Newspaper, TV, radio, Internet or even gossip—no matter how you get your news, nurses have had more than their share of controversy this year. Here’s a year in review of what got our tongues wagging here at Scrubs in 2010.
1. Duluth, Minnesota, nurses vote to strike. In August, more than 900 nurses in Duluth voted to participate in a one-day strike in September. Luckily, the strike was averted, but the topic of striking nurses always seems to hit a nerve among healthcare professionals and the general public. Should they be allowed to strike?
Scrubs reader comment: “…If a life-threatening situation arises and the outcome is less than desirable, the nurse is the one held accountable…not administration, not the supervisor, not the clerk, not the health tech and not the nursing assistant. Wanting safe patient/nurse ratios does not make us unprofessional. It makes us a caring but smart, professional group of people.”
2. Nurses successfully sue employers for work breaks. We’ve all been there—a busy shift makes it virtually impossible to get off for a real break or even a meal—a break we’re legally entitled to. Nurses in Washington State got fed up at not being able to take their breaks, so they sued their employers. The best part? They won.
Scrubs reader comment: “We are being forced to take lunch breaks. We have been called to the unit manager’s office more than once and told, no matter how busy we are, we need time away from the unit…I take my break around 3:00 a.m. when it is usually nice and quiet, the optimal time to work on my computer documentation. So, I do not want to take a break but continue my documentation… If I wait until the morning to try and document, it is pure chaos, doctors start to arrive, charts are missing… So, I do not want to risk taking a lunch break, then staying late to complete my documentation, with charts missing, etc.!”