An open letter to Allina leadership

21 Jun

June 21, 2010
To: Ken Paulus, Jeff Peterson, Terry Graner, and Kevin Graham

When you justify your request for cuts of my benefits as a necessary measure to exercise fiscal responsibility, I ask that you exhibit the same responsibility by taking the same percentage raises, the same pension cuts, the same hour/FTE cuts as those asked of me.

When you claim the need for “belt tightening” as a resource stewardship measure, I ask that you restrain from duplicating serivces, spend on new faciilties, or enhance existing facilities with expensive cosmetic improvements.  I also ask that you consider your staff a valuable resource in your organization.  You might also want to curtail the catering and extra perks to the Command Center if fiscal responsibility is your main objective.

When you welcome us and state your appreciation for nursing, I ask that you do not illegally lock out my brothers and sisters from work, treat us like criminals, and utilize security as means of intimidation.  Do not portray us to the media as a group of greedy individuals.  Your words must be consistent with your actions if your want our trust.

When you feel the need to remind me of the need for professionalism, I ask you to remember that I am the one caring for these patients 24/7, I am the one making excuses concerning your lack of bedside manner or your current unavailability, I am the primary CAREGIVER of those patients.   Do not demean me and yourself by taking the patronizing attitude of reminding me that patients come first.

When you try to incite my fears and tell me that in this economy I am lucky to have a job.  I ask you to remember the contributions I have made to Allina.   My willingness to take voluntary leaves of absence when needed, matched with my ability to pick up overtime, has not only allowed you to meet the bottom line, but also allowed you to meet our community needs.  I have demonstrated my flexibility, but there are limits.

When you feel the need to communicte your disappointment for those willing to defend safe staffing ratios or when you question my commitment to my patients, I ask you to remember the unsafe events / staffing of June 10 2010, despite overstaffing to levels above and beyond what we are asking in our current proposals, we all know that things did not go as well as you claim.  Please do not insult my intelligence by claiming otherwise.

When you state your support for the Nursing Department, I ask you that, in the future, you have the same visibility as the one given to the replacement staff on June 10, 2010.  Some of us have worked here for years and still do not know what you look like.  Don’t be shy, visit sometime and maybe you will gain a better understanding of our work and contributions.


Abbott Northwestern RN

37 Responses to “An open letter to Allina leadership”

  1. Susan M. Hiner June 21, 2010 at 4:42 pm #

    Spoken from the heart of every nurse!

  2. Allina RN June 21, 2010 at 4:46 pm #


    • ellen June 25, 2010 at 4:18 am #


  3. Lisa Dryden June 21, 2010 at 5:09 pm #

    I think these are fair questions and concerns posed by this very articulate author. I, and perhaps speaking for many others in the community, would appreciate hearing dialogue from Allina & Fairview regarding these questions and concerns.

  4. Another Allina RN June 21, 2010 at 5:15 pm #

    Thank you, Thank you, Thank you!!

  5. Nene Susan Ekuvero June 21, 2010 at 5:16 pm #

    True talk! Spoken from the heart of every nurse who care about patient safety!

  6. karen June 21, 2010 at 6:39 pm #

    Beautifully written. Would love to see this in a newspaper!

  7. Bonnie June 21, 2010 at 6:40 pm #

    I would like this to be sent to ALL CEOs , as it suits the situation everywhere! Looking foreward to the responses, provided anyone has the respect for their own position in the business world to speak up. Seems to me what they do best is hide.

  8. Ann Caliguire June 21, 2010 at 7:10 pm #

    What a great letter! Will someone read it to management?

  9. mna rn June 21, 2010 at 7:16 pm #


  10. Linda Baulos June 21, 2010 at 8:24 pm #

    This is exactly what I have been saying. Thank you for writing this. I would love to hear their response!!

  11. Stephanie Wells June 21, 2010 at 9:28 pm #

    Well spoken. Perhaps it should be printed in the StarTribune –

  12. Rita June 21, 2010 at 9:41 pm #

    This is the most eloquent letter….Thank you!! it really says it all.

