WBEZ | nurses http://www.wbez.org/tags/nurses Latest from WBEZ Chicago Public Radio en More than 1,000 local nurses plan a strike http://www.wbez.org/news/more-1000-local-nurses-plan-strike-111915 <p><p dir="ltr" style="line-height:1.38;margin-top:0pt;margin-bottom:0pt;">The nurses say it&rsquo;s not about money. They want to eliminate &ldquo;rotating&rdquo; shifts as long as 12 hours. Jan Rodolfo is with National Nurses United, the union that&#39;s been in contract negotiations with the hospital since last fall.<br /><br />&ldquo;We think it (the long shifts) lead(s) to medication errors,&rdquo; said Rodolfo. &ldquo;We know it leads to nurses falling asleep while they&rsquo;re driving on the way home.&rdquo;<br />&nbsp;</p><p dir="ltr" style="line-height:1.38;margin-top:0pt;margin-bottom:0pt;">The nurses union said their members want more staff and supervising nurses instead of managers. They said the hospital is looking at that option to lower costs. UCMC officials released a statement saying that, with average salaries at more than $100,000 a year, their nurses already make more than most local hospitals pay. Hospital official said they&rsquo;ll have skilled replacement nurses in the event of a strike.</p><p>The union says more than 1,500 nurses would go on strike beginning April 30th if negotiations break down. The next bargaining session is set for Thursday April 23rd.<br /><br />Follow WBEZ reporter Yolanda Perdomo on Twitter <a href="https://twitter.com/yolandanews">@yolandanews</a> &amp; <a href="https://plus.google.com/u/0/106564114685277342468/posts/p/pub">Google+</a></p></p> Tue, 21 Apr 2015 16:35:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/more-1000-local-nurses-plan-strike-111915 Loretto Hospital registered nurses vote to unionize http://www.wbez.org/news/loretto-hospital-registered-nurses-vote-unionize-99670 <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/LorettoHospital2.jpg" style="margin: 4px 0px 0px; float: left; width: 248px; height: 328px;" title="The balloting enables the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees to negotiate for 144 RNs at the hospital’s main facility, 645 S. Central Ave. (Flickr/Zol87)" /></div><p><em>Updated June 6, 2012, to include hospital management comments.</em></p><p>A union that has been trying for a decade to gain a foothold among hospital nurses in Chicago has won an election to represent 144 of them in the Austin neighborhood.<br /><br />Registered nurses at Loretto Hospital voted 80-37 to bring in Council 31 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. The two-day vote, which ended Saturday, allows AFSCME to negotiate the pay, benefits and work conditions of RNs at the hospital&rsquo;s main facility, 645 S. Central Ave.<br /><br />&ldquo;If you don&rsquo;t have happy nurses, you don&rsquo;t have happy patients,&rdquo; said Kora Fields, an RN in the hospital&rsquo;s behavioral health unit who says she voted for the union.<br /><br />&ldquo;I live in the Austin area,&rdquo; Fields said. &ldquo;I grew up in the Austin area. My family comes to this hospital. My friends are treated here. I do love Loretto Hospital. But there needs to be increases in wages and we need to be respected as the professionals that we are.&rdquo;<br /><br />An AFSCME statement says pro-union nurses defied an &ldquo;aggressive anti-union campaign&rdquo; by Loretto management. The statement praises the nurses for their &ldquo;unwavering determination to improve patient care and ensure fair treatment on the job.&rdquo;<br /><br />Loretto spokesman Jim Waller called the hospital&rsquo;s nurse wages &ldquo;competitive for the marketplace&rdquo; and denied that management campaigned against AFSCME. &ldquo;We were just being clear what being in a union is and that what&rsquo;s paramount to us is patient safety,&rdquo; he said.<br /><br />Loretto, a 187-bed nonprofit facility, has helped lead an effort this year to exempt Illinois safety-net hospitals from proposed state Medicaid payment cuts.<br /><br />The vote, supervised by the National Labor Relations Board, makes Loretto the second Chicago hospital whose registered nurses have unionized this year. In January, National Nurses United won an election to represent 150 at the South Side&rsquo;s Jackson Park Hospital and Medical Center.<br /><br />Until the Jackson Park election, unions had made little progress in Chicago-area hospitals except those owned by university and government entities.