RN Response Network Mobilizes Volunteer Nurses to Care for Butte Fire and Valley Fire Evacuees

As the weekend drew to a close, and California’s devastating wild fires continued to destroy homes and leave hundreds of evacuees displaced, National Nurses United’s Registered Nurse Response Network (RNRN) mobilized teams of volunteer nurses to help provide care for Butte and Valley fire evacuees.

“I live in Manteca, so these fires impacting areas like Jackson and Burson are only about 40 minutes from my house; I felt really compelled to help my own people,” says volunteer Amy Glass, RN, of Kaiser Modesto—a hospital which counts its own RNs among the Butte fire evacuees. “It’s just so upsetting to see people having to live outside; they’re out here because they have nowhere else to go.”

The Valley Fire began over the weekend, around 115 miles west of Sacramento—so far engulfing 67,000 acres. According to fire officials, the blaze has destroyed 585 homes, resulted in one confirmed death, and displaced around 13,000 people. The Butte Fire has blazed over more than 71,600 acres, destroying 166 homes and displacing around 10,000 people. To date, 2,362 fire workers have the Valley fire 15 percent contained, and 4,668 firefighters have the Butte fire 37 percent contained.

Glass was joined in her relief efforts by fellow RNRN volunteers, who scouted sites where nurses could be of most assistance. By Monday night, the Butte fire team settled on making rounds through the Burson Full Gospel Church, New Hogan Lake Park, and Lake Camanche—all gathering places for evacuees. Around 150 evacuees have so far settled into free camping on Lake Camanche’s south shore—and RNRN volunteers have been caring for everything from a child’s cut toe, to a man with burns from repairing an overheated vehicle, trying to get his family to safety.

“When we showed up at the Camanche campground and said, ‘We’re nurses; how can we help?’—they directed us immediately to a baby who had an ear ache,” says Katy Roemer, RN, of Kaiser Oakland’s Mother/Baby unit. “Babies don’t have fully developed immune systems yet, and it’s really concerning because here you are, living out in the open.”

Roemer—who also volunteered with RNRN during Hurricane Sandy—said she learned from her previous disaster-based nursing experience that it can be especially important for nurses to act as logistics coordinators, helping patients figure out how to access any additional required care, during a time when everything around them is crumbling. In this case, RNRN nurses served as a conduit between the baby’s mother and a doctor who was volunteering in the area, in the event a full-blown ear infection would require a prescription for antibiotics.

RNRN volunteers say they were touched by the way in which the tightly knit, mountain communities pulled together, with donations of clothing and food, and signs saying, “Stay positive!” and “We love our firefighters.” But the one thing neighbors can’t provide for each other is medical care, and with the nearest hospital an hour away and some residents struggling even pre-fire to access insurance or to cover a co-pay, nurses emphasize that people need to have a single payer healthcare system that covers everyone, at bare minimum—or healthcare post-disaster becomes even more of a challenge.



“I’m struck by how much not having an investment in public health is evident in disasters,” says Roemer, who explained they came across a local public health nurse “doing a heroic job” working 12 hour shifts to help members of the community, when she and her family hadn’t fully finished evacuating. “When you have a disaster, you have to have systems in place and then be able to implement them very quickly. Our emergency systems on a daily basis are stretched to the limit, and when we have a disaster, we can’t cope.”

“How do we deal with this now and in the future?” Roemer muses. “We need to invest in systems that are capable of responding—and we have to stop climate change. We have a state that is in a very dire situation; I looked at a map the other day, and there were so many fires, I couldn’t even count them; it got depressing. If you want to get to the root of all of it, you’ve got to address the climate crisis and invest in systems to stop climate change.”

Glass agrees, saying, “We really need people to start doing their part to address climate change now, or we’re going to be seeing more and more of these disasters.”

