The solution to nursing problems - page 4

I posted this before and it seems to have been lost. I think we can corrent all of the major problems in nursing by simply having all of us take the same day off. Let's say February 11th, 2003,... Read More

  1. by   Q.
    I've read this thread and I found it interesting. I'd like someone to address a few things first.

    As far as the issue of patient abandonment and licenses and losing those, etc a planned strike, usually 2 week notice or so, is typical. That way hospitals, legislation and officials can get their act together, cancel elective surgeries/procedures and either meet our demands before the deadline to ensure their patients are taken care of, OR, suffer consequences. I think if we publicize that there will be a national strike in Februrary unless things change quickly, we may be able to get around the losing of license issue, yes?

    Secondly, my opinion has been that to solve nursing's problems we need to have every nurse in the country (2.7million) contribute 10 bucks a month, hire some nurses whose only full time job is to lobby. We can't make change without some major lobbying power and MONEY.

    Also, whatever we decide, we have to remember we have power in numbers. Trust me, if we strike, ALL of us, the country would be at it's knees.
  2. by   blhorn
    What about a nurses union? Some nurses from Salt Lake Regional Hospital contacted United American Nurses and are now waiting for the National Labor Relations Board to rule on their bid to unionize.

    More info:
  3. by   Dave Frederick
    "Trust me, if we strike, ALL of us, the country would be at it's knees."

    That is the idea
  4. by   live4today
    The solution to our country's nursing problems is ME. Yes......just hire me as the head of the entire nursing organization natonwide, and I'll whip some butts, and get this organization/profession into tip top shape.

    Any voters willing to vote for me......speak now or forever hold your vote. :chuckle

    Good morning ya'll!
  5. by   Q.
    Besides, I don't believe someone can fire you/strip you of credentials for striking. Isn't that illegal in the labor laws?
  6. by   rncountry
    Suzy, to be covered by those laws one must be in a union. Otherwise it is wildcat striking, and yes there are consequences to it.
    To me the objectives would be fairly easy. One only has to take a trip through this site to think of a few. When the talk of a march was banded about before and a group was actively working on it one of the active people wrote this.
    Our Mission
    1. To encourage and support meaningful dialogue among all healthcare workers about:
    a. Working conditions, in hospitals, long term care facilities, clinics and anywhere nursing is practiced.
    b. Safe nursing care including the risks of patient/client safety.
    c. Staffing levels and Mandatory overtime.
    d. The increased demand for nursing
    e. Improving existing attitudes and traditions established between and among nurses and healthcare workers.
    2. To motivate all healthcare workers to act locally and nationally.
    3. To facilitate public awareness concerning sage and unsafe healthcare delivery.
    4. To encourage the media to represent accurately and vividly the issues nurses and allied healthcare workers face every day when care is delivered.
    5. To serve as a resource for accurate data and information exchange about nursing care delivery.
    6. To encourage and support retention and recruitment of nurses.

    The items we felt needed to be focused on where:
    1. Mandatory overtime, whatever name it happened to go by.
    2. Patient to staff ratios throughout the country, and in various settings.
    3. Whistleblower protections
    4. Verbal and at times physical abuse by physicans, patients and family members and what protections nurses should be able to have in these situations.
    5. Pay scales in various areas of the country, not simply an averaged wage. Then to compare that to what CEO's, and other areas of the hospital staff that are not hands on such as the computer programmers.
    I may be missing some of it because I haven't looked at all the stuff from that time. Much of it I threw away.