</p><p>The Loretto vote marks a rebound for AFSCME, which lost a bruising election battle last summer at the Northwest Side&rsquo;s Our Lady of the Resurrection Medical Center. RNs at that hospital voted against AFSCME after more than eight years of campaigning by the union.</p></p> Wed, 30 May 2012 16:16:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/news/loretto-hospital-registered-nurses-vote-unionize-99670 Weekender with Alison Cuddy http://www.wbez.org/blog/city-room-blog/2011-10-21/weekender-alison-cuddy-93330 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//blog/photo/2011-October/2011-10-21/serafine lacroix.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Welcome to the Weekender! Host Alison Cuddy has your whole weekend planned out for you.</p><p>Click above to listen, click <a href="http://itunes.apple.com/podcast/weekender/id469524810" target="_blank">here</a> to subscribe.</p><p><img alt="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-October/2011-10-21/serafine lacroix.jpg" style="width: 600px; height: 359px;" title=""></p><p>Sometimes Chicago culture is like a jar of candy - you just have to pick your favorite flavor!&nbsp; Come along as we sample Chicago authors Nelson Algren and Saul Bellow, hear the sound of poetry in a brothel and get a Chicago Bear's plan to break down a London guard! Plus a ukulele tune!</p><div id="divBdy"><div><div><div><div>See all of the Weekender picks below.</div></div></div></div></div><p>&nbsp;</p><p><img alt="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-October/2011-10-20/Poetry Brothel.jpg" style="width: 160px; height: 120px; border-width: 1px; border-style: solid; margin: 10px; float: left;" title=""><a href="http://www.chicagopoetrybrothel.com/"><strong><span style="font-size: 16px;">Chicago Poetry Brothel</span></strong></a></p><p>Friday, October 21st: 8pm-Midnight</p><p>Ristorante al Teatro, 1227 W 18th St</p><p>More: Hear more of Serafine LaCroix's aka Jennifer Steele's Weekly Guide picks <a href="http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-10-21/weekly-guide-intimate-weekend-chicago-poetry-brothel-serafine-lacroix-93">here</a>, including Sunday Brunch at <a href="http://www.kitkatchicago.com/">Kit Kat Lounge</a>.</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><img alt="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-October/2011-10-20/2011_07July_11_PatrickStump21.jpg" style="width: 160px; height: 104px; float: left; border-width: 1px; border-style: solid; margin: 10px;" title=""></p><p><a href="http://www.patrickstump.com/"><strong><span style="font-size: 16px;">Patrick Stump: Soul Punk</span></strong></a></p><p>Fall Out Boy frontman <a href="http://www.patrickstump.com/">Patrick Stump</a>'s solo debut: <a href="http://itunes.apple.com/us/album/soul-punk-deluxe-edition/id466040776?ign-mpt=uo%3D4">Soul Punk</a></p><p>Released Oct. 18th on <a href="http://www.islanddefjam.com/default.aspx?labelID=62">Island Records</a>.</p><p>Look for his interview on <a href="http://www.wbez.org/eight-forty-eight"><em>Eight Forty-Eight</em></a> next week.</p><div>&nbsp;</div><div><img alt="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-October/2011-10-20/Nelson-Algren-001.jpg" style="width: 160px; height: 111px; float: left; margin: 10px; border-width: 1px; border-style: solid;" title=""></div><div><a href="http://www.press.uchicago.edu/ucp/books/book/chicago/C/bo11463726.html"><strong><span style="font-size: 16px;">Chicago: City on the Make</span></strong></a></div><p>More: Co-Editor Bill Savage <a href="http://www.wbez.org/episode-segments/2011-10-17/celebrating-60-years-nelson-algrens-chicago-city-make-93189">spoke with <em>Eight Forty-Eight</em></a> about the book.</p><p><a href="http://www.press.uchicago.edu/ucp/books/book/chicago/C/bo11463726.html">The 60th Anniversary Edition</a> is available now on <a href="http://www.press.uchicago.edu/ucp/books/book/chicago/C/bo11463726.html">The University of Chicago Press Books</a></p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><img alt="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-October/2011-10-20/Nurses.jpg" style="width: 160px; height: 80px; border-width: 1px; border-style: solid; margin: 10px; float: left;" title=""><a href="http://www.myspace.com/nurses"><strong><span style="font-size: 16px;">Nurses</span></strong></a></p><p>Saturday, Oct. 22nd, 10pm</p><p><a href="http://www.schubas.com/">Schuba's</a>, 3159 N. Southport</p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><img alt="" class="caption" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-October/2011-10-21/uke-horrifica.jpg" style="width: 160px; height: 87px; border-width: 1px; border-style: solid; margin: 10px; float: left;" title=""><span style="font-size: 16px;"><strong><a href="http://www.ukechicago.org/">Chicago Ukulele Cabaret</a>: <a href="http://gapersblock.com/slowdown/archives/2011/10/22/#060433">Uke Horrifica</a></strong></span></p><p>Saturday, Oct 22nd, 8:30pm, 21+, Free</p><p>Silvie's Lounge: 1902 W. Irving Park</p><p>More: <a href="http://www.theheavyboxes.com/">The Heavy Boxes</a></p><p>&nbsp;</p><p><img alt="" src="http://llnw.wbez.org/blog/insert-image/2011-October/2011-10-20/London-NFL.jpg" style="width: 160px; height: 90px; border-width: 1px; border-style: solid; margin: 10px; float: left;" title=""><strong><span style="font-size: 16px;"><a href="http://www.chicagobears.com/index.html">Chicago Bears</a> vs. <a href="http://www.buccaneers.com/">Tampa Bay Buccaneers</a></span></strong></p><p>Sunday, Oct. 23rd, 12pm</p><p><a href="http://www.wembleystadium.com/">Wembley Stadium</a>, London, UK</p><p><a href="http://msn.foxsports.com/video/shows/nfl-on-fox">The NFL on Fox</a></p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>Those are your Weekender picks so have a great weekend, get out there, and enjoy!</p><p>Subscribe to the Weekender podcast <a href="http://itunes.apple.com/podcast/weekender/id469524810">here.</a></p><p>&nbsp;</p><p>&nbsp;</p><hr><p>&nbsp;</p></p> Fri, 21 Oct 2011 17:46:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/blog/city-room-blog/2011-10-21/weekender-alison-cuddy-93330 After 8-year union drive, Chicago nurses election begins http://www.wbez.org/story/after-8-year-union-drive-chicago-nurses-cast-ballots-88485 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//story/photo/2011-June/2011-06-29/Resurrection picket.JPG" alt="" /><p><p>Some nurses on Chicago’s Northwest Side have begun two days of voting in a closely watched union election.</p><p>Since 2002, Council 31 of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees has been trying to organize thousands of employees at Resurrection Health Care, a nonprofit Roman Catholic hospital chain based in Chicago. But management has not recognized the union. To gain a foothold, AFSCME asked the National Labor Relations Board to hold an election among about 290 registered nurses at one of the hospitals, Our Lady of the Resurrection Medical Center, 5645 W. Addison St.</p><p>Some pro-union nurses say their top concern is a patient-to-nurse ratio that has risen over the years. “We don’t feel like we’re doing a good job,” says Kathy Haff, a telemetry unit nurse who volunteers on an AFSCME organizing committee. “If we had a union contract, it would help a lot.”</p><p>The union also claims Resurrection is bearing down about the vote. “People that were wearing ‘yes’ buttons are afraid to wear them because then they’re targets for harassment,” Haff says.</p><p>But management says the only thing it has asked employees to do is vote. Resurrection insists that the pressure is coming from the union.</p><p>“For almost nine years, the union has been harassing Resurrection Health Care,” says Brian Crawford, the corporation’s vice president of public affairs, who says AFSCME unfairly accuses the hospital of abandoning its mission and shortchanging services. “This is the first time [the union] has actually petitioned for a vote, so we’re delighted.”</p><p>Crawford attributes the staffing problem to a “nationwide shortage of nurses” and claims that the AFSCME campaign has scared some away. “Nurses can work anywhere they want,” he says.</p><p>The vote could reverberate beyond the Resurrection chain. Unions have made little progress in Chicago-area hospitals aside from facilities owned by university and government entities.</p><p>The balloting will end Thursday evening.</p></p> Wed, 29 Jun 2011 10:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/after-8-year-union-drive-chicago-nurses-cast-ballots-88485 Hospital regulators let baby formula vie with breast milk http://www.wbez.org/content/hospital-regulators-let-formula-vie-breast-milk <p><div class="image-insert-image "><img alt="" class="image-original_image" src="http://www.wbez.org/system/files/styles/original_image/llo/insert-images/Vanessa3.JPG" style="margin: 4px 0px 0px; float: left; width: 266px; height: 199px;" title="Lactation consultant Vanessa Stokes says Cook County’s Stroger Hospital has a long way to go. (WBEZ/Chip Mitchell)" /></div><p>A new French study shows that breastfeeding may have lasting benefits for a child&rsquo;s metabolism. Other studies suggest breastfeeding helps prevent infections, chronic diseases and obesity. Evidence like this has moved the American Academy of Pediatrics to recommend giving babies no food or drink other than breast milk for their first six months. At many Chicago-area hospitals, though, breast milk competes with baby formula. At some of them, the real stuff usually loses. From our West Side bureau, we compare how the area&rsquo;s hospitals approach breastfeeding and see whether watchdog agencies are paying much attention.