For their part, RNRN nurses will continue making the rounds of the Butte fire sites—and an additional team, including retired nurse practitioner Ann Mackenzie and Kaiser Oakland RN Erik Hoagland, is being dispatched to Calistoga to provide support for the Valley fire on Tuesday. As long as it is safe for them to continue, registered nurses say they will be on site at the fire-impacted areas for the duration of the time evacuees need care.

“It’s an honor to be here. People have been so grateful, and I’m thankful I’ve had this opportunity,” says Glass, whose voice cracks with emotion, recounting personal stories she’s heard—the fellow nurse who still wasn’t sure whether land in his family for 150 years had survived the fire, the people who left behind horses, with a phone number hastily scrawled on their hooves, in the event they were able to escape.

As the fire-driven winds kick up and white caps form on the drought-low waters of Lake Camanche, Glass embodies the same determination and care she’s seen in those around her, emphasizing, “I’m coming back with more nurses.”

RNRN is a project of National Nurses United, the nation’s largest union and professional organization of RNs, Global Nurses United, (GNU) and the California Nurses Foundation, a 501(c)(3) nonprofit. This network of direct-care RNs coordinates sending volunteer nurses to disaster-stricken areas where and when they are needed. With more than 20,000 direct-care RN members, RNRN has cared for thousands of patients during deployments that include the 2004 South Asia tsunami, Hurricanes Katrina and Rita, the massive earthquake in Haiti in 2010 and Super Typhoon Haiyan/Yolanda among others.

If you would like to make a tax-deductible donation to support the general RNRN disaster relief fund, go to http://nationalnursesunited.org/rnrn-disaster-relief-fund

If you are a nurse who would like to volunteer for the RNRN Valley and Butte fire efforts or for future needs, please visit: http://www.pcrecruiter.net/pcrbin/regfirst.exe?uid=haiti%20import.nnu&title1=Volunteer

Executive Director, RoseAnn DeMoro Speaks on Sanders’ call to Organized Labor

We are truly in an amazing and transformative time.  It’s not a fantasy, it will last for years to come if we are sincerely committed to the change that this campaign, our campaign, with Bernie represents.
The National Nurses Union so proudly endorsed Bernie the first minute that we could.  We know and trust who Bernie is.  He has stood for decades on Medicare for All and so many other critical policies to help working people.  Each of us knows the heartbreak of losing someone to illness that was preventable or seeing jobs and communities disappear just for greed.  Now, our right to have a union, collective bargaining itself, is up for grabs with right to work laws and union elimination on the agenda in the race for the presidency.  We need someone who won’t give us anymore false promises.  We need a warrior in the White House.  Bernie Sanders is that warrior.
We so deeply appreciate Senator Sanders taking this time out of his life to speak for all of us.  But we must work as hard as he is, to change our country, to protect working people.   Nurses continuously ask in awe if we can really make this happen. We can, because we must. But that can only happen from hard work.  The established political class attached to Wall Street has nothing but money.  But we genuinely have the people.  It really is that simple and it’s exciting.
I ask you to imagine a world where Bernie Sanders leads this country and our words are echoed through the halls of congress… our words, our passions, our beliefs.  I’m asking nurses, bus drivers, everyone if you are with Bernie, with me, please press 1 now on your phone to say that “yes,” Bernie can count on you to work on this campaign.  Press 1 to say that “we’ll be there for Bernie,” as he continues this unbelievable battle for all of us.  Pushing 1 means you are willing to volunteer to work in your community or union. Not just support but volunteer.
Thank you so much.  And thank you Bernie from all of us…  Remember to press 1 for a political revolution!




A Labor Day Story: Union Nurses Making a Difference

As Labor Day approaches, National Nurses United offers a look at the critical achievements of unionized nurses—as a collective force for healing—in upholding the wellbeing of our country, our communities and the planet.

“I couldn’t be more proud of RNs for standing up again and again to protect public health. That has been true inside hospitals, where our nurses fight for the highest standards of patient care, and also out in the world, where they campaign for the economic, environmental and racial justice that is critical to the overall health of our country,” says NNU Co-President Jean Ross, RN. “Labor Day highlights the importance of protecting nurses’ right to continue working collectively for a healthier world.”

