Voting ‘yes’ on Question 1

Greenfield Recorder: I am a retired nurse, and I’m definitely voting Yes on Question 1. People seem to be confused about this ballot initiative because lawn signs and commercials are contradictory: Nurses say ‘yes’ on Question 1, or Nurses vote ‘no’ on 1.

Perhaps a simple explanation would be helpful. It comes down to profits for hospitals, so the CEO’s, administrators, supervisors and the nurses who, in their jobs, are answering to these people are probably all voting ‘no.’ A lot of scare tactics are being used: long waits at emergency rooms, higher health costs, the expense to hospitals. And yes, our health care system needs some serious fixing, but not on the backs of patients and nurses.

The direct-care nurses, the bedside nurses, who are responsible to their patients are voting YES on 1. Baystate Franklin Medical Center does have limits in place now because the Mass. Nurse’s Association and the local union chapter finally achieved their goal of safe patient limits in a contract, after years of struggling. Remember how strongly our community supported our nurses? “Patients, not profits.” How we believed them.

We don’t want nurses to burn out, and we don’t want to discourage dedicated people from going into this profession that requires so much heart and knowledge and plain hard work. This also goes for nurse’s aides who are over-worked because of a heavy patient load and are woefully underpaid. But, let’s at least start here, with the awareness that quality care for patients cannot happen if people are continually stretched thin and stressed.

Don’t be swayed by scare tactics (so similar to union busting) or the glut of commercials (the $7 million or more could go toward hiring more nurses.); please listen to the nurses who are at the bedside taking care of us all. Please, vote Yes on 1.

Kathleen O’Rourke
Shelburne Falls

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