</p><p>MITCHELL: Certified lactation consultant Vanessa Stokes landed a job in December.</p><p>STOKES: I was excited just to get to that place to really make a difference.</p><p>MITCHELL: That place was the maternity ward of Cook County&rsquo;s Stroger Hospital. Stokes was there to encourage and train moms to breastfeed. But she noticed the hospital giving them signals it was OK to feed newborns formula.</p><p>STOKES: I saw bottles in the cribs.</p><p>MITCHELL: Then Stokes met one of the hospital&rsquo;s newest mothers. Like many patients on the ward, she was young and black. What was less usual was her file. It showed she&rsquo;d been planning to breastfeed.</p><p>STOKES: The baby was born and then, at night, she had some problems with latch-on, which happens. She said, &lsquo;The nurse told me to give the baby a bottle.&rsquo; That&rsquo;s what she told me.</p><p>MITCHELL: You believe her?</p><p>STOKES: Yes, I do. Most nurses, they just don&rsquo;t want to take the time to help moms. They have a million other things to do.</p><p>MITCHELL: And there was no breastfeeding peer counselor or lactation consultant on duty overnight?</p><p>STOKES: No.</p><p>MITCHELL: One of Stokes&rsquo; supervisors at Stroger confirms that the hospital keeps bottles in cribs and that the nurses sometimes give out formula without any medical reason. <a href="http://www.wbez.org/story/baby-formula/breast-feeding-disparities-sharp-chicago-area-hospitals">Birth-certificate data</a> show that less than 60 percent of infants born at Stroger get to breastfeed there. And there are more places like this. A dozen Chicago-area hospitals have even lower rates. The data show there&rsquo;s one on the South Side where just 10 percent of newborns start breastfeeding.</p><p>SOUND: Elevator door closes.</p><p>MITCHELL (on site): I&rsquo;m inside that hospital now. It&rsquo;s called Holy Cross. I&rsquo;m taking an elevator to the 6th floor to see Anita Allen-Karriem. She directs what Holy Cross calls its Family Birth Center.</p><p>SOUND: Elevator door opens. Intercom voice. Birth Center door opens.</p><p>MITCHELL: Allen-Karriem shows me around the ward.</p><p>ALLEN-KARRIEM: And, as you can see, this is our rooming-in. And our moms are here and they can have their baby here 24/7...</p><p>MITCHELL: She says Holy Cross initiates breastfeeding within an hour of birth.</p><p>ALLEN-KARRIEM: My nurses have the tools that they need to assist with breastfeeding the mom. And we encourage breastfeeding on demand.</p><p>MITCHELL (on site): How many lactation consultants do you have on staff?</p><p>ALLEN-KARRIEM: We don&rsquo;t have any. Our volume does not support that at this particular time.</p><p>MITCHELL (on site): Any peer counselors that come in as volunteers? Breastfeeding peer counselors?</p><p>ALLEN-KARRIEM: No, we don&rsquo;t have that at the present.</p><p>MITCHELL: Allen-Karriem says convincing her patients to breastfeed is not always easy. She says most have not received any prenatal care before showing up in labor. Even more than Stroger Hospital, Holy Cross lets breast milk compete with formula. Allen-Karriem says her hospital sends moms home with a few days worth of formula. The idea&rsquo;s to tide them over, until they get into a federal nutrition program that provides more.</p><p>ALLEN-KARRIEM: Is it the best method of nutrition? No, it is not. Breastfeeding is. However, it&rsquo;s the mom&rsquo;s choice. If she wants to exclusively breastfeed, we do not send her home with formula. However, because she has not chosen to breastfeed, would you send her outside your doors with no way to feed her infant and no way to buy any formula?</p><p>MITCHELL: Again, Holy Cross is at the bottom when it comes to breastfeeding rates in Chicago-area hospitals. Experts say that&rsquo;s not a big surprise since it doesn&rsquo;t have lactation consultants and gives out all that formula. But some hospitals are taking a different tack.</p><p>INTERCOM: Stroke alert for the Emergency Room...</p><p>MITCHELL: Like Stroger and Holy Cross, Mount Sinai on Chicago&rsquo;s West Side serves mostly low-income patients. Last year about half the babies born at the hospital were getting breastfed there. To lift that rate, Mount Sinai says it&rsquo;s planning to apply for a pro-breastfeeding designation from the United Nations called Baby Friendly.