Registered nurses with National Nurses Organizing Committee/National Nurses United at MedStar Washington Hospital Center voted overwhelmingly this past weekend to ratify a new five-year contract. The contract, covering 1,900 registered nurses at the hospital, features a host of improvements and protections for both nurses and patients. A major win in the contract is a provision to immediately add 30 resource nurses. These nurses will not have patient assignments, but will be able to assist their nurse colleagues in daily duties and can be called on to provide them meal and break relief in a timely manner. “This is a huge win for us and our patients,” said Stephanie Sims, RN, who has worked as a nurse at MedStar Washington Hospital Center for 14 years. “Resource nurses are often very experienced nurses who can assist nurses with any number of things. These could range from aiding in admissions to mentoring younger nurses who may be unfamiliar with how to start a certain medication or do an unfamiliar procedure.” NNU says other highlights of the contract will help retain and recruit high-quality nurses to MedStar Washington Hospital Center. These include: workplace violence protections, union rights, respect, and dignity, and economic gains to improve nurse recruitment and retention.