Today, the Minnesota Nurses Association (MNA) staged the largest nursing strike in American history with over 12,000 nurses walking out on their patients.Â According to the Pioneer Press, the main issues are 1. Pay and the amount of increase over the coming years, 2. Pension benefits, 3. Benefits, and 4. Staffing ratios.Â Â The MNA states that this walkout is not related to money, but is about patient safety.Â Simple math of the four issues will show you that this IS about money…..25% of the issues relate to patient safety and 75% relate to money.
Here are my issues with nurses and unions.Â We are professionals, we are not blue collar laborers working on a dock.Â We work in clean and for the most part safe environments.Â We work long hours, but we also get a lot of time off to relax.Â If we want to be treated like professionals, then we must act like professionals.
Throwing our hands up in the air and walking away is not how you solve problems in the work place.Â Walking away from the patients we have dedicated ourselves to is not the way to solve the problem, it only increases it, by showing that we are not taking our profession seriously.Â Physicians don’t walk off the job, lawyers don’t walk off the job, Accountants don’t walk off the job and firefighters don’t walk off the job.
I think if these nurses want to be professionals, they should really say what this is about and that is money.Â Although the ratios are important, that is obviously not the focus of the walk-out.Â By saying this was all because of patient safety, then walking out and leaving the patients in an even more dangerous situation is irresponsible.
I absolutely think that nurses should make more money for what we do.Â It is obvious that is the reason for this walk out, but how can they say that with a straight face in this economic environment.Â While our patients are losing their job and benefits, how can they look them in the eye and tell them they are abandoning them because they want more money and don’t want to pay for benefits?
Shame on you MNA for abandoning your patients because of your own selfishness.Â You put them all at risk.