The positive impact of RNs in the public arena can be traced back to the earliest American nurses. These RNs, who included women like Lillian Wald and Lavinia Dock, saw communities in desperate need and poverty—whether it was from poor sanitation, lack of opportunities for children working in sweatshops, or no access to healthcare. To advocate for their patients’ health, these nurses understood that they needed to advocate for social reform on a broader level; many early 20th century RNs were deeply involved in social movements. Wald and Dock were representative of nurses who expanded the role of RNs in advocating on behalf of the public interest by speaking out on issues such as women’s suffrage, child labor law protections, and union and worker’s rights.

Landmark Gains and Continued Points of Advocacy for Union Nurses

Today, nurses continue this tradition of public health advocacy and social reform. To commemorate Labor Day, here are some important causes the RNs of National Nurses United have recently championed—and continue to work toward:  

Organizing thousands of RNs in previously non-union hospitals:  Since its founding 5 years ago, NNU has helped nearly 25,000 RNs in over 50 hospitals organize into NNU.  This union organizing record is among the best in the US labor movement. By organizing to join NNU, RNs have won landmark patient care provisions in their NNU union contracts, and guaranteed their ability to advocate for their patients without fear of retaliation. The results have led to dramatic improvements in patient care and RN retention and recruitment, and have helped defeat employer attempts to worsen working conditions, along with pay and benefits, for hospital RNs. The addition of many thousands of RNs into NNU also strengthens NNU’s overall efforts to heal America, and provides hope and power to the American labor movement.

 Safe Staffing Ratios: Studies have proven that safe nurse-to-patient staffing ratios improve patient outcomes and save lives. In 1999, California became the only state in the US with comprehensive nurse-to-patient ratios, won by NNU RNs after years of battle against the powerful hospital lobby. Meanwhile, across the U.S., hospitals continue tojeopardize patient care with chronic short staffing. That’s why NNU is pursuing federal and state laws mandating nurse-to-patient ratios.

Proper safety procedures to protect against infectious diseases: In 2014, NNU facilitated the U.S. arm of a global RN Ebola action. In 14 states and the District of Columbia—as well as from Ireland to the Philippines—over 100,000 nurses protested lax Ebola protections/guidelines. NNU’s work led to California Gov. Brown directing the California Occupational Health and Safety Administration to upgrade existing Ebola guidelines to the highest possible protections, including HazMat suits. Ebola may be a harbinger of future pandemics, for which U.S. hospitals are still not prepared, and NNU continues to fight at the federal level for the highest protections against infectious diseases, to ensure those with the power to save countless lives are around to do that job.

Other critical protections for patients, nurses: Each year, thousands of RNs suffer back and musculoskeletal injuries while providing care. In 2014, NNU fought for and won safe patient handling regulations in California, requiring hospital employers to have staff and equipment available at all times to assist with patient mobilization. NNU nurses also won California’s landmark Healthcare Workplace Prevention Act in 2014, to address the fact that violence against hospital workers is almost five times greater than the average worker in all other industries combined. Rather than criminalizing perpetrators, who are often mentally ill or brain injured patients, this legislation—a model for the nation—holds hospitals accountable for prevention before the violence occurs, protecting nurses, patients and families.

 Medicare for All: With health care costs that account for nearly a fifth of Gross Domestic Product, the U.S. spends almost double what most wealthy countries spend on health care, and yet, by virtually every measure, has worse outcomes. RNs know that a government financed health care system—known widely as a “single-payer” system—is the answer. On July 30, 2015, Medicare turned 50, and RNs and other advocates conduced actions throughout the U.S.—part of a campaign to expand Medicare to everyone as the most cost-effective way to provide this single standard of high-quality care for all, without financial barriers.

