UCMC closes trauma center in preparation for nursing strike

UCMC closes trauma center in preparation for nursing strike

par John R. Fischer, Senior Reporter | November 22, 2019

Another impasse in talks, according to the union, is a hospital proposal to eliminate the positions of patient care support nurses, who assist floor nurses with various tasks such as managing IVs and transporting patients for testing. UCMC denies this, claiming that the proposal calls for transferring PCSNs to positions that fulfill the union’s request for more direct bedside nursing support.

Elaine Mister, a nurse case manager at UCMC, says the transition would involve PCSNs becoming part of an IV team over a course of 18 months. She asserts that such a move would hurt patient care, and does not incorporate the experience and full skill sets that PCSNs have to offer.

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"You are actually going to decrease your scope of practice from being able to offer assistance to a nurse with her patient for any type of screening, radiology, testing, MRs," she told HCB News. "If a patient comes in for a broken leg and now has had a stroke, that patient needs extra care and needs to be moved to an ICU bed. While we’re waiting for that patient to be sent to an ICU bed, that patient care support nurse could have taken over for that nurse. Now you’re just going to have her start IVs. We are more than that."

Other NNOC/NNU demands include increased pay and staffing.

NNOC/NNU nurses at UCMC made an average of $107,987 for three days of work per week in 2018, according to UCMC. It also says they earn on average about $30,000 more than the median salary of $77,710 for acute care hospital nurses in the Chicago area, with the average benefit package of full-time nurses worth $23,871 in 2018.

Bargaining sessions have been set for Thursday and Friday. The union and hospital also plan to meet once more on the day of the strike, as well as hold two additional sessions on December 11 and 18. Both are currently working alongside a federal mediator.

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