Has Anyone Worked A Strike? - page 3

Just wondering what it is like. Anybody have anything to say about the specific companies?... Read More

  1. by   -jt
    <NOBODY has a solution for who takes care of the patient during the strike......>

    thats not true. There are carefully outlined solutions but nowadays too many hospitals are refusing to follow them. How is that the fault of the striking nurses?

    All of this blaming the striking nurses for unsafe pt conditions is misdirected. Its the hospital that chooses to put the pts into that situation. Most of the pts should not even be there. Nurses dont just walk out. They give the hospital 10 days notice to discharge pts who can be discharged & arrange their home care for them, transfer pts who need hospital care to other nearby facilities that are not on strike (and the striking nurses then work at those facilities per diem during the strike to take care of them), cancel elective surgeries, cease admitting new pts, downsize the in-house pt population, mobilize RN managers, RN clinical cocordinators, RN educators, and other non-staff RNs who work at their facility & put them to work at the bedside of the few pts who are supposed to remain. The only service that is supposed to be open is the ED & emergency OR. Striking nurses go back in to handle critical emergencies or surgeries & then come back out when its under control. And they form a pt safety committee to keep track of whats going on inside & to make sure the few remaining pts ARE receiving proper care. Thats how its supposed to be & the fact that this all cuts down on hospital business & revenue is the trump card & why its effective in bringing the hospital back to the table, avoiding a strike altogether, or ending it quickly if it occurs.

    Loss of revenue is the only thing that administration pays attention to. Moving pts to other facilities & shutting down services causes them a loss of revenue. Paying for scabs with taxpayer funds does not. So hospitals sometimes wont do all of these pt safety solutions during a strike, will keep every pt there, & ignore the strike. Putting their business before the pt, they will call in scabs to work 12-20 hr shifts 6 days a week so they can keep all the pts there & keep business going as usual. There are solutions for who takes care of the pts during a strike but calling in out-of-state scabs who work excessive, unsafe hours is not one of them.

    Nurses who decide to strike do so for safer working conditions & retention/recruitment initiatives which ARE for the pt because if the hospital doesnt pay enough & has unsafe conditions, nurses wont work there & that does affect the pts everyday.

    If the hospital chooses to provoke a strike & then refuses to apply the solutions, choosing instead to keep the beds filled during a strike, putting profits before pt safety, it is not the striking nurses who are endangering the pts.

    There should be concern for pts in hospitals that ignore the 10 day notice & refuse to apply the solutions for who cares for their pts during a nurses strike, but the pressure & blame for that should be put squarely on the shoulders of the hospital. They are responsible for their own actions - and inaction - and should be held accountable. If any pts (who shouldnt even still be there) suffer because of this, that is for the hospital to answer to, not the striking nurses.
    Last edit by -jt on Feb 27, '03
  2. by   -jt
    <Now that is when the hospital administration starts to listen. When the change falls out of their pockets!>

    Except that it doesnt come out of their pockets. They dont care how much it costs because it comes from the taxpayers pockets - not their own revenues. Thats why in upstate NY, the hospital was happy to ignore the nurses strike & spend $33 MILLION on strikebreaking to keep them on strike from Christmas to Mothers Day. If that money had to come from the hospitals pockets, the strike would have been over in less than a week or never even happened at all. Hospitals use medicare/medicaid money and state grants to pay for their strike-busting so they dont care if it happens or how long it lasts. The taxpayers are paying for it. And the money spent on scabs & their agencies is a tax write-off "business loss" for the hospital. In NY, we have a brand new state law that prohibits employers from using medicaid money to pay for unionbusting, but the hospital association has gone to court to stop the law from being implemented & get it overturned. Any wonder why?
    Last edit by -jt on Feb 27, '03
  3. by   BadBird
    A few points to remember is that the hospitals are given written notice of a strike at least 2 weeks in advance to make their plans. Transfer patients to other facilities for the care that they need and refuse admissions. Nurses are not striking for the fun of it, when it goes that far there are serious issues that need addressing and the nurses need to be taken seriously. Look at what happened in W.VA when the Dr's stopped taking patients and doing surgeries, they got legislative action to help with their rising insurnace costs. I think it is ridiclious for people to say, what about the patients when the nurses are striking, What about the nurses???? If you know that a particular hospital is on strike, don't go there, duh!!! Remember administration is well aware of the issues that force the RN's to strike and chose for a long time to sweep the problems under the carpet, a strike is a last resort action. I would never cross a picket line, I think that when the nurses strike all the patients should be transferred to other facilities for their safety.
  4. by   hogan4736
    badbird,
    you stated: "I think it is ridiclious for people to say, what about the patients when the nurses are striking, What about the nurses???? If you know that a particular hospital is on strike, don't go there, duh!!! "

