About Me

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Grew up in the San Francisco Bay Area. Richmond, El Cerrito, Berkeley, Oakland. My time now is mostly spent getting better at being a person, refining my time management skills, trying to read normal people books and articles, and learning how to be a force for good.

T1D Life in full effect. 

I will never stop learning, nor will I stop working to make a difference for someone.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Response to Terry Belmont, CEO of UCIMC

Dear UCIMC CEO Belmont,

I agree with your assessment of the dangers of a nursing strike regarding patient care. It is unfortunate that nurses have had to take this drastic a stance on bargaining in a time when fair practices are supposed to be the norm. This is not the case however, and your subsequent implication that nurses would leave patients to die over a few dollars is a strikingly inadequate representation of the current climate nurses struggle to deal with.

I am not a nurse, CEO, or health care administrator. I am a part of a clinical research support office here at UCIMC, but more importantly, I am a patient. For 20 years I have lived successfully (for the most part) with type 1 diabetes and it is with the most sincere heart I write this today: nurses saved my life. They know I appreciate their work because I told them they were phenomenal. However, a great many nurses do not seem to feel that administrations and their staff understand the consequences of staffing shortages, salary freezes and litigation protection requirements making their job of saving lives all the more difficult, and unnecessarily so. Health care may be a service industry at its core; however the reality of our current situation is such that we cannot take lightly the differences in the motivation of certain sub-populations of health care employees. I must point out that yours is one of profit; nurses have no profit-sharing opportunities, in fact their only motivation to do their jobs is to save people, a lot of times from themselves, and to provide for themselves and their families.

I find it disingenuous as well as insulting that instead of highlighting the nursing excellence we most certainly have at work here on a fairly regular basis, this is what you have chosen to communicate to our community. Did nurses receive over $8,000 in transportation benefits? My guess: probably not. I would of course mention that the average nurse's schedule of 12-16 hour shifts might generate some overtime pay, however I doubt that many nurses are able to procure a salary of $630,000 which you currently enjoy. Furlough or not, your pocketbook greatly outweighs any of theirs by far. The fact that you do work that allows the health care professionals to continue their work is laudable of course. However, your direct interactions with patients probably do not include wiping feces off of sick children, adult trauma victims or the elderly. I would also guess that you probably do not engage in matches of wit with drunks and drug addicts who cannot see reason through the haze of intoxication. And I would highly doubt that you have started an IV, been vomited on and cursed at all in the same 45-second span recently. Let's just say, I appreciate your work, but you are no nurse.

I would gladly go without a raise if it meant a nurse received one. I would honestly prefer you voluntarily freeze payments on your Clinical Enterprise Recognition Plan compensation package which could conceivably provide health care costs for maybe a few nurses with children or subsidize health care premiums for maybe thirteen working nurses. That you would demonize nurses' call for fair compensation strikes me as not only distasteful, but also unkind and unwise. Please rethink your strategy Mr. Belmont.

Dean Clayman, I have benefited greatly from your vision and dedication to excellence. This cannot be a simple time for you, given your commitment to outstanding care and expectation of high quality medical education. This is an opportunity to show what it means to stand behind one another, and I hope you will continue your support of those who give themselves to the constant care of others.
-Nicholas Gibson