Climate Change: A World Trade Organization study attributes one in eight deaths worldwide to air pollution. Who better to lead the battle against environmental degradation than nurses, who are on the front lines, helping to treat asthma, emphysema and other chronic respiratory diseases that are triggered and worsened by carbon emissions? Whether it be addressing international conferences in Peru, opposing the Keystone XL Pipeline or marching with striking oil workers in California for safer oil refineries, RNs and allies are working to arrest perhaps the gravest threat to public health in the 21st century.  

 Robin Hood Tax on Wall Street: This tiny tax—about a nickel for every $10 exchanged—is a tax on the very Wall Street transactions that triggered the Great Recession. Economists estimate that such a tax could generate between $300 and $350 billion a year, helping to heal communities by funding a single-payer health system, eliminating student debt, ending HIV/AIDS, or building affordable housing. National Nurses United is part of a broad, worldwide coalition that supports a Robin Hood Tax.

And in the electoral arena:

Campaigning for Bernie Sanders for President: NNU was the first national union to endorse Bernie Sanders for President. In announcing the endorsement, NNU Executive Director RoseAnn DeMoro noted his issues “align with nurses from top to bottom,” including those cited above—Medicare for all, a tax on Wall Street speculation to heal American communities, robust action on climate change—and a host of other priorities. NNU leaders and activists continue to be a significant presence in the Sanders campaign.

Higher Power: Joining with Pope Francis in the fight for healthcare justice

RoseAnn DeMoroImagine if the tens of millions of nurses in the world start working actively together with the leader of the world’s 1.2 billion Catholics, 16 percent of the planet’s population, on confronting the health consequences of climate change and environmental degradation.

And, jointly pressing all nations – including the most recalcitrant, our own – to accept healthcare as a fundamental human right.

That’s the goal of a petition campaign we’ve started seeking an audience with leaders of Global Nurses United with Pope Francis during his visit to the United States in September. Sign it online at http://www.congressweb.com/nnu/19.

GNU, of course, is the global federation of 20 unions of nurses in 18 countries in the Americas, Africa, Asia, Australia, and Europe, including NNU, all of whom have been leading voices in their countries in fighting for healthcare justice, from pollution to the climate crisis, to the work for universal, guaranteed healthcare for all.

What precipitates this call for an audience with Pope Francis is the remarkable encyclical on the environment issued by the Vatican in June.  (It can be read in full at http://w2.vatican.va/content/francesco/en/encyclicals/documents/papa-francesco_20150524_enciclica-laudato-si.html)

Much of the press attention on the encyclical singled out one flamboyant line: “The earth, our home, is beginning to look more and more like an immense pile of filth.”

Sadly, true enough. But there is far more. Pope Francis acknowledged the alarming rise of associated health hazards that nurses, including NNU members, have spoken out about for years.

“Some forms of pollution are part of people’s daily experience,” the Pope wrote. “Exposure to atmospheric pollutants produces a broad spectrum of health hazards, especially for the poor, and causes millions of premature deaths. “There is also pollution that affects everyone, caused by transport, industrial fumes, substances which contribute to the acidification of soil and water, fertilizers, insecticides, fungicides, herbicides and agrotoxins in general.”

That’s certainly not news to NNU members, who have been in the forefront of nationwide protests against the proposed Keystone XL pipeline, petcoke mounds in Chicago and Detroit, toxic spills in Michigan and Arkansas, tar sands oil trains, polluting refineries in Long Beach and Richmond, Calif., and so many other locales.

Additionally, the encyclical noted, “Climate change is a global problem with grave implications: environmental, social, economic, political, and for the distribution of goods. It represents one of the principal challenges facing humanity in our day.”

Again, that is in concert with the work of GNU members who have marched across the Golden Gate Bridge, testified in Congressional hearings and before local governments from coast to coast, and been a leading voice on the climate crisis.

Why? We know that climate disruption has been linked to a wide range of health problems associated with the unexpected spread of contagious disease including Ebola, cholera, bird flu, dengue fever, yellow fever, and other epidemics; malnutrition linked to drought and deforestation; bacteria-related food poisoning; and the escalating occurrence of super storms.  

