More than 1,500 registered nurses in the state of Texas received contract approval in the first-ever collective bargaining agreement, according to a recent article published in the AFL-CIO.
The contract agreement aims to improve working conditions for registered nurses in regards to patient care standards and the quality of care delivered. These nurses claim that the agreements will help provide important improvements in patient care protections, in addition to improvements in professional and economic standards, in an effort to keep experienced nurses doing what they do best -- care for patients.
Besides Texas, nurses from other states are members of National Nurses United (NNU). The NNU, founded in 2009, is not only the largest union, but also the largest professional association of registered nurses in US history.
NNUís mission is to improve patient care conditions and standards for nurses by advancing the interests of direct patient care nurses across the US. The NNUís collective action for nurses campaign includes areas such as the enactment of safe nurse-to-patient ratios and patient advocacy rights in Congress.
I think back to when I was a staff nurse in an area hospital, and we were a part of the AFL-CIO union, not the NNU. I have to say, it was not beneficial for nursing professionals to be a part of the AFL-CIO union, as employees in other departments such as environmental services and dietary services were a part of this same union as well.
Nurses, along with other medical service providers in areas such as pharmacy and physical therapy, have professional needs different from that of other non-medical employees. When it was contract negotiation time, medical service professionals always seemed to walk away in frustration as other non-medical employees cheered.
I was excited to see that there is a strong nursing union like NNU out there -- itís needed. This organization will be beneficial for those nurses who simply request a safe working environment. In other words, many just want improved nurse-to-patient ratios, in addition to a reasonable salary. Seems simple enough, right? Well, when it comes to money, nothing is ever simple.
For those of you who are direct patient care nurses, are you currently a part of a nursing union or in the membership process? Do you feel nursing and other medical professional unions are necessary?