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Nurses Push for Texas Health Care Law

On KNON radio, 89.3 FM in Dallas, nurses associated with the National Nurses Organizing Committee pushed for a new Texas Hospital Patient Protection Act in the 2007 Legislature. "RL" and "Evelyn" talked about their many years of experience in Texas hospitals. They said to get in touch with 800 540 3603 or to help them organize support for health care legislation. One of the most interesting aspects was that nurses have very little "whistleblower" protection and the new bill would give them that.

A woman named "Joan" called in to say that she was a Medical Technician who tried to be a patient advocate. She kept asserting that "you doom yourself when you say you're a patient advocate." She was fired, she said. Her appeals were fruitless, she said. An emergency room doctor called in to agree with the nurses on the problem of staffing ratios.

The nurses also made the point that a new Texas law would help organize the kind of support that will be needed to push national health care. The Conyers Act, HR676, already has over 50 Central Labor Councils and many unions on board. The current Congress has never let it be voted on, but many congresspersons have signed on as co-sponsors. Union people hope it will get out of committee once the new Congress is seated.

The NNOC held a rally 200 strong in Austin on November 14 for the Hospital Patient Protection Act. It would:
* Set minimum RN-to-patient staffing Ratios
* Assure RNs the legal guarantee to serve as patient advocates
* Establish real whistle-blower protections for RNs who expose unsafe conditions

Similar legislation, supported by NNOC, has already passed in California.

The nurses have been invited back to KNON for an update in January.

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