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‘Rally for Respect’ on Thursday in Bellingham

BELLINGHAM — The Washington State Nurses Association is holding a “Rally for Respect” from noon to 1 p.m. Thursday, Dec. 1 at Bellingham’s City Hall in support of the Registered Nurses at St. Joseph’s Hospital. (See the rally ad that appeared in Sunday’s Bellingham Herald.)

Hospital administrators are trying to unilaterally impose new shift restrictions and mandates upon nurses without engaging the RNs and considering their input.

“The nurses are the experts in patient care but they are being disrespected and ignored. They weren’t even brought into the discussion,” said WSNA’s Christine Himmelsbach, RN.  The WSNA wants to engage the community so everyone understands that these staffing issues have a direct affect upon the quality of patient care and upon nurse safety.

Hospital executives claim the new shift mandates are an effort to ensure nurses are rested, but the WSNA nurses’ suggested alternatives, including providing proper rest breaks, meal breaks and rest between shifts, have been ignored. The nurses point out that the mandates will increase the number of shift changes and patient “handoffs,” which adds to nurses’ workloads and puts patients at greater risk.

The WSNA feels the shift mandates are a misguided effort to cut costs amid the hospital’s latest effort to trim its budget.

TAKE A STAND! Show your support for St. Joseph’s nurses by attending the “Rally for Respect” Thursday from noon to 1 p.m. at Bellingham City Hall, 210 Lottie St, rain or shine! Please wear WSNA’s trademark BLUE! For more information, email Tara Goode or call her at 206-406-7203.

The Washington State Nurses Association is a professional organization representing more than 16,000 registered nurses in Washington state. WSNA effectively advocates for the improvement of health standards and availability of quality health care for all people; promotes high standards for the nursing profession; and advances the professional and economic development of nurses. For more information, visit

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