Nurses Activism


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Jenny P

1,164 Posts

Specializes in CV-ICU.

Gypsyrose54, may I suggest you try working on staff at the problem hospital full time for a week; then tell us your experience there.:eek: I'm being very sincere about this, I would like you to put your license on the line for a week in that facility and then pass judgement on those nurses.

> "I can assure you that the refusals and lies are no rumors. Just an FYI, I've been in nursing for a long long time, and have seen many changes. I see great problems on both sides. I also work PRN as staff frequently, so it's not as if I am far removed from the situation. All I hear is complaining. I don't know what the answer is, but the current trend toward unions will not work."

I've worked over 33 years as a staff nurse and with todays' high patient acuity, staffing ratios of 1:14 are not only ridiculous and dangerous, they are inhumane -to both the nurse AND her patients!

As an educator, you HAVE to be aware of the vast amount of research linking poor staffing and understaffing with increased patient morbidity and mortality rates.

The fact that a large urban ICU is staffed with all new grads makes me shudder with fear for those patients and those nurses! I've worked critical care for 28 years and (first) you lose lots of patients that way; then you lose the nurses to burnout.

Veggie64, I cannot imagine that "patients have the right to fall." You say "when a pt is confused, they depend on the nurse to protect them. Now, they don't have the right to refuse treatment or to walk out of the hospital, but they have the right to fall, get a subdural, and never be right again." Where did they ever come up with that asinine idea? I hope the facility has good ; and I hope that any staff nurse working there carries her own .

I am glad that I don't live, work, or have to travel to Kansas City at this time; it would be just my luck I'd need medical care there and I'd end up at that facility.:rolleyes:

JT, I think it was last year or the year before that that MNA celebrated our 50th year of collective bargaining activity. Don't tell me that us Minnesotans have been stirring up trouble in the nursing profession longer than you New Yorkers? ;) Gees, I thought you guys were 'way ahead of us in everything!:D :D :chuckle


2,709 Posts

nahhhhhh... lol....we just had our 100th anniversary celebration for the entire association which began in 1901 - E&GW services began in 1918.

So it always amazes me when people think nurses unionizing is some new invention or a "trend" that wont work. We've been doing it for a century. If it didnt work, we'd still be the only nurse in a ward of 80 pts, not getting paid for overtime, having no paid vacation, no health benefits, no pensions, no compensation for tuition, education, experience or certifications and degrees. I realize some nurses around the country still have not unionized and still dont have these things but we do. And nurses who work in non-union facilities around us also do because their employers have to give whatever unionized nurses in the area obtain or they'll lose their nursing staff to the unionized facilities.

Nurses becoming unified is not a new idea......

Founded in 1901 as the country's first state nurses association, NYSNA established itself as the standard bearer in the continuous struggle to upgrade the profession. At its first meeting in April 1901, committees were formed to carry out the association's work..... For 100 years NYSNA's focus has been on a remarkably constant set of core activities: influencing legislation, advocating equitable employment conditions, maintaining educational standards, and promoting high standards of nursing practice.

ECONOMIC AND GENERAL WELFARE: As early as 1918, when a Committee on Nurses Relief Fund was established, the association has been concerned with the economic security of nurses. In the 1930s and 1940s the association vigorously promoted the 8-hour day, and began to seriously examine employment conditions........>>


Jenny P

1,164 Posts

Specializes in CV-ICU.

JT, they really needed economic and general welfare security back then. Did you know the average life span after becoming a nurse back then was 12 years? That was not their working career, that was how long they LIVED after becoming a nurse! Nurses back then worked 12 hour shifts 6 days/ week with a shorter shift on Sundays!

When you read the post on how many shifts you've worked without a day off (under the "most consecutive 12's in a row" post (https://allnurses.com/forums/showthread.php?s=&threadid=11803); maybe we haven't come as far as we think we have. :(


6 Posts

Just an FYI....Veggje64 is absolutely right about a pt's right to fall. Go to your Patient Rights Manuel. These are things mandated by HCFA. Nursing Homes have delt with this kind of thing for a long time. They absolutely can't restrain. Many have matresses on the floor or beds just a few inches off the floor. They are electric to enable nursing to get them out of bed as necessary.

I already have delt with and worked with staff. That's why I posed the question in the first place. I still work extra on a PRN basis. As I said I see multiple problems on the management and staff side.

I just posed the question to see how others have delt with the problem. I was hoping to get responses from staff and management.


Jenny P

1,164 Posts

Specializes in CV-ICU.

Gypsyrose, I don't have a Patients Rights Manual for my facility here at home, so I looked up several online. I did not find anywhere that "the patient has the right to fall"; although I did find rights pertaining to safety and restraint free care. There are also rights relating to refusing care and the right to leave the hospital and seek care elsewhere. (These were part of what I was responding to re: Veggie64's note; sorry I didn't clarify that better.)

Have you worked in the problem hospital? Would you want your loved ones to be patients there?