    what if that's the nearest hospital around for 20 miles, and I have crushing chest pain...Do I still "think about the nurses"

    duh!!!

    Furthermore, do you really think some patients care if we are striking...I'm not saying that they shouldn't care, but most patients could even care less if the ward is short staffed, as long as their call light is answered. In the ED, they could care less if the guy in the next room is having an MI, as long as his Vicodin RX is refilled, so he can hurry home and not work the next day

    Patients mostly think of themselves, as they SHOULD...They're not in the business of caring for people like we are, and don't think like we do.

    sean
    Last edit by hogan4736 on Feb 27, '03
  5. by   -jt
    <what if that's the nearest hospital around for 20 miles, and I have crushing chest pain...

    The only service that is supposed to be open is the ED & emergency OR. If you have crushing chest pain, thats an emergency and you go to the nearest ED - even if the hospital nurses are on strike, the ED is open & staffed - so you go there, get treated & stabilized in the ED, and then either allow yourself to be admitted to a hospital where the nurses are on strike & the hospital is refusing to provide for your safety or be transferred to the other facility as soon as you can be moved.

    Strikes are nothing new in this city & experience shows that the pts do care & are supportive of the nurses strike. Pts here are aware that the issues nurses are striking for are for their safety & their care - like having enough nurses to provide that care and having compensation that will attract & retain those nurses (safe staffing ratios), and having nurses working a safe number of hours (banning mandatory ot). Pts & their families contact the hospital to support the nurses. Their families & the community even walk the picket line with us. Its just not true that the pts dont care about it. They know the issues affect them.
    Last edit by -jt on Feb 27, '03
  6. by   hogan4736
    Originally posted by -jt
    <what if that's the nearest hospital around for 20 miles, and I have crushing chest pain...

    The only service that is supposed to be open is the ED & emergency OR. If you have crushing chest pain, thats an emergency and you go to the nearest ED - even if the hospital nurses are on strike, the ED is open & staffed - so you go there, get treated & stabilized in the ED, and then either allow yourself to be admitted to a hospital where the nurses are on strike & the hospital is refusing to provide for your safety or be transferred to the other facility as soon as you can be moved.
    even if I'm "stablized" I might be on a pressor, or Retavase, and im unstable for transfer...but as a patient, how is any of this my problem?
    I mean, it technically is my problem, but am I supposed to think about nurses striking while having an MI?

    look, I'll say it again, I agree w/ striking (my dad was in a union and walked off the job more than once), and people have a right to do it...more power to them...

