MNA Blog (Page 2)

Recent news and updates from the Minnesota Nurses Association.

By Mercy Hospital MNA Chairs Sara Wahto and LouAnn Uhr; Unity Hospital MNA Chairs Robin Larson and Gail Olson; and United Hospital MNA Chairs Bunny Engeldorf, Emily Sippola, and Brittany Livaccari


We all wring our hands over mandatory low needing. It’s a major problem at hospitals everywhere and can affect the quality of care we can provide our patients. However, nurses in union facilities have the power to address the issue through the grievance process and make a difference.

Here’s how MNA nurses at Allina Mercy, United, and Unity hospitals won a major victory to stop a faulty low needing process at our hospitals:
Incorrect mandatory low need assignments have been a long-standing problem at our hospitals.
… Read more about: MNA nurses at three Allina hospitals win major grievance over mandatory low needing  »

By Kathy Malecki, RN

Government Affairs Commissioner


In an effort of capturing and sustaining the energy and engagement achieved during the 2018 election cycle, the 22 groups compromising Our Minnesota Future (OMF) met to strategize on next steps. How do we understand people-centered governance, also known as co-governance? If we allow ourselves to “dream big,” what do we envision? Do we really need technocrats, think-tanks, and corporations to write policy and rules that affect us without really having all of us–the stakeholders–in the discussion?

If we believe, as OMF does, that “the people impacted by a problem should make the decisions, not those who profit from it,” we will need to dream big, to prepare ourselves with decision-making skills and tools, and to build for the long-term sustainability of this work which will affect generations to come. 
… Read more about: People-Centered Governance Conference with Our MN Future  »

By Jackie O’Shea

MNA Political Organizer


Change isn’t something that happens in a vacuum. As a labor union, we know continued education, organizing, and mobilizing are key.  We must stand together as workers, united in one voice, if we want to create the change we desire. This is how we beat back profit-driven employers that would dismantle our rights to collectively advocate for change to better our working conditions and our patients. Politics is no different.


As with our contracts, we know singular wins don’t translate to lasting power in our workplaces. Just like with employers, we need to hold politicians accountable at the ballot box and at the Capitol.
… Read more about: If You Want Change, Tell Your Story  »

By Sarah Simons, RN; and Kathy Everson, RN,  Janell Johnson Thiele,  MNA HCMC Tri-Chairs

When you know something is wrong, it’s worth a fight. Earlier this year, we saw that management was violating the contract in calculating annual wage increases and decided to correct that wrong.

The hospital was basing the calculations on a rolling 365-day year instead of a calendar year as required by the contract.

Our visiting nurses, who became part of MNA in 2016 and were directly affected,  first noticed the discrepancy in their paychecks and alerted us.

When we pointed out the issue and told management that the contract clearly called for basing the increases on the calendar year, HCMC claimed nurses agreed to the rolling 365 days in the past.
… Read more about: Nurse tenacity results in HCMC agreeing to correct faulty wage increase process  »

Allina big debt

By Rick Fuentes

MNA Communications Specialist


Ok, check-ups aren’t fun.  Not because of what they might find but because what they might ask.  Who wants to admit they thought mac and cheese was a food group?  Still, they keep us healthy, even financially.


MNA members receive free counsel with Dorval and Chorne Financial Advisors.  This is not a small benefit or something to take for granted.  Most financial planners charge about $200 an hour for their advice, or, if they invest on your behalf, they take 1 percent of your proceeds as compensation. 
… Read more about: Get a Check-Up! A Financial One!  »

Barbara Forshier, RN, BSN, JD

MNA Member


Editor’s Note:  The Author is an Attorney for Nurses


Nurses frequently ask me whether or not they should have their own professional liability insurance. The answer is yes, you should carry your own insurance. You insure your home, your car, your health, why would you not insure your ability to practice your profession, your livelihood? Some nurses “have heard” that if you carry malpractice insurance you are more likely to be sued in a medical malpractice case. This is not true.

Now, you may ask, what about my employer, don’t they cover me?
… Read more about: To Have or Not to Have Malpractice/Liability Insurance  »

By Jackie Russell

MNA Nursing Practice and Regulatory Affairs Specialist

MNA offers nurses many opportunities to expand your patient advocacy beyond the bedside by getting involved in your union at the bargaining unit, state, and national levels.

You can also speak up for patients in the public arena. MNA provides many avenues for you to help candidates who support nurse issues, and influence public policy through contacting your elected officials, participating in events like the Feb. 11-12 Day on the Hill, and testifying at hearings.

There’s another opportunity for nurses to advocate: serve on an advisory state board or commission involved in nursing or healthcare issues.
… Read more about: Another way to advocate for your patients and the nursing profession  »

big pharma

By Tara Fugate

MNA Strategic Researcher

The vast majority of hospitals in Minnesota operate as not-for-profit organizations, which means they are exempt from most local, state, and federal taxes. This privileged tax status is meant to be an acknowledgement of the “community benefits” they provide. However, the definition of community benefit is loose, and guidelines on appropriate levels of community benefit spending are sparse both federally and at the state level.

In Minnesota, there is no law that specifically requires not-for-profit hospitals to provide measurable community benefits.[1] There is, however, a state level reporting requirement on community benefit spending that has existed since 2007.
… Read more about: What is Community Benefit Spending And Why Does It Matter for Not-For-Profit Hospitals?  »

By Becky Nelson, RN

MNA Member


Our lives can change in just one day: My life changed the day I married my college sweetheart, the day I moved into my dream house, the day I passed my boards and became a nurse, and the days I gave birth to my beautiful children.


My life also changed the day we lost our home in Hurricane Katrina, the day my husband got laid off a week after our second child was born, and the day I learned that my mother has stage IV cancer. That was the same day I was told her treatment would cost $10,000 a month.
… Read more about: Who We Elect Matters  »

By Megan Gavin

MNA Education Specialist


Here in Minnesota we are rightly focused on the elections that will decide the direction of our state for decades to come. We are working hard to elect pro-union leaders who will protect the right to collectively bargain contracts. In Minnesota and across the country, healthcare has become the number one issue for voters.  Costs continue to skyrocket; high deductible insurance plans drain more and more of individual families’ hard-earned money; and politicians continue to threaten protections for pre-existing conditions. The state of healthcare is not sustainable, and we need to demand change that puts the patients at the center.
… Read more about: Call ALL your friends in Massachusetts and tell them to Vote Yes on Question 1!  »