As nurses, we all know how critical doing a good assessment is to helping our patients recover.

It’s a skill you never lose. And it’s a skill we can apply to our union, too.

If we haven’t met, I’m Patricia DiLillo, RN. I started out as an O/B nurse back in 1987.

This is my first column as NYSNA president. And I wanted to use it to share with you my assessment of NYSNA – the job we have to do, the obstacles in our way, and how I think we can succeed.


We’ve got a lot of work to do in 2013:

  • Build back better. Sandy hit our healthcare system hard – and Mayor Bloomberg is trying to shove the crisis under the rug. We need to put pressure on the Mayor’s office and other officials to build back our healthcare infrastructure – and build it back better. We need a healthcare system based on human need, not profit.
  • Safe staffing. I don’t need to tell you how bad it is. Every nurse has a horror story. We need to step up the pressure in Albany to make safe nurse-to-patient ratios the law in the state of New York.
  • Defend public sector nurses and our public hospitals. Thousands of nurses at HHC, at Westchester Medical Center, and at Erie County Medical Center are in the fight of their life to improve staffing, stop workplace violence, win good contracts, and defend the public sector. Their fight is our fight.
  • Get ready for bargaining. Dozens of contracts will expire this year. And many more in 2014. We saw last year that the employers are gunning for our benefits – and we know how bad it will be for nursing and our patients if the employers get their way.


None of these jobs are easy. In fact, they are all incredibly hard.

People will oppose us: Some hospital administrators. Anti-union politicians.

And we have some internal obstacles, too. Many good members were fed up with the old NYSNA – and it’s hard to blame them.

We can’t outspend the fat cats who oppose us. And we’re not going to convince every member right away that things have changed inside NYSNA.

But we’re only going to win by mobilizing our greatest force – thousands of frontline nurses, speaking with one strong, united voice.

That’s how we will win safe staffing and good contracts. And that’s how we will get more and more members involved in our union.


If we’re going to get the job done, every member has a role to play.

Some jobs are big. Some are small. But all are important.

Imagine how much stronger NYSNA would be if we recruited 500 new leaders.

Imagine how much stronger we would be if on every unit, and every shift, nurses elected at least one nurse to represent our union.

We need to get hundreds more nurses to help lead NYSNA – to take on supervisors who don’t respect our practice. To help defend members. And to lead the way to mobilize for safe staffing on our units and in Albany.

It’s going to take a serious training and organizing program. And it will require nurses like you to step up and do more.

But we need every nurse to do their part. Talk to your Local Bargaining Unit leaders or your NYSNA rep. Tell them you’re ready to be a part of the new NYSNA.

Together we will meet the challenges and help build back a better New York.

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