Thursday, July 8, 2010

Minnesota Newspaper Sorts Through Nurses' Strike -- and Gets it Right

The hospital industry has been abuzz over the past several weeks, over the prospect of 12,000 nurses at 14 Minnesota hospitals striking over a variety of issues. The brief, but acrimonious strike that took place last week was punctuated by leaders of the nurses union accusing the hospitals of pressing for procedures and work rules that would lead to unsafe patient care.

Shockingly, in the end, it seems it was all about money.

An editorial published in the Pioneer Press of St. Paul hit the nail on the head. Its title: Nurses Care. So Do Hospital Bosses.

In the editorial, the paper took the nurses to task for their cynical (and apparently transparent) approach to gaining public and union support:

By relying on an argument that demonized hospital managers and attempted to raise panic about pervasive mortal danger in Twin Cities hospitals, the nurses union undermined its own credibility and the cause of intelligent discourse.

The paper went on to state: Arguing that hospital managers and the citizen boards who direct them care only about money and not at all about patients or employees is...outrageous.

More and more hospitals will be faced with labor issues -- not only among nurses, but also among support workers and technicians -- as healthcare dollars continue to get tighter and tighter. Moving forward, let's hope that these disputes can be resolved by reasonable people undertaking a discussion that centers around the best and most effective utilization of available resources, and not on a cynical attempt to demonize the opposition.

Because hospital bosses care, too.

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