Should nurses strike? - page 2

Should nurses strike? Would you cross the picket line?:confused:... Read More

  1. by   -jt
    <If your hospital became unsafe for patients and your license, a union was voted in, and management refused to talk what would you do?
    1. Quit (mass resignation a possibility)?
    2. Stay and do my best?
    3. Strike?>

    If you have a voted to be a union & management refuses to talk, theres a lot more steps that come before striking. A strike is a LAST RESORT after all the other steps that you didnt mention are exhausted. If you are a union & the hospital refuses to talk, that is illegal, is a federal offense, and an unfair labor practice. So you go to court before you go on strike.
  2. by   pickledpepperRN
    Originally posted by -jt

    If you have a voted to be a union & management refuses to talk, theres a lot more steps that come before striking. A strike is a LAST RESORT after all the other steps that you didnt mention are exhausted. If you are a union & the hospital refuses to talk, that is illegal, is a federal offense, and an unfair labor practice. So you go to court before you go on strike.
    Absolutely right! I did not express myself clearly. I mean when care us SO UNSAFE like the facility where there was one RN & 1 LVN with 26 patients. 21 on mechanical ventilation. Nurses I had lunch with at a CE class told of this. Later there was a strike vote. Many nurses quit and the facility was closed down.

    Also I didn't make myself clear that there are hospitals so unsafe patients need to be afraid. Anyone want a link to the JAMA or NEJM study?
    Patients and their loved ones are either uninformed or in denial.
    If you don't know what I'm talking about I am glad. It is not an experience any nurse should have.
    Last edit by pickledpepperRN on Jun 19, '03
  3. by   bender73
    Alright, look, my response was a bit harsh but I am tired of seeing and hearing about pickets, protests, etc.. I'll try to explain my answer of "No" better.

    I am a Nurse Practitioner that admits and follows patients at a large city hospital. The attitude of a lot of nurses is poor and is likely reflective of a large percentage of the nursing community.

    Yes, I am a nurse. I am an NP and my function at this hospital is 99.9% that of an MD.

    My argument is that every time I turn around there is some RN gripe. I work hard and have tremendous pressure. My decisions/orders are not directly supervised by an MD and I don't just carry 3-4 times it could be 6 or more. I have to constantly answer pages by RNs and run to the ER to write orders on patients. The work can be very stressful and like the residents there, I don't get paid as much as the attendings.

    My point being that, like the residents and other NPs, I suck it up. I do my job. What do RNs want? Heck, you have PCAs to help out. Some jobs are simply just demanding...accept it and do your best. It might be hard, but do your job.

    Physicians (even the ones in their 50s or 60s) can put in 60+ hours a week and $150,000/yr is not a ton of money with $200,000 in student loans, kids, etc.. They don't strike against the hospital or group practice...its part of the job. NPs don't typically strike. It always seems to be the RNs.

    If your short-staffed then you just have to work harder. If I am paged to the ER to admit more patients than I can get done in my shift then I have to stay later...and I am on salary so I don't get overtime!!! ITS PART OF MY JOB SO I DO IT. I might get annoyed but I don't run outside and picket.

    RNs, not all of them, need to learn to accept the fact that this is the healthcare system today. Its fast-paced and requires a lot of work.

    What exactly do RNs want? An easy day with a few patients? Longer lunches? Coffee breaks? Cigarette breaks? More and more money? I am salary and I don't even get any set breaks. ER docs and NPs work their tails off and eat between patients...and end up staying longer than their shift...all while maybe carrying 10 patients at once and making critical decisions. Do they strike? No.

    Its an attitude that is getting out of hand. I can understand some of the gripes RNs have. I really do. But there has got to be a point where enough is enough.

    Feel free to flame away at me because I am sure I will get flack. I am in no way saying all nurses are like this. Moreover, I can indeed see some issues that need to be addressed in the system. However, people are losing sight of what it means to do a job. Sometimes that job is just very hard and demanding...and requires one to go the extra mile without running outside to picket or blaming management. All that does is possibly degrade the perception people might have of a nurse.