    but if I just lost my job, an a strikebusting company offers me work now, and I have bills, and a family...more power to me then...don't hang a nurse out to dry that crosses the picket line, until you've walkd a mile in his/her shoes...
    sean
  7. by   Cafe
    OK, now explain to me why the hospital administration- it's CEO's, etc, that allow the unsafe work conditions to continue- are in now way responsible when it comes to that patient dying due to those nurses out on strike. You need to get at the heart of why in order to change a system that is not working, to explain why their is such a nursing shortage in the first place. You continue to blame the bedside nurse and don't even look at the cause. You want the bedside nurse to explain to the family- to take the responsiblilty and assume the blame that she or he did something to cause their death. Come on now, a devil's advocate is just what it says. Looking for solutions to the problems could be more productive.
    Have any of you sat in on negotiations, to observe. You might get one heck of any eye opener on how concerned your administration really is about solving problems and about patient safety. Look how your hospital acts when it gets close to time that JACHO is to check out your facility!!! What a joke!!! If you think they really cared about nurses, then maybe your salary, benefits, safety might be similar to your city bus drivers, sanitation workers, zoo keepers. Watch the tactics used during negotiations. You can compare it to an abusive relationship. They don't care for one moment about you at the bedisde. They are running a business and that is what it is to them. Forget the emtional and healing concerns taking place within that business. Their offices are no where near that and they don't wander their to check how things are going either!!!
  8. by   katscan
    We should have never let things build up to where we have lost so much voice that we need to strike. We are not only striking for better working conditons, we are striking to improve the safety of our patients. It has to start somewhere. I do not advocate abandoning patients or letting them suffer, but temporarily things may have to get bad to better the whole lot in the future. After all, we are striking for breaks, lunch, better ratios for safety, and the ability to have SOME say in our profession., as well as for other things that are common in any other professon. No one can work back to back shifts safely, and to refuse to do so is insubordination??Ridiculous! Even the lowliest workers in our society have breaks-albeit it 15 mins, and time to obtain nourishment and energy to go on. Nurses are treated like slaves in the hospital, and if we complain in the slightest-ie we do not have the skills required, we have a child at home that need our care, we are threatened with the loss of our job. How did it ever get to this point? No I would never cross a picket line!
  9. by   hogan4736
    Originally posted by Cafe
    OK, now explain to me why the hospital administration- it's CEO's, etc, that allow the unsafe work conditions to continue- are in now way responsible when it comes to that patient dying due to those nurses out on strike. You need to get at the heart of why in order to change a system that is not working, to explain why their is such a nursing shortage in the first place. You continue to blame the bedside nurse and don't even look at the cause. You want the bedside nurse to explain to the family- to take the responsiblilty and assume the blame that she or he did something to cause their death. Come on now, a devil's advocate is just what it says. Looking for solutions to the problems could be more productive.
    Have any of you sat in on negotiations, to observe. You might get one heck of any eye opener on how concerned your administration really is about solving problems and about patient safety. Look how your hospital acts when it gets close to time that JACHO is to check out your facility!!! What a joke!!! If you think they really cared about nurses, then maybe your salary, benefits, safety might be similar to your city bus drivers, sanitation workers, zoo keepers. Watch the tactics used during negotiations. You can compare it to an abusive relationship. They don't care for one moment about you at the bedisde. They are running a business and that is what it is to them. Forget the emtional and healing concerns taking place within that business. Their offices are no where near that and they don't wander their to check how things are going either!!!
    Please, show me where I have blamed the bedside nurse, or asked him/her to take responsibility for a death in ANY of my posts...
    ...
    ...

    still waiting...

    Of course I blame CEOs, and the business side of the "system"

    But, as previously posted by -jt, during a "critical situation" the strikers will come in to help out...So let's say a patient died (God forbid), who will tell the family - THE RN AND DOC!!!
    I can see you deflecting blame to the CEO in that little room they use to tell someone that a family member has died...Pathetic
    Last edit by hogan4736 on Feb 27, '03
  10. by   plumrn
    Anyone working in a hospital today knows that pts lives are in jeopardy EVERY DAY due to insufficient staffing. So many shifts I've worked that I have prayed that I make it thru this shift without someone dying, or their condition worsening, because we simply are not staffed with an adequate amount of qualified nurses. Most hospitals use staffing grids, and many times make no allowances for the acuity of the pts, or have faulty acuity systems. Money seems to be the bottom line with them. Yet, CEOs salaries, bonuses, and perks seem to rarely be in question.

