As we close out a year like no other in our personal and professional lives, I cannot help but be grateful to you all for your perseverance as nurses through the worst pandemic in our lifetime. The strength, compassion, and camaraderie with each other during the worst of days was and continues to be the only way to get through these times. I am so proud of each and everyone of you.
2020 was designated the Year of the Nurse and Midwife by WHO, and never has this country or the world realized that this designation would have so much more meaning than now. We were there for our patients as their nurse and so much more as families were restricted from visiting. We rose to the challenge of nursing during a pandemic when no one really knew how to treat this disease and that is a testament to our profession. We came to work even with our own fears of this unknown disease and our own family crises and illness. We took off our scrubs and shoes at the doorway or garages to protect our families, persevered through multiple long shifts wearing PPE for 13 hours and hardly eating, witnessed so much death and sickness. No one will really realize the extent of what happened inside those walls except us as nurses. And it is because of each other to lean on that we got through and are still getting through. I thank you with a full heart.
As I close my tenure as President of NJNU, I can only hope that I have served you well since 2009. I have made it my lifelong mission to represent nurses when they have been disciplined, to police the contract when management violates it, and to negotiate the best contracts possible. On a day to day basis NJNU continues to alert management to issues beyond the contract, and during major crises we’ve dealt with such as Hurricane Sandy/Irene/Swine flu/RSV/Ebola/Covid-19, as a Union we sought information from the system shared it with our members and brought safety issues to light for resolution.
I will continue as an officer when elections come next month, and when a new NJNU administration comes into 2021, my hope is that you become involved and work with them to strengthen our Union. Read your contract, keep it with you. One person cannot carry this Union, but together we can be strong.
It has been my great honor to serve you, thank you for your support over the years. You know you can always reach out to me for anything.
May you all have a Happy New Year and wishes for a brighter healthier year for all!
Maria Refinski MSN RN CPAN