    *It is not my intention to generalize all nurses and this is just my opinion.
  4. by   teeituptom
    Hi ya'll
    You tell em Bender 73. Union nurses do sound whiny dont they as if they are always looking for a way to go on strike.
    But thats ok I like my strike busting pay.
  5. by   -jt
    bender your comments indicate that you dont have a clue what the staff nurses are dealing with or what the issues are or how they endanger your pts. How long ago were you a staff nurse that you dont know how these current issues are negatively affecting your pts care?

    Why not go around & ask the staff nurses instead of complaining that they call you for orders? You label them as having "poor attitudes" and "gripes", as though the nurse is a mere annoyance to you, but have you bothered to find out what the causes of their low moral is or what their concerns are? Its about your pts & the care they cant provide to them under the conditions their working in. But it sounds like you have just written the nurses off as a bunch of whining women.

    I bet if you ordered something for your pt that wasnt done or that got lost in the shuffle because the nurse had 8 other pts and only 2 hands, or was exhausted from working 16 hrs straight, you would not want to hear about how unmanageable her workload was - all youd be concerned about is that your pt didnt get the care he was supposed to get. Well, his staff nurse is concerned about that too. THATS what shes "griping" about. And also that it is her license on the line when that pt doesnt get the care he needs. If your pts matter to you, you will listen to what exactly it is that their bedside nurses are saying.

    Its not about mere "hard work". Its got nothing to do with strikes. Its about unsafe situations & working conditions that are negatively affecting your pts care, putting your pts at risk, as well as putting the staff RNs' license & own health at risk.. Its very unfair of you to trivialize that, look down your nose at them, and tell them to just shut up & work harder.

    Its not about hard work. Its about the quality of pt care. Its about the fact that they are being pushed to the limits and cant provide the care they know the pts need when they dont have the staff resources to provide that care, yet are still held responsible when the pt doesnt get the care he needs.

    Its about being forced to work excessive hours no matter how exhausted they are and be vulnerable to making a mistake with someones life. Since that life might belong to your patient, one would think youd pay more attention to the issues & consequences of unsafe staffing, be more supportive, alarmed, & concerned over what is happening to bedside nurses.... and your pts.

    What do the nurses want? I cant even believe youre a nurse and youre asking this question. Have you not been reading the newspapers for the last 5 years? They want safe, manageable pt loads so some of those 98,000 preventable medical-error deaths & failure to rescues that occur in this country every year can be reduced or eliminated & so the pts they are supposed to be caring for can get the care they need. They want enough RNs, support staff & equipment available so they can do the physical labor of the job. Youre mistaken that they all "have PCAs to help" already. We havent had a PCA in my ICU in 10 years. And even for those who do have PCAs, that does not relinquish the nursing care & responsibility of the RN when she has too many pts assigned to her, whether she has a PCA "to help" or not.

    If you want nurses to smile & be happy, they first need to stop being abused and stop being put into overwhelming, exhausting, dangerous work situations. If the nurses at your facility are not happy, it is up to management to look at the reasons why & change the culture, administrative attitudes, and practices at that facility to improve it. They cant be beating nurses up all day & then complain that the nurses have developed a "poor attitude" in response to it. If it wants better moral among its employees, administration has to look itself in the mirror and make changes in itself.

    We used to have a CEO, before we demanded & got his resignation, who "downsized" to a skeleton staff, eliminated ekg techs, phelbotomy techs, housekeepers, transporters, PCAs, messengers, froze 50 vacant RN positions, and expected the remaining nurses to do all those support staff jobs while at the same time providing quality nursing care by themselves to 10 or more very sick people each for a mandatory forced ot shift totaling 16 hrs a day. He also fired the VP of Nursing and the DON, eliminated the nursing ed dept except for one token educator, laid off all the NPs, clinical specialists, and 3/4 of the nurse managers...... and then ordered the remaining bedside nurses to attend mandatory "customer service" classes to learn how to smile, under threat of disciplinary action if they didnt improve their moral.

    He, like you, couldnt understand what the nurses were "complaining" about or why they had such "poor attitudes". He probably would have said the same about the slaves in the Southern state that he came from.