</p><p>SAIDEL: This is the room where the hearing screen is done...</p><p>MITCHELL: Lou-Ellen Saidel is one of two half-time lactation consultants on Mount Sinai&rsquo;s maternity ward. She says you can see the effect of the Baby Friendly program right in this room. Saidel says the nurses used to quiet down babies for hearing tests by giving them formula. Now, she points to a big sign at eye level.</p><p>SAIDEL: It says, &lsquo;Bottles should only be given for a documented medical reason.&rsquo; So now they don&rsquo;t use formula on breastfeeding babies anymore in here.</p><p>MITCHELL: Saidel says Mount Sinai puts almost every staffer who comes into contact with new mothers or infants through breastfeeding training...</p><p>SAIDEL: ...from registered nurse to secretary. This is a process of people acquiring skills that were not taught in nursing school and medical school.</p><p>MITCHELL: For the Baby Friendly designation, some Sinai staffers will need more training. The sessions won&rsquo;t cost the hospital much money but will eat up staff time. That could explain why no Chicago hospital has applied for the designation. But a lot of breastfeeding experts say the hospitals should give it a try.</p><p>ABRAMSON: Breastfeeding is one those priority areas that are life-and-death for their patients.</p><p>MITCHELL: Rachel Abramson is a former post-partum nurse who heads a Chicago nonprofit group called HealthConnect One.</p><p>ABRAMSON: Those of us who grew up thinking that formula feeding is the norm and perfectly adequate have a hard time shifting our vision to see the risks of illness in the first year of life, juvenile diabetes, of breast cancer for mother, of obesity and diabetes &mdash; lifelong &mdash; for mothers and babies.</p><p>MITCHELL: Abramson says the costs for treating these diseases often ends up on the shoulders of taxpayers. If that&rsquo;s the case, you might think the government and hospital oversight groups would push hard for better breastfeeding rates. But they don&rsquo;t push. They mostly nudge.</p><p>MITCHELL: One group with some accountability is the Oakbrook Terrace-based Joint Commission. It accredits hospitals. Ann Watt helps direct the commission&rsquo;s quality-evaluation division. Watt says about a year ago the commission published some standards for hospitals to measure whether newborns were breastfeeding.</p><p>WATT: Our medical experts have indicated to us that this is a best practice.</p><p>MITCHELL: But these commission standards are voluntary. In fact, just three Illinois hospitals have adopted them.</p><p>MITCHELL (on phone): Could a hospital be performing poorly by these measures and still get accreditation?</p><p>WATT: Yes.</p><p>MITCHELL: Another group with some say is the Illinois Hospital Association. I asked the group whether it would support more public oversight of hospital breastfeeding practices. A spokesman declined to answer on tape but sent a statement saying the rules should not be rigid. The statement says breastfeeding management should begin with prenatal care, not the mother&rsquo;s hospital stay. The hospital association also points out that the decision to breastfeed is personal.</p><p>MITCHELL: The folks with the most to say about hospitals breastfeeding rates are at the Illinois Department of Public Health. The department is in charge of enforcing the state&rsquo;s hospital-licensing code. The code requires hospitals to follow basic breastfeeding guidelines that two physician groups published in 2007. In a statement to WBEZ, the Illinois Department of Public Health says it investigates breastfeeding infection-control issues. Otherwise, though, the department says it does not enforce the guidelines. That leaves public policy on breastfeeding largely up to individual hospitals &mdash; places like Stroger, Mount Sinai and Holy Cross.</p><p><em>Correction: An earlier version of this story misstated the status of Mount Sinai Hospital&rsquo;s Baby Friendly effort. Chicago officials announced in August 2010 that Mount Sinai was seeking the international designation. The hospital registered to begin that four-phase process in September 2011.</em></p></p> Thu, 05 May 2011 16:23:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/content/hospital-regulators-let-formula-vie-breast-milk Venture: Nursing grads face surprisingly tough job market http://www.wbez.org/story/venture-nursing-grads-face-surprisingly-tough-job-market-85905 <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//story/photo/2011-May/2011-05-01/17368_855067475793_3204887_47503393_7999648_n.