I will probably regret asking this...

  1. exactly how does higher wages and better benefits translate into better or safer patient care?

    I admit I am more than a little confused by the whole union debate.
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  3. by   LilgirlRN
    Higher wages = greater nurse retention, happier nurses (they aren't worried about paying their bills), and perhaps nursing looks more attractive to people considering nursing as a profession.
  4. by   thisnurse
    the whole debate boils down to this:
    who would you rather get screwed by..the hospitals or the unions.
  5. by   fergus51
    Many unions also guarantee the right to refuse OT, and include some protection for nurses relating to working conditions. Higher wages means more nurses so that we actually have enoughto care for patients safely. I think this is true in union and non-union settings alike.
    Last edit by fergus51 on Jan 6, '02
  6. by   Marijke
    I hate paying the union fees, but the protection is worth it. I have somebody who will stand in my corner when there is a problem and the employers know it.
    As for higher wages/safer care. Very simple by paying higher wages you will recruit and retain people. This results in people staying in nursing longer, resulting in more experienced people working, better care and better training for new nurses on the job.
    Yes paying higher wages might cost a bit of money, but training a new nurse on the job costs an incredible amount of money. It is estimated that a new RN needs at least one year to feel comfortable at her (his) job, after that it takes many more to get very good at it. We haven't even talked about specialty areas. Besides, we can't loose any nurses to other higher paid professions (with less stress, less responsibilities etc.)
  7. by   nur20
  8. by   fiestynurse
    The California Nurses Association is one of the largest nursing unions in the country, with over 40,000 members and here is what they do for nursing.

    The objectives of CNA shall include the following:

    A. To establish and promote implementation of standards of nursing practice, nursing education, and nursing services, as defined by CNA.

    B. To encourage members to adhere to the ethical obligations of nurses as patient advocates.

    C. To promote and protect the economic and general welfare of nurses.

    D. To continually review and clarify the role of the nurse in the delivery of health-care services.

    E. To interpret the aims of the various educational programs and career opportunities in nursing to nurses, prospective nurses, and the public.

    F. To identify the educational needs of practitioners and to work with appropriate groups to provide programs to ensure currency of practice.

    G. To interpret to members of the California Nursing Students' Association, hereinafter called CNSA, the philosophy, objectives, and activities of this association and to undertake collaborative activities with CNSA to promote the purposes of the profession.

    H. To initiate legislation and proposals for governmental regulations and take stands supporting or opposing those which affect the health of the people of the state, nursing, or nurses.

    I. To speak for the nursing profession in relationships with professional, community, and governmental groups, and with the public.

    J. To provide for representation of California nursing interests statewide, nationally and internationally and to present CNA policies and positions on issues that may have statewide, nationwide or international implications.

    K. CNA recognizes the importance of a code for registered nurses that will foster high standards of nursing practice and promote quality patient care. The CNA Code for Registered Nurses reflects the principles inherent in the Florence Nightingale Pledge.

    1. The nurse participates in the profession's efforts to implement and further the nurse's role of patient and consumer advocate;

    2. The nurse provides services with respect for human dignity and the uniqueness of the patient unrestricted by considerations of social or economic status, nature of health problems, age, color, creed, disability, gender, lifestyle, nationality, race, religion, or sexual orientation;

    3. The nurse safeguards the patients right to privacy by judiciously protecting information of a confidential nature;

    4. The nurse acts to safeguard the patient and the public when health care and safety are affected by the incompetent, unethical, illegal or inappropriate practice of any person;

    5. The nurse assumes responsibility and accountability for individual nursing judgements and actions;

    6. The nurse maintains competence in nursing;

    7. The nurse exercises informed judgement and uses individual competence and qualifications as criteria in seeking consultation, accepting responsibilities and assigning nursing activities based on the nurse's judgement;

    8. The nurse participates in activities that contribute to the ongoing development of the profession's body of knowledge;

    9. The nurse participates in the profession's efforts to implement and improve standards of nursing;

    10. The nurse participates in the profession's efforts to establish and maintain conditions of employment conducive to high quality nursing care;

    11. The nurse participates in the profession's effort to protect the public from misinformation and misrepresentation and to maintain the integrity of nursing;

    12. The nurse collaborates with health care professionals, allied health care workers, health advocacy organizations, and health care consumers in protecting and promoting the advancement of human rights related to accessibility and quality of health care.
  9. by   Mijourney
    Hi. Fiesty, thanks for enlightening us about the CNA. My opinion is there are seemingly a large number of people, including a good number of nurses, opposed to nurses (or any public or civil servant like firemen, police, the military) demanding improvements in their occupation or profession.