And we have warned that fossil fuel pollution, and other environmentally associated contaminants that infect air, rivers, lakes, oceans, and food supply, have been directly linked to dangerous increases in heart and respiratory disorders, cancer, birth defects, skin and gastro-intestinal illness, and other health factors leading to premature death.

Not to mention how the fossil fuel industry, one of the most powerful economic forces on the planet, uses its clout in Congress and in other countries to block meaningful action on reversing the disastrous effects of climate change and reining in the polluters. Their colossal influence is one reason the Pope can observe that “frequently no measures are taken until after people’s health has been irreversibly affected.”

Pope Francis calls “for a new dialogue about how we are shaping the future of our planet. We need a conversation which includes everyone, since the environmental challenge we are undergoing, and its human roots, concern and affect us all.”

Nurses who are on the front lines in taking care of people whose health is directly compromised by these trends should be a part of that dialogue.

And, it also offers an opportunity to continue our GNU and NNU efforts to press every nation, especially ours, to accept and act on the premise that healthcare is a human right, that everyone should have an equal right to healthcare that’s not based on ability to pay, socio-economic status, gender, health behavior, or country or area of residence. In the United States alone, studies have reported a 40 percent increased risk of death for those without health coverage. Lack of health coverage or excessive costs for care result in numerous adverse health outcomes, delays in needed care, and higher societal costs.

“Our common home is falling into serious disrepair,” said the Pope. “Hope would have us recognize that there is always a way out, that we can always redirect our steps, that we can always do something to solve our problems. Still, we can see signs that things are now reaching a breaking point, due to the rapid pace of change and degradation” that have put major world regions and people now at high risk, he writes.

Together, the moral authority of the Vatican, as evidenced already by Pope Francis’ groundbreaking encyclical on climate change, and the high public regard for nurses offers an unprecedented opportunity to accelerate international efforts to redress these health emergencies.  Indeed, delay and inaction is no longer an option.  



Help RNs Hold St. Joseph Health System CEO Accountable For Change

The registered nurses of St. Joseph Health System (SJH) have recently released a new report, “Falling From Grace,” on ethical and patient care concerns at SJH hospitals. A Catholic network of hospitals, established in 1920 by nuns with a mission to heal the sick and needy, SJH has grown into a wealthy corporation with billions in assets, operated by lavishly compensated executives. (According to the most recent SJH tax returns, CEO Deborah Proctor earns $2.05 million per year.) The SJH nurses, whose collective voices are reflected in this new report describe a very different health system today—one that puts patients and nurses at risk.

As reflected in the report, SJH has:

  • Reaped millions in tax subsidies from California taxpayers, while providing among the lowest amount of charity care of any Catholic system;
  • Reduced patient access to registered nurses, other caregivers, and support staff, leading to unsafe staffing levels and delays in care;
  • Invested patient care and tax subsidized funds into for-profit companies, including hedge funds in the Cayman Islands;
  • Launched a system-wide campaign to illegally restrict the rights of its RNs to organize a union to advocate for improved treatment of patients and RNs.

Download the report at: SJHFallFromGrace.com

Please help nurses tell SJH to put patients above profits!
Take a moment to send an email to CEO Deborah Proctor expressing your concerns.


America celebrates 50 years of Medicare:  Parties, pies, and a rallying cry for change

America celebrates 50 years of Medicare: 
Parties, pies, and a rallying cry for change

 On July 30, nurses, seniors, elected official, healthcare activists, and more—threw a huge cross-country, 25-city celebration of Medicare’s 50th birthday. Under the rallying cry “Protect! Improve! Expand!” (PIE), it’s no wonder birthday cake gave way to pie on this landmark day, where community fun mixed with moving testimony on Medicare’s role in making healthcare a human right.

“For many, Medicare—and Medicaid—has saved their lives,” said Karen Higgins, RN and a co-president of National Nurses United at the Washington, D.C. rally. “Nurses at the bedside see the human value of Medicare every day: ensuring that seniors get the care that they need, keeping them healthy, saving them from bankruptcy due to medical costs.”

