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Nurses Heal California | CNA Lobby Day

I recently accompanied 400 of my favorite RNs from the California Nurses Association (CNA) Lobby Day at our California State Capitol, Sacramento. May Day started out with powerful speeches from the executive director of CNA/National Nurses United, Bonnie Castillo. Ms. Castillo spoke about the need for decisive action to stop hospital closures, ensure patient safety and oppose proposed legislative bills SB 944 and AB 1795.

Both of these bills would authorize paramedics and EMTs responding to 911 or other ambulance calls to perform medical clearance exams that are currently performed in emergency departments, essentially allowing paramedics to serve in primary care roles in place of licensed healthcare professionals. Patients would be put at risk, and could be diverted away from hospital emergency departments to alternative destinations with limited medical services based based solely on the evaluation first responders trained in pre-hospital emergency care, rather than receive the benefit of a comprehensive exam to assess for concomitant or underlying conditions. Insurance and hospital industry groups support the bills which would deny services to patients and increase profits.

“All patients are unique, with their own medical history and conditions.  A comprehensive assessment makes a difference.  It saves lives,” said CNA Executive Director Bonnie Castillo, RN.

Other speakers at the rally included Secretary of State Alex Padilla, Senate President pro Tempore Toni Atkins, Assemblymember Tony Thurmond and Assemblymember Freddie Rodriguez.  The CNA supports AB 2874, authored by Thurmond, which would require hospitals to give the public longer notice before cutting services or closing whole facilities and make hospital closures subject to approval by the state attorney general.

After the rally, it was on to the state capitol. There is something very powerful and inspiring about seeing 400 hundred RNs — five across and blocks long — marching to the people’s house. All in red, carrying banners and signs, “Nurses Heal California” and “Hands Off Our Patients.” The moment wasn’t lost on others either as pedestrians and motorists alike joined in with applause and support, “we love you nurses” and “thanks for what you do.”

As National Nurses Week comes to a close, we salute the over 3 Million RNs on duty today and every day in the U.S.