By Ann Twomey, NJ.com OpEd, December 30, 2014
Whether the victim of a devastating car accident, a potential Ebola patient landing at Newark Liberty International Airport, or because of a ‘routine’ illness or surgery, when patients come through the door at Newark’s University Hospital, they expect the nurses, doctors and staff to be skilled, ready and prepared. And we are. We have earned designation as a Level 1 Trauma Center, we are home to leading medical research and we provide compassionate and professional patient care daily.
But as front-line nurses, we often have to fight for the proper training, staffing levels and support we need to protect and care for you and your families, and for the proper funding from our state budget. And those fights are your fights — safe staffing levels mean the best care is there when you need it most.
Yet today we are at a crossroads, in an uncertain environment for healthcare in Newark and University Hospital.
The Newark community fought years ago to build this hospital, and to keep it accountable to the community. When Gov. Christie and the state Legislature reorganized Rutgers University and the University of Medicine and Dentistry (UMDNJ) in 2012, nurses, workers and local elected officials fought just as hard to protect UH’s mission, its non-profit status and its commitment to the community. Now, we may have to continue that fight, depending on the recommendations in a soon-to-be-released Navigant Report commissioned by the state Department of Health to study health care in Newark.