either hospital and applies to any employee who are not working, are on unpaid status, and are not on an approved leave. If you or I left our employer, they wouldn't pay for our benefits. So why are the hospitals being made to look like the bad guy here about not paying their salary or benefits during this strike? These nurses don't even pay for their benefits like you and I do for "employee cost" whereas all other SHC workers do. Per their careers page, both hospitals offer comprehensive mental health benefits, crisis counseling services free of charge through an EAP, along with several other programs and resources available to all their employees. So, what truly more do they want? The proposal from the hospital include wage increases that will keep nurses among the HIGHEST paid nurses in the nation, greater retention bonuses in the first year, funds to help repay loans incurred while seeking a nursing degree, increased access to paid time off for new nurses, and a new program for retention-incentive payments for nurses working in units with higher vacancy rates and hard-to-fill positions. Pandemic hurt the supply & demand as we are seeing "great resignations". So just remember 2 sides to a story


ndn
Registered user
Downtown North
on Apr 27, 2022 at 2:18 pm
ndn, Downtown North
Registered user
on Apr 27, 2022 at 2:18 pm

The "2sides of a story" says:
....The proposal from the hospital include wage increases that will keep nurses among the HIGHEST paid nurses in the nation, greater retention bonuses in the first year, funds to help repay loans incurred while seeking a nursing degree.....

yet, the Highest paid nurses in the nation cannot afford to rent in the area sufficiently near the Hospital.

Could it be that these are also the most exhausted nurses in the nation?

Look at the reality of their demands. They are not asking for the moon, just a mere reasonably decent quality of life, that does not compromise their health
and wellbeing too much. Running (literally) to manage a 12 hour shift(eating a scrap or two for a meal) while worrying how you are going to drive another 1.5 hours afterwards to get home and how your children are faring while your landlord gives you an increase on your month-by-month lease and wondering how much longer you are able to be a Stanford nurse when J Hopkins offers a good deal...

So decent pay and more nursing staff eludes Stanford? What a loss for all, patients, medical school and nurses.


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