    Many shifts, the majority of your time is spent putting out fires with no other nursing care going on. MY health is also pushed to the backburner as I go 12 to 14 hr shifts without breaks, holding urine in much longer than anyone should have to, stressed so much that surely my pulse and b/p are soaring, and so on, and so on. I also have to worry that despite doing all that I am humanly capable of doing, I may be sued because someone developed ulcers from not being turned every two hrs.
    This is a reality that has not changed, even tho nurses have been screaming about this for years.
    Striking nurses are not the enemy. They are making things safer for both patients and their nurses. I will be a pt some day, and my parents and other family members have been pts in the past. Their nursing care left a lot to be desired, but I felt they did their best. We had a family member at bedside 24 hrs/day. Hopefully ,we will always be fortunate enough to be able to do that. It scares me to think, that we might not.
    Things have got to change for the pts safety, and ours.
  11. by   sheric
    I have worked a strike in the past and would do it again if the opportunity presented itself again. It was a great experience. The nurses on strike were upset. But, they didn't realize that we were in support of them while fulfilling our assisgnment. If the hospital closed down then where would they return to. If there are no nurses there to take care of the sick where will they go? Somewhere else, forcing that hospital to close. So we helped out by assisting them in proving their points. That they are invaluable. That particular hospital had to finally admit that they could not afford to continue to pay strike nurses because we were expensive. Actually we were receiving what RN'S are worth. But, those nurses received exactly what they wanted and the company was happy to have their nurses back. I support each and every group that goes on strike and I also support the nurses that come in take care of the #1 priority. The "PATIENTS". So, if someone is thinking about going to work a strike, I say do it. You only live once. It is a good way to get some extra money, the pay is good. Be prepared to work everyday. I took a 14 day commitment and was expected to work 14, 12hr days straight. You make about $5000.00 a week before taxes because the company provides bonuses and incentives. So go have fun. Strike Relief Nurses are great. Like I was told by a friend,

    "DON'T TALK ABOUT IT, BE ABOUT IT:kiss
  12. by   Going80INA55
    I was told by a former manager that during a strike the hospital is mandated to staff at 1.5 times the normal level of nurses.
    BY this it meant that if 20 patients were usually cared for by 4 nurses during a strike that same group of patients needed 6 nurses.
    Anyone heard of this?
  13. by   pickledpepperRN
    1. To my knowledge most of the time when RNs vote to strike the strike is averted.

    2. There is a 10 day notice to the hospital.

    3. RNs are available to assist in transferring patients to another facility.

    4. ALL levels of nursing management AND the CEO are given the cell phone number of a staff RN who is on the picket line. Management is encouraged to call or simply come out if there is any possibility patient care is not optimal. That could be from incompetent staff (for that patient) or insufficient staff. If any patient suffers it is because management did not ask for the help of the RNs who would care for the patients at a moments notice.

    5. RNs are on the picket line in uniform during times they would have been scheduled to work. I once several years ago saw a nurse leave the line when a couple drove up with the woman in late stage labor. She took them to L&D, assisted with the delivery and recovery, and gave report to her manager (who had only the one 'couplet'). This RN then returned to the line.

    6. At one local facility nurses suspected what happened. Elective surgeries including cataract removal and even face lifts were NOT cancelled. Management went back to the table at the last minute.

    7. Another facility where the nurses were striking over extremely unsafe staffing and floating of staff to areas where they were not trained to give safe care did use strike breakers at 2 times the usual staff. The nurses achieved a contract with staffing and floating language. For example on a telemetry floor where there was often 14 patients per RN, including ventilator patients, no nurse gets more than 5! For vents and very sick or confused patients the RN only has 3! They stopped such practices as assigning nurses to 3 year old post ops who had never cared for kids before.

    I will stop. My first head nurse was a nun who thought 7 was a lucky number.[B]

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