  13. Janet Reinhart Etten June 21, 2010 at 10:19 pm #

    Absolutely brilliant! thank you!

  14. Sue June 21, 2010 at 11:02 pm #

    Thank you. I also work for Allina at United and your letter really spoke the truth.

  15. Sharon June 22, 2010 at 1:12 am #

    Fabulous!!! This should be sent to all ceo’s and the media. I am so proud of my fellow nurses. You have shown such strength and grace under fire keep up the good work.

  16. Sharlene June 22, 2010 at 1:18 am #

    This letter could be sent to all the CEO’s. Thank you for stating what is on all our hearts. It should be in print. The papers are so one sided. It’s our turn.

  17. MNA RN June 22, 2010 at 1:20 am #

    Excellent letter, writen from the heart of a true nurse. It speaks volumes. The thoughts of so many concentrated into your letter of truth…

    I voted today. I voted with a very well informed consenting YES to strike. I marked my ballot with an extra dark and deliberate and intentional X because I know what I will be fighting for. I voted to stand in solidarity with my brothers and sisters. I am willing to walk side by side with you. We are doing something that is very very important. We were called to do this. I am willing to fight for what’s right. I will do this if I must. I continue to hope for a mediation resolution to occur where common sense and common ground can be found.

    Here’s a quote, it’s from one of my favorite authors.

    “I truly hope that our voice will be heard. I have heard there are troubles of more than one kind. Some come from ahead and some come from behind. But I’ve bought a big bat. I’m all ready you see. Now my troubles are going to have troubles with me!”
    — Dr. Seuss

  18. RN TWIN CITIES June 22, 2010 at 1:49 am #

    MNA RN, Well said, nothing left on the table! Totally agree with you and Dr. Suess!!

  19. Laura L Messenger June 22, 2010 at 2:51 am #


  20. Jen RN June 22, 2010 at 3:10 am #

    Thank you for this letter! I feel we are all wounded nurses after all of this, our hearts are wounded and we are in need of the care that we so freely give to others.

  21. Deb Sheaser June 22, 2010 at 4:10 am #

    I couldn’t of stated it any better. Thank you for putting all of our thoughts into words on paper. I truly believe that this needs to be shared with everyone!

  22. Someone Who Cares June 22, 2010 at 4:16 am #

    Thank you for writing this great letter! It is spoken from the heart and shares exactly what we all feel. I hope the Hospitals can get a copy! Can you send it to the media too?

  23. MNA RN June 22, 2010 at 6:29 am #

    Thank you so much! That would touch the hearts of many in the public – Too bad we couldnt take out a full page ad and address it to all of the CEOs. Its so truly how we feel and they all need to hear it!

  24. Beatrix Kiddo June 22, 2010 at 3:00 pm #

    The scab treatment.
    According to Maureen “Bagdad Bob” Shriner, everything went wonderful on June 10th. If thats true, then in the interest of patient safety, TCH should from now on treat all nurses as SCABS. To insure that all the fabulous patient care of June 10th will continue, of course. We should all recieve a flat rate of $2000-$3000 per day, regardless of skills or experience (or criminal record) just like the scabs. We should all recieve a daily buffet, free of charge, including home baked goodies from the managers, and most importantly, FREE COFFEE..
    We should all get a daily thank you email from the hospitals, as did the SCABS, Instead of the free airfare and hotel, we could each recieve 100000 frequent flyer miles to use as we see fit, a fair exchange. We should only be assigned 2 patients and have our own nursing assistant to do all physical cares, as did the SCABS. We should have umpteen managers, educators, pharmacists, resource folks, advance practice executives, computer guys from IT, and medical residents, at our disposal and on the floor, to assist us at all times 24/7, to answer any question or problems that should arise. As the scabs, no charting or assessments will be required, it will be done by managers. As the scabs, we will be free from all liabilty and responsibility for errors. As the scabs, we will be provided free transportation to the hospitals, no traffic, no snowstorms to worry us.
    Apparantly, we have been going about this all wrong. THIS is what the hospitals really want to do for us, and here we thought it was all about professional responsibility. Let’s negotiate TCH, we are willing to allow you to give us the SCAB treatment, if it’s really what you want.

