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Nurses Strike Averted at Tufts
May 6, 2011
Negotiators for the Tufts Medical Center and the Massachusetts Nurses Association agreed on an 18-month contract extension, only hours before 1,100 registered nurses were set to walk off their jobs at the Boston teaching hospital. The tentative deal was reached after 15 hours of bargaining, which extended into the overnight hours. The deal helped to avoid what would have been the first nurse's strike at a Boston hospital in 25 years.
The contract does not resolve the ongoing dispute over the union's demand for mandatory staffing levels, which was the key point in the talks; but the parties did agree that Tufts would continue its practice of not assigning more than five patients to a single nurse on the day or evening shift.
"Our nurses made a courageous stand for safe staffing and working conditions, and the hospital finally responded with improvements that we believe will enhance our ability to deliver the care our patients expect and deserve," registered nurse Barbara Tiller, co-chairwoman of the union's bargaining unit, said in a statement, shortly after the agreement was reached.
National Survey of Nurses
The Nurse Advocate Organization, NAO, conducted a national feedback survey of nurses and the results are interesting. The NAO's primary mission is to support nurses in the work environment and act as an advocate with administrations. The survey had a total of ten questions relating to various areas such as, staffing shortages, department heads and policies. An example of a question asked is, "Do you think your hospital's administration is in touch with your daily challenges?" 44.7% of nurses asked said, "Not at all."
The most interesting answers came in response to this question, "If you could say anything to your administration through NAO, what would you tell them?"
Here is a sample of answers:
We need more breaks; have not had lunch in a week.
Please overstaff daily, there are always sick calls. Would rather volunteer to go home than work short staffed.
Come out of your office, work on the floor and see what it is really like.
Bring back the good patient care you talk about in your Mission Statement.
Please listen to your nursing staff.
Better pay and more coverage.
Work in the bedside at least four shifts a year.
Don't cut back on the frontline staff and make sure that training and education are not cut to make the budget balance.
Listen and support your nursing staff.
Get real!! It could be you in that bed needing supportive life saving care!
There were many, many more responses. Interesting food for thought.
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