    I think it's important to know that some of us that are demanding improvements in nursing are not recommending this at the expense of the public. Some of us, like me, enjoy the practice of nursing overall even though for me, enjoy has become a difficult word to associate with nursing practice.

    I think the priority for nursing should continue to be patient and public advocacy. It's just that for years, nursing has been looked upon as a supplemental job to that primary breadwinner. In fact, a large number of nurses are breadwinners for their family. This means that alot of women are not in the enviable position of working to supplement the family income.

    In addition, potentially good nursing candidates have been attracted to other fields that pay more but demand the same or less. In my era, nursing, teaching, and office work were about the only areas that were entertained as outside work fitting for a woman. As I pointed out previously, that's all changed.

    Finally, the demands of those of us in the nursing profession have increased dramatically over the last 10 or so years. Patient care has become more complex, government from all levels are continually increasing regulations and rules on the health care industry, there are accreditation agencies that have their litmus test for us, the internet as well as an aging and increasingly sick population has increased the levels of demand from us and the list goes on. We've also seen the incomes of health care and hospital executives dramatically increase overall-this despite the impact of managed care. Even with the quick fix bonuses offered by employers, nursing income in relation to the expected level of accountability and responsibility has not risen as dramatically as in other fields. In fact, in many regions, it lags behind inflation.

    As we found out on 9/11, public or civil service is serious business. It seems that it's still not getting the type of serious attention it needs to have.
  10. by   RyanRN
    Higher Wages and better benefits equals better/safer patient care because more nurses will take and stick with the job, making your nurse/patient ratio safer for one. And that's a top priority in my book.

    As far as unions, well, we haven't gotten anywhere divided, maybe if she just stand together as one we shall see where that gets us.
  11. by   JustMe
    No, bigger salaries does not translate into better or safer patient care, but how many other professions are as poorly paid? Only one I can think of--teachers. Which is also a female-dominated profession! People don't think of "women's work" as important-- until they need it. Society doesn't value education or health care as much as it does the almighty dollar. Why else does the school superintendent and the hospital CEO make so much more money? My best friend is an elementary school teacher and she and I have many of the same complaints regarding our work, i.e. too many patients per nurse (teacher); little respect from administration; poor pay; bad hours; no supplies, etc., etc., etc. So until Society values our contributions, we will continue to be over-worked, underpaid, and unable to recruit into the profession because women can make better money elsewhere. Sorry guys, I don't think having more men in the profession will help any. There are more male teachers than ever before, yet teachers are still some of the poorest paid professionals.
  12. by   Genista
    I am a union RN, and as someone who just got her pay increased due to union contract, I have to say it helps. No, the higher wage doesn't improve patient care, but like others said, it helps with retention. You are more likely to keep nurses if you pay them a decent wage. What the union does for me, is that I have the union behind me if I am understaffed (unsafe assignement)...I can file a grievance & there WILL be a mandatory meeting for our managers/me/union rep if that happens. I do not have to work mandatory overtime, and I have pay bonuses written into my union contract for picking up extra shifts. Our benefits are also in our contract negotiations. We have rules about where we will/will not float to in our facility. I like the union because we nurses are the union, and we do have a say in our working conditions and in our wages. At nonunion, I felt like there was no one to back me up, and no one to go to for support if there was a problem between myself & management. That's what's great about unions.
  13. by   RyanRN
    CHERIP I am inclined to agree but, for whatever reason (men?)
    teachers get a RETIREMENT, regular raises, contracts, nights, weekends, holidays OFF - that's quite a step over us! Who knows!
  14. by   EllanRN
    Where I worked before, we were not union. There was a lot of comradrie between managers and staff nurses. When problems arose management was just as eager as we were to find a solution. There were committees that we participated to address different issues. My pay was lower, but my benefits were better. We had no staffing issues, retention was a problem but I felt it was because we hired a good deal of young, new grads. The older folks stayed. Now I work at a different hospital and would gladly trade my higher pay for the attitude that my other hospital had. People here whine about everything and there is a lot of backstabbing. Sure, retention is better, but everyone seems miserable.