    • MNA RN June 22, 2010 at 6:58 pm #

      To Beatrix re: The Scab Treatment:
      Very good! I applaud! I LIKED IT-I LIKED IT (alot)!
      gee… is that wrong of me? NOT.

  25. Deb Gerber June 22, 2010 at 5:29 pm #

    Articulate. Eloquent. And absolutely true.
    Thank you

  26. Danielle, RN June 22, 2010 at 6:13 pm #

    Well said, every word! I was belittled by a physician, I won’t mention his name, but it was listed with those addressed in this letter, for standing up for my patients and my colleagues. I was speechless and dumbfounded at the time, but this letter has everything I wished I would of had the nerve to say at the time. For this, I thank you.

  27. Methodist RN June 22, 2010 at 6:53 pm #

    This is an excellent description of what is actually happening in this labor strife. But don’t expect truth of this purity to appear in any Twin Cities print media or on any commercial broadcast. They are firmly in the pocket of the hospital corporations. Their reporting is often not factual by incompetence or by design, is saturated with the misinformation ($79,000 annual salary and other silliness) and endlessly repeated, wildly off target slant of Maureen Fork-Tongued Shriner.

    • MNA RN June 22, 2010 at 7:09 pm #

      I cancelled our subscription to Star Trib. When they asked me why I was cancelling I simply stated because I’m a MNA nurse and I no longer trusted them as a newspaper and I would get the news from reliable sources in the future.

  28. Tracy June 23, 2010 at 2:19 am #

    Nicely said. To bad Allina doesn’t care about what they are doing to the nurses or how the public is losing their confidence in Allina!

  29. Where June 23, 2010 at 8:32 pm #

    Where would some of you be working if Allina hadn’t added on the Heart Hospital to Abbott… Less beds equals less patients equals less nursing jobs. And personally well yes the staff is important and I know that working on the inside, to someone from the outside the shape of the room speaks to the shape/ability of the staff.

    • eric June 23, 2010 at 8:55 pm #

      Well I know were I would be working on old station 24 and 25. Some would be on old station 34, station 10, and 53 and etc. You need to remember that that a majority of old Abbott was moved to the Heart Hospital and a good portion of old Abbott sits empty with no patients. I believe they might use the space for various offices or other activites, but not to direct patient care. If someone knows better please chime in.

  30. concernedrn June 24, 2010 at 2:15 am #

    I am embarrassed for you guys. Your letter is cruel. The nursing leadership at abbott northwestern is caring, compassionate, and a huge advocate for nursing and patient safety. Talk to them instead of complaining to each other and hiding behind the MNA. Think and speak for yourselves. Be a REAL advocate for your patients!

    • North Memorial RN June 24, 2010 at 4:27 am #

      We are not “hiding behind” MNA. We are MNA. Too often those management staff that were nurses seem to “forget” working in the trenches. Leadership roles – sadly – tend to change the heart of the person that was “only a nurse” when they put on their new hat and bought into management thinking. Way too sad.

  31. MNA RN June 24, 2010 at 12:55 pm #

    To concernedrn:
    You should be embarrassed for yourself. “caring, compassionate, and a huge advocate for nursing and patient safety?” Get real will you? And you really shouldn’t be using rn unless you really are an RN. Or are you just pretending again?

  32. ellen June 25, 2010 at 4:31 am #

    WE ARE MNA. Our negotiating committee is OUR voice, heart, desire. If Allina and the rest of the Twin City hospital systems will not negotiate with the MNA negotiating team, they refuse their nurses. They do not deserve magnet status, a sham designation now denigrated to great marketing tool, with attendant increased Medicare reimbursement without, alas, following through on the fair and professional treatment of their nurses. The public understands this, as well.

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