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3,100 Florida RNs Celebrate Landmark First Contract

Kudos to Florida nurses, members of the National Nurses United (NNU), on a fantastic new contract!

This out this morning from PR Wire:

Registered nurses at 10 Florida hospitals that are a part of the nation's largest for profit-hospital chain, Nashville-based HCA, have achieved their first collective bargaining contract with important improvements in patient care protections and enhanced professional and economic standards. Together, these provisions will help keep experienced RNs on staff at the bedside, National Nurses United (NNU) announced today. NNU is the largest union and professional association of registered nurses in the U.S., with 170,000 members.

The agreement affects some 3,100 RNs at HCA hospitals throughout Florida: Central Florida Regional Hospital, Doctors Hospital of Sarasota, Largo Medical Center, St. Petersburg General Hospital, Trinity Medical Center, Fawcett Memorial Hospital, Northside Hospital, Osceola Regional Medical Center, Oak Hill Hospital and Blake Medical Center.

"This is a historic day for Florida RNs," said Julia Scott, RN, "and we hope it can be a road map for our colleagues nationwide." Scott is on staff at the Medical Intensive Care Unit, Largo Medical Center.

Safe patient care is the centerpiece of the contracts, said the Florida nurses. Florida HCA management agreed to a Professional Practice Committee made up of elected RNs at each of the 10 facilities. Charged with making recommendations to management on improving patient care, these committees will provide input on technologies and workplace safety.

Another safe patient care provision in the agreement covers patient staffing levels. The contract provides staffing by level, tying the numbers of nurses assigned to patients—ratios—to severity of medical condition and stage of  recovery. The contract establishes staffing levels as policy enforceable by staffing committees. Staffing committees are comprised equally of staff RNs on joint committees with management to review staffing issues in each of the hospitals, per the new agreements.

Thousands of nurses joined National Nurses Organizing Committee-Florida, NNU's state affiliate, last year in a series of union elections.

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