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How much do you value nurses?

It was bad when the Washington Hospital Center fired 18 nurses during last winter's blizzards. It got worse when the nurses union and management failed to negotiate a new contract in the summer. Then last week, the hospital effectively cut take-home pay for most nurses. As WHC nurses voted overwhelmingly Tuesday night to join the largest nurses union in the country, labor relations at the area's biggest hospital were tense. Read the full article.

By Abha Bhattarai  |  October 6, 2010; 1:28 PM ET  | Category:  Local Save & Share:  Send E-mail   Facebook   Twitter   Digg   Yahoo Buzz   Del.icio.us   StumbleUpon   Technorati  
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Hospitals (most of them) are structured and salaried in a way that projects nursing as one of the lesser roles, somewhat below the botoxed Nordstrom dressed business people(administrators) who run the place (quite often down). Medicare funding until recently has been used to pay usurous salaries to these people while nursing sucks any salt that needs to be absorbed. Unionization is wonderful and hopefully will reveal the primitive social structure of our so called healthcare system (I call it sickness care). If the union is honest, that would even be better. Unlike many teachers' unions they can insist on a minimum quality of training and education while bringing salaries into line with their importance in patient care. Hopefully a patients union will also come forth and participate in the decisions about inappropriate but expensive so called care and procedures that the greedy component of the medical profession deliver for their profit and that of the hospital to which they are beholden. Unionized nurses....in an effective union...good move.

Posted by: Draesop | October 7, 2010 12:01 AM

I spent some time in the hospital a year ago. The nurses were a godsend. They're CRUCIAL to our medical care.

You not only see them a lot more than the doctor (as expected) they provided more than just medical care, but mental care in helping me get through it.

I wanted to propose to every one of them.

Posted by: Mikeystyle | October 7, 2010 1:56 AM

Unions are simply government sanctioned and protected labor monopolies. They deliver what all monopolies routinely deliver - bad value for the customer. I boycott union shops whenever possible. Too bad about public employee unions, none of us have a choice there.

Posted by: robert17 | October 7, 2010 2:51 AM

1 nurse is worth 10 doctors but is paid 1/10 of 1 doctor.

Posted by: bald_eagle1 | October 7, 2010 5:30 AM

Behind every good Doctor, believe me, there is a great nurse!

Posted by: fimclennan | October 7, 2010 6:35 AM

As an emergency physician for 38 years, I can tell you that good nurses are key to good patient care. In my clinical setting, the physician cannot be everywhere and we depend heavily on skilled, experienced nurses to help us stay on top of a very demanding patient care environment. Nursing is a vital health care profession and does not get anywhere near the respect or the tangible rewards (i.e. salary) it deserves. Nurses are overworked, underpaid and disrespected in scheduling and these are some of the reasons they are leaving the profession in droves.

Posted by: nbriggs | October 7, 2010 6:48 AM

When a patient has a hemorrhage during the night, who do you think is there to handle it? A Doctor? An admin? No, it's an overworked, underpaid nurse. Most surgical problems appear after the Doctor has gone home and the nurse has responsibility for the patient.....along with a dozen other patients. RNs have a 4-year Bachelor of Science degree and must continually update their training. They have to work shifts, including weekends. They are exposed to diseases and nasty tempered patients and family. And they are usually paid less than a good automobilie mechanic. Is it any wonder there is usually a shortage of them? Do you know that hospitals require nurses to be available for work but will cancel them if the patient load is light - without any compensation! If you don't appreciate nurses, try following one around for 12 hours on a night shift. And bring your own dinner and breakfast because the cafeteria isn't open.

Posted by: dilbert99 | October 7, 2010 7:48 AM

If I could use only nurses, I would. In fact, I guess I do. My "doctor" is not a doctor but a Certified Registered Nurse Practitioner. She's always available and is the first health care worker ever to try to coerce me into taking better care of my health. She sliced a very annoying skin tag off of me the other day for free at the end of my regular checkup. And she volunteered, I wouldn't have thought to ask.

Posted by: HookedOnThePost | October 7, 2010 7:56 AM

i had major surgery a few years ago. if it wasn't for the nurses i would have went nuts!

they listend to me cry, they were patient and most of all they took care of me. one even went to bat for me against a doctor that wasn't mine but was monitoring the floor. he refused to give me pain meds due to misreading MY doctors instructions. the nurse kept me calm and explained to him what i needed.

gotta luv the nurses!

Posted by: nall92 | October 7, 2010 7:56 AM

I have been a Registered Nurse for 21years. Nurses are only willing to go on STRIKE when all other efforts have failed. Nurses want safe staffing levels in order to do what we are obligated to do: provide safe, effective and therapeutic care!! We want to get you out of the hospital alive and well. My job is to keep you alive and I cannot do that if I have too many patients to care for.

Posted by: Mdfog10 | November 21, 2010 2:05 PM

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