As some of you may recall, I recently wrote a column suggesting that nurses were more ready than ever to unionize--despite some hospitals' sense that it wasn't going to happen at their facility.
Nurses reading the column told me they agreed:
"It is essential that nurses and others have support offered by a credible union that doesn't negotiate money in return for adherence to protocol (the old you won last time, I win this time, act)." -- 49 year nursing veteran
A Master's-prepared nurse with 15 years of experience listed some of the reasons she's been out of clinical care for 10 of those years (touching on problems unions have been fighting to change for years):
* Nurse-patient ratios that were dangerously high--commonly responsible for seven to nine patients.
* Oppressive documentation requirements.
* Non-supportive environment (the older nurses were too beat down to object to the poor treatment).
* The minute your discharges allowed you to catch your breath, two or three new patients would arrive usually just before shift change and since the next shift would get very upset if the new patients hadn't been fully admitted (about an hour each to process) before they took over, forcing us to stay overtime to get it all done--making a 13 or 14 hour day.
* Not that we couldn't have a break, but if we took one, we would get way too far behind.
And even a hospital administrator wrote in to say that he felt nursing unionization could be a plus:
"[At our hospitals,] I believe that unionization equaled the playing field for running an excellent hospital with adequate resources."
I've said it before and I'll say it again: This is the era of the nursing union. Those who assume that it can't happen at their health system or hospital do so at their peril. - Anne
P.S.: Because of the holiday weekend, FierceHealthcare will not be publishing this Monday, May 25th. We will be back on Tuesday, May 26. Have a safe and fun weekend!