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Perhaps the biggest economic news this week will be the monthly report on unemployment, due out Friday.<br> &nbsp;<br> Unemployment has been edging down – and that's sure to be something of a relief to worried college seniors.<br> &nbsp;<br> But one group among those stressed-out graduates may surprise you.<br> &nbsp;<br> PHIL ZACK: We're going to start in a few minutes, if you guys want to get your pizza and get settled.<br> <br> Three recent graduates - in a field I will divulge in a minute - are about to tell their job-hunt stories to a room full of seniors at the University of Illinois Chicago.<br> <br> QUENTIN CARDENAS: Two interviews out of over 100 applications.<br> SALLY BERKO: Talk to people that you know, because if you think you're just going to go online and apply for a couple of jobs and wait and see, you may be waiting for a long time.<br> RHYS GIBSON: I mean I thought I was the cat's meow and everything, because I'm an African-American guy coming out of here – I was waiting for the red carpet, I had the grades, had the experience, to an extent but not the practical experience as a nurse working on the floor.<br> &nbsp;<br> Yeah, you heard him right. Nursing.<br> &nbsp;<br> Wait--Haven't people been talking about a nursing shortage for years?<br> &nbsp;<br> Haven't all those English majors been kind of kicking themselves, thinking, ah I should have gone to nursing school?<br> &nbsp;<br> Well, turns out the picture is a little more complicated.<br> &nbsp;<br> Rhys Gibson is the last UIC nursing grad you heard - the one who thought he was the cat's meow.<br> &nbsp;<br> He discovered the stable career he thought he’d chosen wasn't immune from the recession.<br> &nbsp;<br> GIBSON: There isn't a whole lot of money, even on my unit, I was lucky enough to make it in when I did because there hasn't been another RN1 since and that was December '09 when I got that job offer.<br> &nbsp;<br> He says he applied for hundreds of jobs and finally landed his current position as a nurse on a geriatric psychiatry ward at Rush University Medical Center.<br> &nbsp;<br> Gibson is just one of thousands of people who entered nursing schools in Illinois in recent years, many in response to a drumbeat of news about a looming nurse shortage.<br> &nbsp;<br> Cathy Grossi is with the Illinois Hospital Association.<br> &nbsp;<br> GROSSI: There's been a concerted effort led by the Illinois Center for Nursing to expand the capacity of the educational programming across Illinois to accommodate student interest for nursing education. So we've increased capacity around the state about 25 percent. &nbsp;<br> <br> That's since 2006. But then the recession hit in 2007.<br> &nbsp;<br> And while it's officially been over since 2009, the effects have been deep and longlasting, even in health care - one of the brighter growth areas of the economy.<br> &nbsp;<br> GROSSI: We are now experiencing an increase in the number of graduates coupled with the time temporarily where there's probably not as much opportunity as there was in the past. &nbsp;<br> &nbsp;<br> Grossi says vacancies in nurse jobs at Illinois hospitals fell by more than half from 2008 to 2010. &nbsp;<br> &nbsp;<br> One reason is that as the recession hit and people lost their jobs and health benefits, they stopped going to hospitals as much so not as many nurses are needed.<br> &nbsp;<br> Another reason is that older nurses who were about to retire have kept working instead.<br> &nbsp;<br> Patricia Lewis is an associate dean at the UIC College of Nursing.<br> &nbsp;<br> LEWIS: We've also seen a lot of nurses with experience who might have been working part-time or who might have actually not been participating in the labor force because they had young children come back to work at a point in time when they might not ordinarily have done that because spouses lost positions.<br> &nbsp;<br> But Lewis and most everyone else say the shortage is real - just wait a few years.<br> &nbsp;<br> Nationally, one leading researcher projects a shortfall of a quarter million nurses by 2025 as a lot of older nurses retire and baby boomers need more health care.<br> &nbsp;<br> But that's not too much comfort to students about to graduate now.<br> &nbsp;<br> ANNA LENDABARKER: I do feel a little let down at this point when searching for these jobs and you look and you see, you need 6 years of experience, it's like, this is getting kind of ridiculous.