Nurses Week 2024 - Health Professionals & Allied Employees

Nurses Week 2024

This year, as we celebrate 2024 Nurses Week, we also commemorate a movement that culminated 50 years ago in the formation of the Union that eventually became the Health Professionals & Allied Employees, New Jersey’s largest union of healthcare workers, more than 70 percent of whom are nurses. We continue to fight to empower workers and improve the workplace, so nurses are able to better care for their patients. HPAE also continues a fight to pass a #SafeStaffingLaw so all our Nurses are able to do what they’ve dedicated their careers to, caring for patients in their communities.
~ HPAE President Debbie White, HPAE Vice-President Barbara Rosen, HPAE Secretary-Treasurer Alexis Rean-Walker

My grandmother, who was the smartest woman I’ve ever known, inspired me to become a nurse. And then once I started going to nursing school, figuring things out and seeing what it was about, I just fell in love with the profession. In my job now, I usually take care of mommies and babies. Giving that joy to a new set of parents or the continued joy, if they’re having another child, is something that’s so inspiring to me. It gives my life meaning. And, I truly feel that belonging to a union like HPAE helps us take better care of our patients because we work to improve the workplace through fighting for a safe staffing law, for instance.
~ Amira Ayoub, RN, Local 5004, Labor and Delivery, Englewood Hospital, Englewood, NJ

Entering the nursing profession was an eye-opening experience for me because it allowed me to explore a wide range of fields beyond bedside care. As a nurse, you can work in various locations, such as school nursing within the community or in correctional facilities. Your critical thinking skills and ability to assess patients independently are highly valued. I believe that nurses are needed everywhere, and I want to use my knowledge and compassion to help people. Joining a union like HPAE has proven to be a valuable asset because it provides a platform for nurses to unite and fight for the rights of nurses and patients. The union’s efforts to improve the workplace, such as advocating for safe staffing laws, directly translate into better patient care.
~ Kim Baltazar, RN, BSN, Local 5089, Douglass Disability Development Center, Rutgers University.

My inspiration to become a nurse came from watching my aunt, who was a nurse. Her compassion, dedication, and ability to make a difference in the lives of patients and families left a lasting impression on me growing up. My passion for nursing increased as I watched her take care of my grandfather when he was battling prostate cancer, so I became a nurse so that I could have an impact on the lives of others and a meaningful career. Being a nurse is challenging mentally and physically at times, however, at the end of the day, you feel the amazing satisfaction and pride of making a difference in the lives of others. Belonging to a Union like HPAE means that I have a voice in the workplace and that I am part of a group that wants something better for both nurses and the patients we care for every day at a broader level of the profession, like fighting for a law that would promote Safe Staffing in hospitals.
~ Faith Mazuru, RN, BSNNewbridge Medical Center, Paramus, NJ

I always knew I wanted a career where I took care of people. I had a great example in my mom, who has been a nurse for a long time at the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit at Jersey City Medical Center. I knew becoming a nurse would allow me to fulfill my calling to help others. Combining that with belonging to HPAE, New Jersey’s largest union of healthcare workers, I feel that I have a strong voice in the workplace so that I can fight for my patients and the community my hospital serves in order to provide them with the very best care possible.
~ Emilia Szmacinski, RN, Local 5030, Labor and Delivery, Palisades Medical Center, North Bergen, NJ

I have seen the practice of nursing transformed in my 50 years of being a nurse. A big part of that transformation is having a union like HPAE gives us a voice in the workplace and the ability to be able to step by step improve the profession, so we are better able to care for our patients. Younger nurses kid me now, calling me a dinosaur and asking about the olden days when we carved nurses notes in stone. It’s funny because, yes, we did paper charting instead of electronics but even today nursing is still evolving, and I am happy to still be a part of it. What has kept me going all these years is the ability to be able to have a meaningful impact in helping a person heal and get well.
~ Jim Scharff, RN, Local 5118, Emergency Department, Cooper University Hospital, Camden, NJ