“The biggest benefit to having UNAC/UHCP at St. Francis is an increase in the number of nurses at the hospital. St. Francis is an attractive place to work because we have great benefits, competitive pay, and a mutually respectful working environment.”
I was introduced to nursing during my senior year of high school. I took it as an elective course, but never really took it seriously. It wasn’t until my father had a crush injury that I truly became interested in becoming a nurse. While he was working under a van, an explosion caused the van to fall on top of him. Although I wasn’t sure why at the time, I put my hand on his stomach. All I knew was that there was internal bleeding so I applied pressure to the wound. He was taken to Martin Luther King, Jr. Hospital and they saved his life.
I started working as a CNA at St. Francis in 1994. Later, I became an LVN and then received my RN license in 2004. Health care has been my first and only job. When people ask me why I like what I’m doing, I always say because it is very rewarding. I enjoy helping people. It can be stressful at times, but you learn how to strategically deal with different situations. You learn how to manage patients who are struggling. You effectively communicate with patients to help them feel more comfortable, in spite of the fact that being in a hospital can be traumatic for many. We serve a rather large Hispanic population and sometimes patients even offer me their blessing for what I’ve done to make their hospital experience easier.
The biggest benefit to having UNAC/UHCP at St. Francis is an increase in the number of nurses at the hospital. St. Francis is an attractive place to work because we have great benefits, competitive pay, and a mutually respectful working environment. The people in my unit know the benefit of having UNAC/UHCP at St. Francis. When issues come up, our contract makes it easy to effectively deal with whatever we might be experiencing. Our union representatives are always there to help clarify changes made by hospital management to how we provide patient care.
I think people forget the union isn’t some outside organization – it’s us. We are the union and having UNAC/UHCP here gives us a voice in the workplace. As a union activist, I make sure people remember that it is all of us together that make up our local union. You have to get involved if you want something to change, for the well being of yourself and, most importantly, for your patients.