    While nurses will always think about their patients I believe, most anyway, in any type of action I also believe it is that nurses need very much to focus on ourselves. The bottom line, to me comes down to this, how can any nurse adequately be a patient advocate if we cannot advocate for ourselves? It is by keeping the profession and ourselves healthy that we can do the same for our patients. If the profession is sick and we are sick we cannot in anyway do any type of justice to our patients in the long run.
    The idea that we had before was for the nurses who could not make a march they would wear T-Shirts or something on that day that at least let everyone know they were with it in spirit. Thought about a having people wear a whistle, because we were blowing the whistle on unsafe conditions for nurses and therefore their patients. The idea of a national walkout, to me, is simply not doable. This is not the first time that the idea has been banded about. And while we say 2.7 RNs, it behooves everyone to recall we have, at best I can figure, nearly a million LPNs as well, and they suffer most of the same issues that RNs do. I have and still believe that some mass demonstration is doable. It is a matter of proper organization as well as notifying nurses throughout the country, and of course money. And Julie is entirely correct, once something like that took place it could not simply be the end, but only a beginning. It would take a great deal of dedication by a few nurses who were willing to put the effort into the organization and the planning, as well as the million details that would have to be taken care of.
    Doable, yes. Would that dedicated group ever exist? That is the question.
  7. by   Youda
    In making decisions, I try to narrow it down to KISS (Keep it simple). Here's the choices, and no value judgement placed on anyone's choice. This is just how simple it is:
    1. Stay silent and let things remain as they are.
    2. Keep moving around and hoping you finally find a place that doesn't burn you out.
    3. Start speaking up and try to make a difference.
  8. by   mark_LD_RN
    good idea but It will never happen in my lifetime,nurses will not bring themselves to join together to do such a thing.But if they do youcancount me in I will walk out as long as needed as Iam sure my wife would be more than willing to do the same.
  9. by   mark_LD_RN
    good idea but It will never happen in my lifetime,nurses will not bring themselves to join together to do such a thing.But if they do youcancount me in I will walk out as long as needed as Iam sure my wife would be more than willing to do the same.
  10. by   -jt
    <What are the union issues, and what kinds of things do hospitals agree to when nurses have unions? I have no experience whatsoever with nurse unions. Maybe some of you who do could help on this discussion?>

    Union issues - just like everybodys elses - the thing is why dont have to take NO for an answer. The administration HAS to address our concerns & do something concrete about them & we have a say in what that will be. Union RNs are making their employers address staffing ratios, forced overtime, retention of experienced nurses, valuation & investment in the nursing staff, financial recognition for RN experience, education, certification, support for the new grad, benefits & compensation, flexible & self scheduling. Most of the time, the hospitals dont just agree on anything that is going to cost them money - we have to fight tooth & nail - all the up the labor chain sometimes - from meetings at the manager level, DON level, VP of Nursing level, to director of HR, to grievances, arbitrations & NLRB court, to strikes -just to make the facility we work in an "attractive" & safe place for nurses to want to work in & keep working in. It aint easy but we have labor laws behind us that allow us to speak out & make demands, & that obligate the employer to pay attention & take action. Still the employers make us run the gamut - even when they know they will lose - but the longer they drag their feet & move as slow as snails, the longer they can delay having to spend any money. Its a game they play & they all have the same script.

    We're also writing the state laws that will force employers to rectify many of the workplace problems & will provide funding for many of the solutions, then lobbying for the passage of those state laws. And our employers are lobbying just as hard against them. Theres just too too much to tell in this thread. Come over to the Nursing Activism/Politics page on this website (use the pull down menu at the bottom of this page). Theres a thread titled ITS NOT HOPELESS
    that has links to contracts that union nurses are negotiating & what solutions they are implementing & things they are getting changed in the workplace to improve the situation at their own facilitiies. Theres also a lot of info in many other threads & good discussion that can give you a much better idea.


    nurses in Utah recently unionized with the United American Nurses - the national RN union & labor arm of the ANA. They had their election & voted to become part of that union. As soon as they did, the hospital suddenly decided to call the nurses "supervisors" because they delegate to other workers, & immediately took them to court saying that since they were "supervisors", they could not be unionized. The hospital is asking the court to remove the RNs from their union. Nice, huh?

    The ANA & UAN filed a counter suit for the nurses & will be fighting this to the max. In the meantime, the RNs technically are union now because they voted for it, but the hospital will not recognize them - and the court calendars are backed up. Still the RNs are determined that no ones dirty tricks are going to stop them from exercising their federal right to be a union & have an equal say in their workplace.