Check out images from the day, which included: Senator Bernie Sanders’ impassioned speech in Washington, D.C.; a pie contest in Portland, Maine; picnic fun in Lakewood, Ohio; rally in Detroit; and Medicare foe Paul Ryan getting “pied” in Oakland, Calif.; a carnival in Las Vegas; live music in Los Angeles; emotional testimony from nurses and patients—and a thousands-strong overall turnout in cities including Boston, Miami, El Paso, Chicago, Los Angeles and more.

“There is no human right I know that is more important than to say loudly and clearly, ‘Healthcare is a right of all people, not a privilege!’” said Sen. Sanders to the cheers of the crowd in Washington, D.C. “The time has come to say that we need to expand Medicare to cover every single man, woman, and child as a single-payer national healthcare program.”

Thanks to everyone who came out to celebrate 50 years of essential care for our most vulnerable—and to call for a future where Medicare is expanded to cover all!     

To see more pictures, go to flickr – https://www.flickr.com/photos/nationalnursesunited/sets/72157656494849006

A Decade After Katrina, RNs Reflect on What We’ve Learned and Refuse to Learn

On the 10th anniversary of Hurricane Katrina’s destruction along the Gulf Coast, registered nurse volunteers with the disaster relief program, Registered Nurse Response Network (RNRN), which sent hundreds of RN volunteers to provide disaster relief to the region in the wake of the deadly storm, say that critical lessons which exacerbated the 2005 crisis – global climate change, our lack of a national healthcare system, and failure to invest in public resources and infrastructure – have still not been learned.
Nurses from RNRN, a project of National Nurses United (NNU), the country’s largest organization of RNs, are back in New Orleans this week to show support for residents of the region and highlight that the problems, which existed 10 years ago, continue to fester.
RNs, some of whom volunteered with RNRN post-Katrina, will staff a first aid tent and participate in Katrina commemoration events hosted by Gulf South Rising, a coordinated regional movement of people and groups to highlight how the global climate crisis, and the rising sea levels that come with it, are affecting the Gulf Coast states.
“Things aren’t just the same, they’re worse,” said Malinda Markowitz, RN, a NNU vice president who will participate in the events. “As nurses, we always want to get at the root causes of illnesses, and Katrina exposed them all: the socioeconomic inequality, the racism, the lack of access to healthcare, how we’ve defunded our public infrastructure, and how our dependency on fossil fuels has accelerated climate change. On this anniversary, we are again working to build the movement needed to fix these problems.”

RNRN volunteer surveys hurricane damage                                             RNRN volunteer at Earl K. Long Medical Center in Baton Rouge, LA 