<br> &nbsp;<br> Anna Lendabarker will get her diploma from UIC this coming Thursday.<br> &nbsp;<br> She really wants to work as a nurse on a neonatal intensive-care unit.<br> &nbsp;<br> But reality is intervening.<br> &nbsp;<br> She's been working at a small community hospital as a nurse assistant.<br> &nbsp;<br> A year ago, she hadn't planned to try to get a permanent job there.<br> &nbsp;<br> But now she says she plans to explore it.<br> &nbsp;<br> LENDABARKER: Hopefully I could work there but they're slow too. They're having a dip in patients now. So it's kind of difficult to approach anyone in management saying, do you need another nurse when they're canceling nurses left and right for shifts.<br> &nbsp;<br> UIC's Patricia Lewis says there are jobs out there – in clinics and long-term care facilities, and outside Chicago.<br> &nbsp;<br> So she's confident students will find work if they adjust their expectations – but many still feel discouraged.<br> <br> LEWIS: I think there's disappointment and there's anxiety. I think that we've been able to assure them that really the prospects for their future careers are very good and I do think that they believe it. They just wish it would come faster.<br> &nbsp;<br> So if you're an eight-year-old out there considering a job in nursing, you may hit the sweet spot of that big shortage in 2025.<br> &nbsp;<br> Today's grads just hope things pick up a lot sooner.<br> &nbsp;<br> Now for our Windy Indicator – where we ask anyone and everyone – how's business?<br> <br> Today – the Mother's Day brunch economy.<br> <br> CHAD BERTELSMAN: We generally see in the last two or three weeks before Mother's Day, it just increases exponentially.<br> <br> Those would be brunch reservations at Spiaggia, the Italian restaurant on the Magnificent Mile.<br> <br> Chad Bertelsman is the manager.<br> <br> He says Mother's Day is the one time a year they open during the day, and they usually sell out – and he expects the same this year.<br> <br> In fact, Bertelsman says they've been adding more expensive items lately, including a $140 Wagyu steak from Australia, that he says they can't order enough of.<br> <br> BERTELSMAN: We also have this amazing dish with burratta, it's this creamy white cheese that's served with lumps of caviar on top of each and that's $58 and people buy that sitting at the bar as a snack.<br> <br> Of course, it can't hurt that President Barack Obama has reportedly called Spiaggia's Tony Mantuano his favorite chef.<br> <br> BERTELSMAN: We actually even started loosely tracking how many people mentioned the Obamas when they would make reservations and it was considerable – more than 30 percent would at least mention it.<br> <br> So the caviar and Wagyu steak economy? Doing just fine, especially with a presidential endorsement.<br> <br> Next week, our windy indicator checks in on the business of boxes.</p></p> Mon, 02 May 2011 05:00:00 -0500 http://www.wbez.org/story/venture-nursing-grads-face-surprisingly-tough-job-market-85905 Cook County nurses threaten strike http://www.wbez.org/story/budget-cuts/cook-county-nurses-threaten-strike <img typeof="foaf:Image" src="http://llnw.wbez.org//StrogerHospital.jpg" alt="" /><p><p>Cook County&rsquo;s health system says it will cut about 300 positions in fiscal 2011. But a nurses union is threatening to strike over the plan. <br /><br />The cash-strapped county&rsquo;s Health and Hospitals System has been shrinking its payroll for years. Now County Board President Toni Preckwinkle is asking for another $83 million in cuts.<br /><br />That&rsquo;s not going over well with National Nurses United. The union represents 800 registered nurses whose county contract expired more than two years ago.<br /><br />&ldquo;We are sick and tired of trying to provide high-quality care in an unsafe and understaffed environment,&rdquo; said union negotiator Dorothy Ahmad, a nurse in the coronary unit of John H. Stroger Jr. Hospital.<br /><br />Talks for a new nurses contract are also stuck on wages.<br /><br />On Wednesday night, the union tallied a vote that authorized a strike.<br /><br />The county&rsquo;s labor negotiators didn&rsquo;t return our calls Wednesday.<br /><br />Health system spokesman Lucio Guerrero says a county shift from inpatient services to primary and preventive care will serve the community.<br /><br />Guerrero says officials are making strike contingency plans that will include &ldquo;partnering with other hospitals to care for our patients.&rdquo;</p></p> Thu, 23 Dec 2010 11:22:00 -0600 http://www.wbez.org/story/budget-cuts/cook-county-nurses-threaten-strike