    Theres an article about their situation in this months AJN.
    Last edit by -jt on Oct 10, '02
  11. by   FTell001
    Sadly..I don't think anything will work..but a show of a walkout. As long as its NOT a union walkout...the President can't step in with the Taft-Hartley Act and demand you go back to work as he did with the dock workers in California. Those workers were unionized..and "walked".....knowing they were just striking and no one could take their jobs. I dont' think invoking the Taft Hartley Act was justified. It can ..(or rather..should) only be invoked if there is a threat to nations health.
    NOW..if union nurses walked could be invoked on them or they could be replaced with other nurses. The problem is.."where the heck would they get those nurses"????
    On the other hand..if non union nurses walked would be akin to "quitting" and the Taft Hartley Act could not MAKE you go back to work. You do have the right to QUIT! (even if it is only for a day or a week or whatever it took to get them to pay attention)
    I don't think it would take long at all for them to pay attention!
    There are not enough agency nurses to cross the picket line if one were initiated as was done in New York..(I think that is where all those strike breaking nurses made all that money a few years ago!)
    Anyway....talking to management is not going to do it. We have all complained about the work load and conditions. Has it worked so far? Many of us have changed jobs to find it not any better at the new location. Many of us have just dropped out after realizing that its basically the same all over...and INTOLERABLE!
    Just my .02 cents worth here...
  12. by   mattsmom81
    I have to admit I DON'T know what it is going to take to get us to band together (I am speaking from a southern/ non-union state where I am currently...and very frustrated...since I trained in a union area) Other than threatening my hubby with a divorce unless he moves me BACK to a union state, I am without personal activist options in my current location.

    All I know is I am dam tired of being encouraged by my peers to speak out...only to be abandoned come crunch time. Those of us who DO speak out down south end up branded 'troublemakers' while the rest of the nurses fade into the safety of the background. 'Group One' is a 'consumer credit' organization that collects dirt on nurses in my area; and distributes it to potential employers. The opinions of managers as to 'bad attitude' and 'troublemaking' seem to be protected....nurses who speak up are blackballed here.

    Sadly, I must be out for myself for the remainder of MY career...I have kids to put through college and bills to be paid. And the sad thing is, this is where most nurses my age (mid 40's...the majority of nurses today) get to. We get tired of putting ourselves on the line' with zero support in the end ... by our peers AND those we have trained over the years. And for those who would criticize...I HAVE spoken out...over and my own detriment.

    Sorry...this is negative but it is my reality in the wonderful south.
    I must now leave the fight to those younger and with more energy.

    Keep up the good fight those of you just starting...and get ye to a union state if possible.
  13. by   -jt
    <they could be replaced with other nurses. The problem is.."where the heck would they get those nurses"????>

    The same place they already get them when we strike --- the scab agencies. And unfortunately, there is no shortage of those & no shortage of RNs ready to jump at the chance to sign on with them either. For some RNs, it is the only kind of 'travel nursing' work they will do. How can anyone forget last year when RNs in 13 hospitals in St Paul/Minneapolis were going to strike all at the same time? Other RNs were scrambling all over the country to get up there for the strike pay. Reading anything they posted on this board alone at the time would tell you there is no way the majority of nurses are going to back each other up in any kind of event that they could bribed out of.

    The problem is not where would the employers get the RNs to replace us -- they already know how to do that. The problem is how do WE get nurses to ALL stand UNITED? It is never going to happen. Instead of wasting time worrying about it, the rest of us just have to move ahead & do what we have to do without them.

    ie: Mandatory OT for healthcare workers was outlawed by the governor last January in NJ. The RNs, their state nurses association & unions, the LPNs & healthcare workers, and their unions did not have a walk out to do it. They had a walk IN - right into their state Capitol.... and didnt let up on the legislature or governor until the law was signed. They said forget about talking to hospital management -- we're taking this to the top. Now the ban on forced ot in NJ is a state law. The employer cannot break the law. We need to get everything we can into our own state law.
    Last edit by -jt on Oct 10, '02