After Hurricane Katrina hit the Gulf and New Orleans flooded, forcing the evacuation of millions of residents and trapping – and sometimes killing – those who remained in the city, RNRN sprung into action to supply volunteer RNs to the affected areas.
What nurses learned was that there was no coordinated emergency system to respond to natural and man-made disasters such as this one. Federal, state, and county and municipal agencies all implemented their own plans, which resulted in chaos.
Despite the confusion, RNRN was ultimately able to determine the needs of various hospitals and state disaster agencies overwhelmed with the need for qualified medical providers and place more than 300 volunteer RNs in positions where they could fully utilize their skills, experience, and knowledge as registered nurses.
In Baton Rouge, La., RNRN sent rotations of nurse volunteers to relieve exhausted staff nurses at Earl K. Long Medical Center, the only public hospital (now closed) in the city where scores of New Orleans evacuees had fled. RNRN also sent nurse volunteers to a number of hospitals and clinics in other parts of the Gulf, and provided a significant percentage of nurses who staffed medical services for thousands of evacuees sheltered at the Houston Astrodome, where many New Orleans residents had been bussed.
A decade later, the nation has made little progress in addressing the systemic problems Hurricane Katrina laid bare:
Climate change, which results in rises in sea temperatures and likely increased the size and intensity of the hurricane, remains a major global crisis. Despite numerous climate summits and treaties, dependence on burning fossil fuels as the world’s primary energy source continues.
A number of countries lag behind efforts to reduce CO2 levels that scientists say must be lowered to arrest and reverse the warming of the earth. Many policy makers in the U.S., at the behest of the fossil fuel industry, continue to oppose robust action to stem the effects of the climate crisis. The earth’s current, identified fossil fuel energy stores – of oil, gas, coal, etc. – are already five times more than scientists say we can safely burn and not risk planetary collapse, and the U.S. is still one of the top two emitters of greenhouse gases.
Millions of Gulf residents are still without access to healthcare. While the Affordable Care Act did end some of the worst insurance industry abuses that shut many people out of access to coverage, many patients still cannot afford to use the health insurance they pay for because of the high deductibles and copayments those plans require. And while the Affordable Care Act greatly expanded Medicaid coverage, all of the Gulf states –Louisiana, Mississippi, Texas, Alabama, and Florida – have refused to take advantage of the expansion, depriving their states’ lowest-income residents of needed healthcare services.
Investments have been diverted away from public infrastructure and public resources and systems in New Orleans and the rest of Louisiana into privately owned entities. Public hospitals, such as Charity Hospital in New Orleans and teaching hospitals connected to Louisiana State University, were never reopened, have been shut down, or privatized. The New Orleans traditional public school system has been largely privatized and turned into a charter and voucher system.
The racial disparity in the post-Katrina “recovery” is especially pronounced. A recent Louisiana State University survey found that almost 80 percent of white New Orleans residents say that the city has “mostly recovered” from the disaster, but some 60 percent of black New Orleans residents say the city has “mostly not recovered.” African-Americans, reports 538.com, are less likely to be working than when the storm hit, more likely to be living in poverty, and the racial wage gap has grown. An estimated 100,000 of the city’s poorest African-Americans have been unable to return.
“Those populations that were more vulnerable before the disaster continue to remain the most vulnerable now,” said Bonnie Castillo, RN, director of the RNRN program. “Katrina taught us that these types of services – public housing, education, healthcare, safety – need to be centralized and socialized. Instead, there’s been a real move to decentralize and privatize. Nurses understand that full recover

A champion of nurses, patients and the people: NNU Endorses Bernie Sanders for President

“What Bernie Sanders’ campaign represents is an opportunity to not just speak truth to power, but to join movements together to change our country,” National Nurses United (NNU) Executive Director RoseAnn DeMoro emphasized Monday, to a crowd of cheering nurses. 

The 200-plus nurse members had gathered in NNU’s Oakland, Calif. office for a national conversation with Sanders—also broadcast live to thousands of additional RNs in cities from Des Moines and Chicago, to Kansas City and Orlando. Citing Sanders’ track record on supporting Medicare for all, fighting income inequality, working to end systemic racism, and “the same issues that animate nurses”—DeMoro concluded her introduction of Sanders with a special announcement.

“Today, nurses across the nation join up our movement to heal America with the phenomenon that has spontaneously erupted around Bernie Sanders,” DeMoro said. “I proudly announce that National Nurses United is endorsing Sen. Bernie Sanders—friend, human rights champion—for President of the United States.”

A sea of red-clad RNs chanted, “Bernie! Bernie!” as Sanders, ever a man of the people, accepted the nomination by first turning the focus back around on the crowd—and acknowledging the hard work of nurses.

“I am humbled and appreciative for your support.  You are the backbone of our healthcare system,” said Sanders. “On behalf of people of America, I want to thank you for the work that you do.”

Pointing out RNs often do not have adequate support and resources, due to healthcare corporations putting profits over patients, Sanders declared, “We have to change the healthcare system in America. And we have to change boldly and fundamentally the priorities of this nation so that not all our income is going to the top one percent.”

