Thursday, June 10, 2010

Twin Cities Nursing Strike

Today, an estimated 12,000 nurses in the Twin Cities walked out on the job, on a planned one-day strike.  

I am a nurse.  I am darn proud to be a nurse, too.  I understand why the nurses in the Twin Cities have chosen to do this strike.  Staffing is bad, pensions are threatened.  But this strike thing does not sit well with me.  For one reason.

They left their patients. 

For the patients' good, they say?  I can believe that rationale, somewhat, but I think it is flawed. Surely there must be another way.  It seems so contrary to a true nurse's spirit to leave a patient in need of care. Are things really that bad that you would compromise the care of your patients?  You?  A member of the most trusted profession in the States?

I recognize that my job at Mayo is pretty posh as far as nursing goes, and a big part of it is we have to compete with the Cities.  Their unions do a lot of work that makes non-union Mayo step up and match it so all the nurses from Rochester don't leave to work in the Cities.  I understand this. 

I also recognize that where I went to school, the nurses often had twice the number of patients nurses are expected to have at Mayo.  They also get a little over half the  pay that Mayo nurses get.  Nursing is not so kind in the South. 

Face it, MN nurses.  You make, on average, $10,000 more a year than nurses in other parts of the U.S.  You may not have the best staffing ratio in the U.S., but I have seen far worse in my short time in this career. 

I hope your strike is partially successful, just so you'll get back to your patients.  I sincerely hope staffing levels improve.  I also hope you don't get everything you want.  If anything, I hope you have rock-star teamwork to get through the shifts where all hell breaks loose.  I hope you stay proud to be a nurse and take the good with the bad when you can't remember why you chose this career in this first place.  I hope you compromise with the powers that be, and try to salvage some of the faith the U.S. public had in the nursing profession.


Anonymous said...

I love you, Sarah!