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Message from HealthCare-PSEA President Sandi Zubek

Power in Numbers

I took my first nursing classes at Butler Community College in Butler. I received a LPN Certificate and began practicing as a LPN in a nursing home in Grove City for three months. I then began working for an agency out of Pittsburgh where I took care of a quadriplegic in his home for three years. I also worked in a group home for the mentally challenged in a managerial position for four months before my family moved to Somerset. I then began hospital floor nursing at Somerset Hospital in the Telemetry Unit and stayed in that position for 16 years. Following that I went back to nursing school and received a RN degree in 2000. I remained on the Telemetry Unit until 2007, and then transferred to the Intensive Care Unit, where I currently work.

In 2009 I became vice president of the Somerset Professional Nurses Association under the guidance of President Mary Ann Birch. In 2010 Mary Ann stepped down, and I was elected president and have remained in that position. Elections are in June of this year for officers. I hope to remain president because I have very strong beliefs for fairness and good working conditions for all nurses, and because we have a responsibility to protect the safety of our patients. I believe very strongly that all nurses should be part of a union because it can help us fulfill the important responsibilities we carry. It seems that most employers and hospitals care more about money and business than they do about the burden nurses bear when trying to give good care and keep their patients safe. It is true that the current economy and the constant changes in the health care system are difficult challenges for nurses and hospitals. But if the nurse is overloaded - be it in patient load, computer issues, medication administration - mistakes could occur! Too often the first in line to blame is the nurse.

A good, strong union gives the nurses a supportive base to help fight the injustices many nurses face. There is, and has always been, power in numbers.