In an hour-long Q&A, Sanders fielded questions from RNs from across the country, fostering a meaningful exchange often punctuated by cheers. Callers asked about the VA system (Sanders supports efforts for VA nurses to organize and would fight back against underfunding/efforts to privatize), safe staffing (Sanders co-sponsors federal ratios bill S 864), access to healthcare (he supports Medicare for all) and other issues that are critical to nurses.

“Our vision is that when people get sick, they should be able to get healthcare, regardless of income because it is a right,” Sanders emphasized. He also fielded questions from press, including his plans for addressing systemic racism (an issue also important to NNU).

“I think the goals of Black Lives Matter are exactly right,” Sanders said, explaining that his campaign would be fighting for real criminal justice reform and to end the “vestige of institutionalized racism in the country,” as well as working toward a vision of economic equality that fully enfolded black lives into a world of increased jobs and expanded access to education.  

Sanders concluded the event by explaining, “The billionaire class is so powerful that no president alone can take them on alone. The way you push forward a progressive agenda is when millions of people stand up.”  

Cheering Sanders’ support for RN issues, nurses concluded the event by taking to their feet—and doing just that.



National Nurses’ Conversation with Senator Bernie Sanders

Senator Bernie Sanders—a champion of Medicare for all, national nurse-to-patient ratios, collective bargaining rights for RNs, Robin Hood Tax on Wall Street, and more—is inviting nurses to take part in a live, nationally broadcast conversation.

When:  Monday, Aug. 10
3 pm EDT/ 2 pm CDT/ 12 pm PDT

Join in, and you can help shape the role of nurses’ values in the upcoming political landscape.

To be part of the conference call, please RSVP at: www.att-rsvp.com.
Provide conference ID 366260 and then your name, email, and state.
You’ll then be sent the dial-in number.

Watch the conversation LIVE on our website here.

This is an exciting time and hope you can join us Monday. 

Thank you

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Nulla facilisi. Pellentesque semper lectus accumsan ipsum mollis, ac mattis nulla molestie. Morbi suscipit malesuada erat eu auctor. Etiam placerat eget arcu eu sollicitudin. Fusce laoreet consequat est ac lobortis. Nulla facilisi. Quisque eu diam auctor, mollis nulla eu, lobortis felis. Aliquam mollis nisl sed dignissim dignissim. Mauris vulputate aliquet venenatis. In hendrerit, felis et commodo molestie, tellus nunc eleifend libero, quis rhoncus massa magna eget eros. Pellentesque efficitur nisi id arcu vulputate, ac convallis diam tincidunt. Donec nec egestas magna, a lobortis urna. Donec cursus finibus tortor. Etiam mattis, erat vitae gravida dictum, risus libero pulvinar sapien, eget mollis lacus augue at erat. Pellentesque dapibus felis in ligula porttitor interdum.

Duis vulputate neque turpis, vel interdum metus commodo ac. Mauris ultricies et nisl nec ultrices. Integer imperdiet fermentum urna, sit amet pharetra sem tincidunt at. Sed ultricies nec nibh non malesuada. Nullam dui turpis, ornare vitae elit ac, vulputate accumsan odio. Praesent facilisis eros odio, et mattis justo ultricies ac. Donec nec maximus felis, a lobortis ante.

Sed vitae risus eu ipsum egestas tincidunt. Aenean ultrices risus tortor, eget iaculis elit luctus euismod. Morbi tristique ac massa id scelerisque. Praesent ultricies aliquet lacus id mattis. Proin ornare ipsum non iaculis lacinia. Etiam eget porta velit. Pellentesque cursus congue ornare. Curabitur nec odio suscipit sem viverra rutrum vel at nisl. In neque nisi, egestas et enim eu, accumsan euismod enim. Pellentesque neque est, placerat ut turpis non, condimentum aliquet felis. Duis risus turpis, euismod volutpat arcu id, aliquet eleifend massa. Donec eleifend tellus sit amet fringilla varius. Nulla lacinia id augue id condimentum. Integer eros ligula, porta nec est sed, faucibus viverra metus.