San Benito County Public Health Nurse retires

Longtime member leader and San Benito County Public Health Nurse Catherine Farnham is retiring after a lifetime of public service. Her last day is Aug. 5.

In addition to helping families stay healthy as a Public Health Nurse, Catherine is also a staunch advocate for worker’s rights and served as SEIU 521 Regional Trustee.

Even in her last days of retirement she made her mark by ensuring that health care workers voices are heard and respected.

Since May 2013, Public Health Nurses in San Benito County were attempting to get clear communication from management as to who was in charge of our Public Health Nurses. The previous Supervising Public Health Nurse had resigned and no new Nursing Director had been hired.  Management failed to respond to workers verbally or in writing, thus putting our health care professional’s license at risk and placing liability on the county for being non-compliant with nurse staffing regulations.

Catherine was instrumental in protesting this situation. After workers met with County Supervisors De La Cruz and Rivas, followed by a meeting with county management on Aug. 1, workers finally have one of our two remaining Public Health Nurses, Robert England, appointed as interim Supervising Public Health Nurse.

While this is a short term solution, SEIU 521 has committed to work with county management to fill three remaining Public Health Nursing positions to continue providing adequate care to our community and provide adequate staffing levels for our county’s invaluable public health programs.

We will also be working with management to help promote the recruitment of the Director of Nursing position.

This was a victory for Public Health Nurses and staff in San Benito County today!

Catherine, SEIU 521 Executive Board members, Region II members, and staff wish you the best in your retirement.

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