Why unions are good for nursing and good for patients

  1. 7
    The article below is long but a good reference to support why unions are best practice.

    Nursing Journal Study Shows Nurses Unions Improve Patient Outcomes in Hospitals.
    Patients Treated for Heart Attacks Have Lower Mortality Rate at RN-Unionized Hospitals

    Patients with heart trouble would be wise to seek care at a hospital with a nurses union according to a recent study of the impact of nurses unions and the mortality rate for patients with acute myocardial infarction (AMI, the medical terminology for heart attack). The study, which was published in the March issue of JONA (Journal of Nursing Administration), studied hospitals in California and found that hospitals with a nurse’s union had a "significantly predicted lower risk-adjusted AMI mortality."

    The study’s authors, Jean Ann Seago, PhD, RN and Michael Ash, PhD, concluded that "this study demonstrates that there is a positive relationship between patient outcomes and RN unions." Editor’s Note: for a fax copy of the study, contact the MNA at 781.249.0430

    "Thirty-five percent of hospitals in California have RN unions. The significant finding in this study is that hospitals in California with RN unions have 5.7% lower mortality rates for AMI after accounting for patient age, gender, type of MI, chronic diseases and several organizational characteristics. This result includes controls for number of beds, AMI-related discharges, cardiac services, staff hours and wages.

    In discussing how unions impact the quality of patient care, the authors stated, "unions may impact the quality of care by negotiating increased staffing levels…that improve patient outcomes. Alternatively, unions may affect the organization nursing staff or the way nursing care is delivered in a fashion that facilitates RN-MD communication. This is the ‘voice’ function of unions…Yet another possible mechanism by which unions can improve care is by raising wages, thereby decreasing turnover, which may improve patient care."

    The authors conclude, "perhaps having an RN union promotes stability in staff, autonomy, collaboration with MDs and practice decisions that have been described as having a positive influence on the work environment and on the patient outcomes."

    "We at the MNA couldn’t have said it better ourselves,’ said Karen Higgins, RN, MNA President. "In fact, we have been saying this for years - a patient’s greatest advocate is a unionized nurse, because a unionized nurse has the protected right and the power to stand up for their practice and their profession. The fact that this same message is being delivered through a research study published in a journal for nursing administrators is even more telling. These are the folks who often fight tooth and nail to prevent nurses from forming a union. Perhaps now they will see the value of having a union at their facility. We know the staff nurses here in Massachusetts have seen the value."...
    Last edit by NRSKarenRN on Aug 21, '08 : Reason: Edited TOS re copyright
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  4. 113 Comments so far...

  5. 7
    I believe it. We spend so much time trying to fix problems and fight the righteous fight to prevent deaths that in the end, things get overlooked and some people are hurt/die in hospitals. If nurses weren't having to fight so hard all the time, they would have the time to see their pts more often and avoide lots of complications. The ability of unions to control staffing also plays a big part.
  6. 0
    So much room for disagreement here, I don't even know where to begin
  7. 0
    Quote from Iam46yearsold
    So much room for disagreement here, I don't even know where to begin
    BEGIN!!!
  8. 5
    Quote from Iam46yearsold
    So much room for disagreement here, I don't even know where to begin
    Starting with the article posted by advocateforsafety. Do you find fault with Dr. Seago and Dr. Ash's study? Are there flaws in their methodology?

    Do you disagree with "just cause" discipline, fairness, and due process for Registered Nurses? Do you disagree with the fact that Registered Nurses who belong to unions have Weingarten Rights?
  9. 3
    Quote from RN4MERCY
    Starting with the article posted by advocateforsafety. Do you find fault with Dr. Seago and Dr. Ash's study? Are there flaws in their methodology?

    Do you disagree with "just cause" discipline, fairness, and due process for Registered Nurses? Do you disagree with the fact that Registered Nurses who belong to unions have Weingarten Rights?
    I have no reason to question the methodology and I do not assert that all union hospitals are out performing the nonunion facilities but that as the study asserts there is a connection to workers rights and improved outcomes for patients. The study was published after the same peer review that all studies are published and that is good enough for me. I also believe that bias is part of every person and that all things in life have to be questioned but that does not imply that there is no truth in this study.

