Letter, Opinion

Nursing asst. wants to unionize

Dear Editor,

People ask me why I work as a licensed nursing assistant (LNA) for a living. It’s for my patients. I give each patient my all, but with understaffing my all isn’t enough. Our patients deserve the best care we have to offer, but right now I can’t provide that. Patient care and safety is lacking due to the staffing crisis that the University of Vermont Medical Center has been struggling with far too long.

Being understaffed has not only burned us out — it has created a less functional and unhealthy work environment that isn’t safe for our patients’ wellbeing. My work style is described as “hectic.” I run around the unit all day feeling like I can’t catch my breath and can’t keep up. Patients deserve their care providers to be attentive and present, not scrambling from one room to another.

I’m not only someone who does the physical work, but I make my patients feel important and cared for. This is who I am. I make patients smile when their day has been nothing but struggles and bad news. I help them gain strength and teach them how to adapt to new obstacles.

Right now we’re unable to provide quality care to our patients. We want to become a union because with a voice at the table patient safety can be achieved and patient care wouldn’t suffer from understaffing. We are the people providing patient care. Who better to advocate for our patients than us?

Jordan Schnabel, Colchester

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