Travel / Strike nursing

Nurses Activism


Has anyone worked as an agency nurse on a strike assignment? Is it ethical (being a scab vs making the hospital for over big bucks for your salary) or worth it? We could really use the money, but I'm nervous about the working conditions and how those travelers are viewed by their fellow nurses.


255 Posts

If you have to ask if it's ethical-I think you answered your own question. I don't recommend it and I consider any scab to be quite low. You're doing both the patients as well as the profession of nursing a big dis-service. The patients continue to get poor care when a facility is able to break a strike. The nurses continue to get screwed. Don't be a part of it-nothing is worth the money-and you need to work inhuman hours to get it. It's not worth an error that could cost you your license-or worse, a patient's life. The ANA has condemned scab nursing. I hope you make the right choice.

You should do a search here as the topic has been covered exhaustively. Also i am prepeared to be flamed by those who think scab nursing is OK and rationalize their choices. These people are worse than prostitutes in my eyes. Strong words-yes. But when you see the anger that is sure to erupt here shortly-remember, that if it makes you uncomfortable to read it, think how you'll feel to WORK it!


237 Posts

I can't believe that anyone who quotes the bible has to ask if scabbing is unethical!!! YES! IT IS UNETHICAL TO SCREW YOUR PEERS! Do a search on this BB and see what nurses who have picketed for patient safety have to say about SCABS.:eek:


6,620 Posts

I also think scab nursing is unethical. You shouldn't have to screw other people to make money.

That said, if you do decide it is for you (and I know some nurses think it is perfectly ethical) I would watch out for problems. There is usually a reason that nurses in a facility are willing to strike and the conditions probably won't be any better for you that they are for the reguar nursing staff. If anything it is probably even worse for you working along side other nurses who haven't worked in the facility before. I have also heard stories of scab nurses being told to float to areas they were not qualified to work in like L&D and ICU which is dangerous for the patient and for your liscence. And you need to work an insane amount of hours to make those big bucks.

Jenny P

1,164 Posts

Specializes in CV-ICU.

It is unethical to be a scab. You are doing a disservice to both your peers AND your patients. And the chance of putting your license on the line in an unsafe situation also (due to poor staffing, working in areas you are not familiar with, and just the generalized angry environment of a strike situation.

The big bucks are for long hours in places where you are putting your license on the line. Go work agency in your hometown without having to cross picket lines. When there was a strike here in the Twin Cities this past summer, someone did the math and found that they could earn the "big bucks" by working the same amount of time through local agencies --- and not have to cross picket lines or endanger their own lives nor even leave home!

Home Health Columnist / Guide


11 Articles; 18,056 Posts

Specializes in Vents, Telemetry, Home Care, Home infusion.

scabs betray nursing profession and patients

would you cross a picket line when rns were striking (at your own hospital or another)? 107 replies to thread!

nursing strikes replacement workers:health field becomes battlefield

debride the scabs: 130 replies to thread!

anyone staffed strikes?


280 Posts

Okay, I've taken the lashes with the noodle. Thanks for a the clear opinions on professional conduct - it helps to clear the mind for thinking. Do not think unkindly of me for considering all my options for supporting my children.

Home Health Columnist / Guide


11 Articles; 18,056 Posts

Specializes in Vents, Telemetry, Home Care, Home infusion.

Thanks for posting in this forumn. Glad we could help provide some food for thought. Hope to see you posting regularly on the BB.


2,709 Posts

No. And if great nurses like the New York State Nurses Association founders Lillian Wald, creator of the Visiting Nurses Services, and Lavinia Dock knew how many nurses actually resort to such back-stabbing undermining, greedy behaviour across this country, after all the women's working rights these 2 tremendous nurse-activists and their peers fought for 100 yrs ago, and all the advances they made in promoting the creation of unions for the working women of their time (nurses included), they would be turning over in their graves!

Any nurse considering becoming a Scab for ANY reason doesnt know the history of her own profession because if she did, she would understand that to do such a thing would be to desecrate the memory of the early warriors who gave her the profession she has today.

Recommended reading:

Honoring Our Past - Building Our Future

available from the NY State Nurses Assoc.


2,709 Posts

"Nurse Lillian D. Wald was among the founders in 1909 of the NAACP, and with this new organization, helped support the Shirtwaist Strike by thwarting an effort of the managers to bring in black strikebreakers (scabs)........."

Lillian D. Wald was a practical idealist who worked to create a more just society. Her goal was to ensure that women and children, immigrants and the poor, and members of all ethnic and religious groups would realize Americas promise of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. As a young

nurse, Wald hoped to provide decent health care to residents of New Yorks Lower East Side tenements. Her work as the founder of the Henry Street Settlement and the Visiting Nurse Service demonstrated her masterful administrative talents, deep regard for humanity and skill at fundraising and publicizing.

Lillian Wald started out a Pacifist, however.....

Championing the causes of public health nursing, housing reform, suffrage, world peace, and the rights of women, children, immigrants and working people, Wald became an influential leader in city, state, and national politics. Her tireless efforts to link the health of children with the health of nations made her a model of achievement, caring, and integrity throughout her lifetime. Although Wald achieved international recognition, her efforts were always grounded in the belief that the world was simply an expanded version of the culturally diverse neighborhood......

Nurse Lillian Wald, the founder of the Visiting Nurses Services promoted the creation of unions for the working women of her time.....

1903 Women's Trade Union League

"Over five million women are at work in the United States according to the 1900 census. Despite such figures, as a nation we superstitiously hug the belief that our women are at home and our children at school. As a whole the community is reluctant to face the situation frankly and seriously, that women no longer spin and weave and card, no longer make the butter and the cheese, scarcely sew and put the preserves at home, but accomplish these same industries in the factories, in open competition with men, and except in the relatively few instances of trade organization, in competition with each other."

- Lillian Wald


Seems to me that more US nurses should be picking up & carrying on where Lillian and her colleagues left off.


2,709 Posts


Youre worried about the working conditions???? Welllll....Theyre much better than the regular staff usually gets, thats for sure. The hospital wants no PR nightmares, and no state depts breathing down their necks, so they double-staff. During a strike, they have more numbers of nurses on the floor than any other day of the year. So what if the nurses in Peds never even saw a peds unit in their lives. It doesnt matter to the hospital. As long as the bodies are there. Dont be so concerned about working conditions if you choose to be a scab. Be more concerned about how you are helping to sink the striking nurses & betray the history of your profession as well as the great leaders of the past who fought even bigger battles for us.......


Lavinia Dock & peers...... nurse activists......suffragettes

recommended reading:

Feminism and Nursing: An Historical Perspective on Power, Status, and Political Activism in the Nursing Profession


By Joan I. Roberts and Thetis M. Group

Praeger Paperback. Westport, Conn. 1995. 400 pages


299 Posts

Yep, I agree with JT on the staffing during strikes. I work with a nurse who used to be management. During her time as manager, her facility went on strike. Well apparently it is FEDERAL LAW that the hospital MUST STAFF AT 1 1/2 TIMES THE NORMAL NURSING RATE DURING A STRIKE.

If your normal staffing pattern for days is 4 nurses well during a strike they get 6 nurses to do the same job.

This topic is now closed to further replies.

By using the site, you agree with our Policies. X