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Nurses at North Shore Medical Center (NSMC), represented by the Massachusetts Nurses Association/National Nurses United, have reached a tentative agreement with hospital management and Partners HealthCare on a new contract.
NSMC nurses won improvements to patient care in a tentative agreement secured during their 10th negotiating session with the hospital.
The agreement, which must be ratified by a vote of all NSMC members, also includes enhancements to nurse working conditions and benefits, and a fair wage increase for all registered nurses (RNs).
The two-year contract, if ratified by the full nurse membership, will have a start date of October 1, 2015 and include a retroactive 1 percent raise for all RNs back to the beginning of the contract. It will expire on September 30, 2017.
Negotiations began in September 2015. A vote of the approximately 600 NSMC nurses has yet to be scheduled.
The agreement includes restrictions on how many times a nurse can float during a single shift and floating limits for nurses with 25 years' or more seniority.
It also places limits on patient assignments for nurses in charge, depending on their shift and unit.
The agreement also secures across-the-board salary increases.
Among other agreements, the hospital will significantly increase tuition reimbursement for nurses, add sister-in-law and brother-in-law categories to bereavement leave, and make improvements to last-minute nurse cancellation and pay differential language.
"We are pleased to have reached an agreement that benefits both patients and nurses," said Kelli O'Brien, a registered nurse in the birthplace unit at NSMC and co-chair of the MNA/NNU Local Bargaining Unit.
"During seven months of challenging negotiations, nurses successfully advocated for contract proposals that will improve patient care and better the working conditions and wages of every nurse at North Shore Medical Center."
Kathy Schevis, RN and c-chair of the MNA/NNU Local Bargaining Unit, added: "Providing the best possible patient care has always been the top priority of nurses at NSMC. Limiting floating and charge nurse patient assignments is designed to make an immediate positive impact on patient safety throughout the hospital."
"These agreements represent clear progress, but we will continue to advocate for what is best for our patients, including boosting core nurse staffing throughout the hospital.”
She added: “Nurses know, and research clearly supports, that when patients have more time with their nurse, receiving specialized care and education, those patients do better and are less likely to require re-admission to the hospital."
North Shore Medical Center, Massachusetts Nurses Association, National Nurses United, Partners HealthCare, Healthcare, Patient care, US