    Youre also mistaken that doctors dont strike. Interns & residents strike hospitals in NY over their own working conditions and salaries & attendings are striking all over the country now over malpractice insurance - this month in NJ.... again. And youre also mistaken that NPs dont strike. NPs at some facilities in my state have chosen not to be management and chose rather to be part of the nurses union. If theres a nurses strike at their facility, all the union nurses are in strike, including them.
    Last edit by -jt on Jun 20, '03
  6. by   colleen10
    -JT, WOW!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! BRAVO!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
  7. by   labornurse
    Very well stated jt.
  8. by   funnygirl_rn
    Jt..what a terrific & well written response! Thank you for saying what many of us are thinking.

    Maybe I am bit dubious of the above poster just seems like this person really isn't who she/he say they are....c' can one be so callous regarding what is going on right under their own nose!?! Seems to me this poster just wants to stir the pot of already tired & overworked nurses.
  9. by   2banurse
    Originally posted by labornurse
    Very well stated jt.
    I can only echo the same sentiment! You tell'em -jt!

  10. by   bender73
    FYI funnygirl, I am an NP...not everyone shares your belief. You doubt my credentials simply because I post something that you disagree with?

    Its called debate people. If you don't like what I say then that is fine. Your all entitled to your opinion and I am as well.

    I am not callous to over-worked nurses. I am over-worked at times. Docs are over-worked. PCAs are over-worked. Lawyers are over-worked. Etc., etc., etc..

    The responses I got and will get are expected and I knew that going in. That said, I just had to voice my opinion.

    Its a general consensus amongst my peers (nurses as well) that RNs tend to simply gripe a lot. Deny it all you want. Say your over-worked. I am not callous to one being over-worked, but I am tired of hearing RN's gripes.

    You should all be so lucky to have a damn job nowadays!!! People in high tech are working part-time jobs just to put food on the table and nurses are complaining because they have too much work? Get real. A guy/gal with an associates degree can walk out of school at 22 years-old and make upwards of $45,000/yr to start. Gimme a break. Teachers work hard for 3/4 of that pay.

    The problem is, I am just saying what a lot of people think and you don't like to hear it. Oh well. Go gripe to the poor guy that used to make $80,000/yr in high tech and now has no job or any prospects due to the poor state of work in that field. I am sure he will feel your pain.

    I am sorry if my responses sound crass. I have to laugh at the go jt comments because its just more evidence that nurses fail to see the positive aspects of their career...great pay, stable job, and very rewarding.

    I am not going to sit back and listen to people whine when there are others selling their homes and defaulting on their car loans. Put things into perspective folks.
    Last edit by bender73 on Jun 20, '03
  11. by   igloorn93
    I say NO to striking. Our job is to take care of sick people. You can't justify a strike no matter how you try to. When you are striking you are no longer taking care of patients. It doesn't matter how bad the conditions are, striking goes against what you are suppossed to be doing. TAKING CARE OF PATIENTS. As for crossing a strike line. Yup. Someone has to take care of the patients. Imagine it was your loved one lying there in a bed and the doctors have to say "Oh, I'm sorry, you'll have to empty your own bedpan, give yourself your shots etc. because your nurse is on strike right now".
  12. by   pickledpepperRN
    Imagine telling a wife and two kids, "Your husband" and father died after elective surgery because the management sent a nurse home to save a few hours pay."
    No I did not say that, but that IS what happened.
    I have never been on strike but would to save that from happening to any one else. The grief of that needless death and those faces will never leave me. There was no strike. GREED KILLED THAT MAN!

    My Dad was in a hospital (in a town where I don't work.) when the nurses were on strike over safe patient care. Things like med/surg nurses floated to NICU with zero training in that specialty. Management had 10 days notice to transfer patients to other hospitals and postpone face lifts and other elective procedures. They did not. The nursing staff scheduled to work was on the picket line in uniform. There were 'picket captains', staff nurses with cell phones who had notified the management in writing, e- mail, telephone, and in person that "IF YOU NEED US WE WILL COME IN AND CARE FOR THE PATIENTS" They instead used replacement nurses. About twice as many nurses as usual. In the ICU each patient had a nurse, 1:1 staffing.
    I have no complaints about the replacement RN who was pleasant and checked his IV. Most care was from his favorite LVN, not on strike.
    Anyway this WAS the CNA, I AM a member. The CNA NEVER leaves the patients without care. RNs are ready, willing, and able to care for the patients.
  13. by   Dplear
    Bender....Remeber your title still says RN after it....even if you are an still are an RN