Are nursing strikes avoidable? I have no idea. Can nurses and management come to fair agreements without having negotiations take months and years? I haven’t the faintest clue. I’m just glad that I don’t have to be in those stuffy rooms tense with passion and unyielding opinions. However when a compromise cannot be found, nurses and patients are stuck between a rock and a hard place. This seems to be the case for Long Beach Memorial and Miller Children’s Hospital Long Beach.
I know it seems that strikes are focused on specific hospitals, but the issues are common across the board. From nurse to patient ratios, wage scales and benefit plans, these are topics that all nurses have an interest in. Even if you are in a medical training school in California, these are issues to consider before you sign your W-4 for employment.
Brantley Watson reports in the Belmont Shore –Naples Patch that the California Nurses Association has scheduled a strike for December 22 on behalf of the Long Beach Memorial and Miller Children’s Hospital Long Beach nurses who are petitioning for a new contract. Watson writes, “According to a hospital press release issued Friday, Long Beach Memorial last presented a new contract offer to the CNA on November 11, an offer that the hospital described as its ‘best and final offer.’ However, the CNA has yet to offer a response to the contract offer, much to the chagrin of Long Beach Memorial.”
The main issue for this particular protest is nurse to patient ratios. “We are finding it harder to give the quality care we want to give when our employer, like insurance companies, is only focused on the bottom line,” said Long Beach RN Margie Keenan. “This undermines our ability to deliver safe patient care. Our serious safety concerns have not been answered at the bargaining table and we will not be able to reach an agreement until they are addressed.”
Strikes are difficult for everyone involved. Patients many times suffer from the lack of care they need and deserve. Many nurses are forced to strike whether or not they agree with the issues or the way the controversy is being addressed. Management has to contend with media attention and disgruntled employees. These are hard issues, especially when intertwined with strong emotions and the bottom line. Getting nursing training is a great career path, but these are things to consider when choosing where to work.
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