    As to Weingarten Rights I am in full support. These rights support "just cause" and fairness and make sure that there is witness to the conversation. I have worked union facilities and it is a myth that you can't be fired or disiplined at a union shop. Just another fabrication put out by the anti union machine.
    Chico David RN, mdfog10, and RN4MERCY like this.
  10. 5
    Quote from advocateforsafety
    I have no reason to question the methodology and I do not assert that all union hospitals are out performing the nonunion facilities but that as the study asserts there is a connection to workers rights and improved outcomes for patients. The study was published after the same peer review that all studies are published and that is good enough for me. I also believe that bias is part of every person and that all things in life have to be questioned but that does not imply that there is no truth in this study.

    As to Weingarten Rights I am in full support. These rights support "just cause" and fairness and make sure that there is witness to the conversation. I have worked union facilities and it is a myth that you can't be fired or disiplined at a union shop. Just another fabrication put out by the anti union machine.
    Hi Advocate,
    We're on the same page; I was hoping that we'd get a specific response from "46" rather than just an "I hate unions." You asked 46 to "BEGIN". I was hoping that she'd read your link and would give us some specifics as to what is it exactly that she "disagrees" with. Thanks. I think it's a great article too; nurses who have collective protection against retaliation for speaking out against unsafe institutional practices are better advocates. Patients are safer when nurses belong to an all RN union!
  11. 4
    Quote from RN4MERCY
    Hi Advocate,
    We're on the same page; I was hoping that we'd get a specific response from "46" rather than just an "I hate unions." You asked 46 to "BEGIN". I was hoping that she'd read your link and would give us some specifics as to what is it exactly that she "disagrees" with. Thanks. I think it's a great article too; nurses who have collective protection against retaliation for speaking out against unsafe institutional practices are better advocates. Patients are safer when nurses belong to an all RN union!
    Sorry, I jumped the gun and thought you were asking if I found the methodology of the study flawed. My bad, thanks for your support.
    Chico David RN, laborer, herring_RN, and 1 other like this.
  12. 1
    Quote from RN4MERCY
    Starting with the article posted by advocateforsafety. Do you find fault with Dr. Seago and Dr. Ash's study? Are there flaws in their methodology?

    Do you disagree with "just cause" discipline, fairness, and due process for Registered Nurses? Do you disagree with the fact that Registered Nurses who belong to unions have Weingarten Rights?

    Well if you want Weingarten rights, you have to belong to a union. Personally I find those rights to be silly in nature.

    As For the study by Dr. Seago and Dr. Ash. Any study results are preordained by the way you set up your study criteria. You can take the same data and by how you choose to evaluate it. You change to outcome to be what you want it to be. So if this study is set up by prounionists, then they evaluate it the way the want to.


    As far as rights , you have the right to live and the right to die, nothing else. Anything else is just a benefit you work out for yourself. So enjoy your benefits.

    My personal experiences with Union shop hospitals. Is they promote an environment of mass mediocrity. And inhibit personal initiative.
    PICUPNP likes this.
  13. 1
    Quote from RN4MERCY
    Hi Advocate,
    We're on the same page; I was hoping that we'd get a specific response from "46" rather than just an "I hate unions." You asked 46 to "BEGIN". I was hoping that she'd read your link and would give us some specifics as to what is it exactly that she "disagrees" with. Thanks. I think it's a great article too; nurses who have collective protection against retaliation for speaking out against unsafe institutional practices are better advocates. Patients are safer when nurses belong to an all RN union!

    Ive been working the last several days.

    I never used the word "Hate" I seldom ever use that word. Its an wasted and even false statement anyway.

    I do not believe that "Collective protection against retaliation" is even in a state of existence. I feel that this is a misconception and attempt to lie to one's self. In an attempt to foster a stronger self confidence.

    There is no proof other than Union sponsored studies that patients are safer in an all RN Union. Maybe in an all RN hospital.
    PICUPNP likes this.


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