JT and I are both staff nurses, and I believe RNed and Pebbles are also. I can't remember if Healingtouch is a staff nurse or not, but Veggie64 admits to being a staff nurse in your hospital system. So you have lots of staff nurse input. The staff nurses at the problem hospital do not trust the system, and staff nurses who are only reading your thread do not trust it either.

Have you thought of doing research for your employer (or on your own) and finding info on patient outcomes, staffing ratios, and patient and staff satisfaction? Disposable nurses don't exist anymore; and it would be nice if every administrator would learn that. :)

Jenny P

1,164 Posts

Specializes in CV-ICU.

BTW, restraints can be used, but must be ordered daily and for specific reasons. Many hospitals hire "sitters" who sit right at the bedside and keep the confused patients from harm. My hospital does this also, and the $$$$ comes right out of the general staffing budget for the floor. It is easier and safer to staff appropriately than to short-staff a unit and rely on sitters to keep patients safe.

Specializes in Trauma acute surgery, surgical ICU, PACU.
Originally posted by Jenny P

BTW, restraints can be used, but must be ordered daily and for specific reasons. Many hospitals hire "sitters" who sit right at the bedside and keep the confused patients from harm. My hospital does this also, and the $$$$ comes right out of the general staffing budget for the floor. It is easier and safer to staff appropriately than to short-staff a unit and rely on sitters to keep patients safe.

Uh-huh. And the "sitters" are people who often have NO training whatsoever, at least here! You gotta watch the patient even MORE closely, lest the "sitter" give you a false sense of security. We had a patient die - suffocated on his own pillow - as the sitter fell asleep beside the bed on a night shift. (RN lost her job, cuz it's still legally her responsibility to monitor pt condition, and she never checked on the pt for 4 hours!) So they fork out more $$ to pay the sitter, when it does little extra good, and they might as well staff the place safely with nursing staff, and have less risk to the patients. No matter what extra Unlicensed Staff they give us, we are still responsible for pt care, good or bad!


6 Posts

You have had some interesting responses. I wasn't looking to blame any certain group. I just wondered if there were some inovative ideas out there. Ideas for both sides.

I'll keep watching



6,620 Posts

I don't get it? Why won't administration do something? Even in union shops you can be fired for cause, and I doubt there is anything in the union contract that says nurses can refuse patients just to be lazy. How about the charge nurses on the ward? Aren't they doing anything? Have you tried incident reports or talking to the union and admin about this?

I would be curious to know what union reps would say about this and how a nurse would defend refusing patients when she had nothing else to do. But, I don't get how can a nurse not have any patients but still have charting? They can't discharge the whole unit the same day can they?


6 Posts

You sound like you know how to set priorities. This seems to be a constant problem. I believe that the issues are being taken to the union table. One major problem is that there is no contract as yet.

I don't disagree with most of you, and your comments about management/staff. Again I see trememdous problems on both sides.

Again thanks

I'll keep watching


244 Posts

I highly doubt that nurses are outright refusing patients. I don't believe it for a minute. I have never seen anyone ever refuse patients. These nurses are probably filling out the assingment under protest (or whatever you call them) form and the managers are probably too spineless to give them an assingment anyway. Things really change when managers are made legally responsible for staffing and patient care, as they are with these forms.

It sound to me like the original post was posted to stir things up and maybe get nurses to think twice about forming unions. It won't work, we are not going to fall for it. Patient care depends on us sticking up for ourselves so that we can help our patients. Trying to reason with administration with dollar signs in their eyes has never worked, it is time to take control of health care, no one else is.

Please people, do not fall for the unions are evil ploys that administration has tried for years. Don't let the wolf is sheeps clothing fool you, these nurses are not refusing assignments.I don't believe it for a minute.


4 Posts


Your last reply is one of the thing that really frustrate me about my profession. And I quote

" All I hear is complaining. I don't know what the answer is, but the current trend toward unions will not work"

Now, what frustrates me so much is that unions have worked, and have improved working conditions for nurses as well as made a more professonal enviornment for nurses and improved care. Like Pebbles said, it depend on if the union is a good union or an ineffective one. How do you get a good one? By involving as many members as possible. The really frustrating part is "I don't know what will work". So what is your plan? To let your fellow nurses continue quitting, burning out, more patients dying? What exactly is it going to take before you do know? And what are you going to do in the meantime? Working conditions are so bad at the hospital where I work, I fear for the patients everyday. Last week, they let a new grad, three weeks out of orientation charge my unit. We had a large number of pts, and she was the only RN from our unit. The rest were agency and floats. Patients are in danger, and nurses are leaving because they can't take putting their license on the line anymore. What are YOU going to do about it? In your pledge as an RN, being a patient advocate is part of the deal.

Also, about the rumor of the nurse who refused pts. I say, I would take that with a grain of salt, or talk with the nurses involved. And not just listen to hearsay.

And the right to fall issue. Supposedly that is because of the number of lawsuits involving restraints. But that doesn't bar the hospital from hiring sitters.Especially since they have intiated dangerous nurse/pt ratios. Healthcare in our facilities in going down the tubes at warp speed. I ask you again, what are YOU doing about it?

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