NEW YORK NURSE: July/August 2009
My NYSNA delegates keep telling me it’s important to file a Protest of Assignment form when I get frustrated with staffing on my unit. But it takes time to do the form. Why should I bother?
It may take a couple of minutes to fill out a Protest of Assignment (POA) form, but it’s crucial that you do so. POAs are filed by registered nurses who believe, in their independent assessments, that their patient assignments are unsafe.
Filing a POA serves two purposes:
The Joint Commission staffing standards specify that a sufficient number of qualified registered nurses must be on duty at all times to give patients the nursing care that requires the judgment and specialized skill of the RN.
NYSNA created the POA form as a communication and documentation tool for registered nurses. If you are a member of a NYSNA bargaining unit and believe that an assignment is unsafe for patients, you should:
NYSNA tracks completed POAs to use in staffing, nursing practice, and labor/management committee meetings; when lobbying for RN-workplace legislation; and in media campaigns to support contract negotiations.
This question came up at the “Stand Up for Your Nursing Practice” workshop, presented by NYSNA Labor Educator Diane K. Salerno on May 14, and is an illustration of how valuable such workshops can be in helping you address your workplace concerns.
NYSNA has a published a manual, “Nurses’ Rights and Responsibilities,” that summarizes what to do in unsafe patient care situations. Members can access it from NYSNA’s members-only website, members.nysna.org.
The NYSNA EGW Program receives many inquiries each month from members who have problems in their workplaces. If you have a question about labor relations at your facility, contact your NYSNA nursing representative. If you have a question you think should be featured in this column, send it to: RNs at Work, NYSNA, 120 Wall Street, 23rd Floor, New York, N.Y. 10005.