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Should Nurses as a profession go on strike?

Posted in: Let's get talking | Discussion and debate

16-Dec-2009 9:23 am

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Anonymous

Anonymous

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17-Dec-2009 0:23 am

Absolutely we MUST strike and very soon. We have for so long believed that as nurses we would be letting our patients down if we were to strike and even be responsible for the deaths of patients if we were to do so.
However take a look at what is happening to us as nurses, we are expecred to work short staffed all the time, we take abuse daily of patients and their realatives, our managers treat us like dog dirt they have just found on their shoe, and as for the government they must love us due to the fact we are the most underpaid profession and yet we accept whatever pittance they feel we deserve in regards to pay. And when a Trust is caught failing to meet patients needs who is the first to be blamed? its the nurses not the managers. So basically we are being told we have already killed 100's of patients because we didnt shout loud enough about the problems we were facing! Its time we respected ourselves as a profession and in order to do so we need to strike, if we did it would not be long before everyone saw the value in what we do and stopped taking us for granted.

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Anonymous

Anonymous

17-Dec-2009 12:21 pm

Exactly anonymous! I don't think there would be many Nurses who actually disagree with our sentiments, but Nursing is notorious for being apathetic and too bitchy and backstabbing to actually band together to do anything about it, so how exactly do we do this? The joke that is the RCN or the NMC certainly arent going to act as battle cries for us, so how do we band together and go on strike for better pay, better recognition, and better working conditions?

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Anonymous

Anonymous

22-Dec-2009 3:34 pm

I believe UK nurses should band together and fight the government.
As I have said before I dont believe there is one nurse out there that would really want to take on such drastic action when it involves patients lives. But at the end of the day, your safety ( not to mention your registration risk ), patient safety and your measley pay are all key factors in this ever ongoing saga. Call the governments bluff and start the fight for your rights and for patient safety and rights.
An outright strike would be a last resort obviously. Working to rule would be a start and things would quickly go downhill. Dont forget you need the publics support if you are going to start such actions, and an outright strike would not get that if other options have not been trailed. How sad it is that it seems worldwide nurses are paid crap and work their butts off with not even a Thanks....and for years it has gone on. Seems the powers that be worldwide all have the same belief that nurses will just slog on...and on....and on.
I work in Australia ( trained in UK ), and yes we do have problems here, but nothing like the track record UK seems to have. And we would NOT have a barr of your proposed 1% pay issue...what an insult to a profession that just gives and gives.
Break a leg and Get the ball rolling guys!!

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glyn goodchild

glyn goodchild

Posts: 2

22-Dec-2009 5:07 pm

To say that Nursing is somehow full of backstabbers, bitchyness, and apathy is rather odd, In fact the statement itself is "bitchy".
Nursing is made up of a massive cross section of the human race so it will contain all the atributes highlighted, and many more virtue filled tendancies.
Are we to expect that we might change our behavior and all start to be the same, like a group of robots. Some of us will believe that we should just go to work and do the job and expect to be treated fairly,others will believe that we are being treated badly and are being abused by the government. In truth my experience tells me that we have a great role in our service to others, and can only be paid what our Government can afford.

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glyn goodchild

glyn goodchild

Posts: 2

22-Dec-2009 5:11 pm

Also be carefull about working to rule. A proportion of us might find that it means turning up on time and doing our job properly.
Also we cant expect the public to sympathise with our cause, they stopped doing that in the days of Enoch Powell.

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Yvonne Bates

Yvonne Bates

Posts: 4

22-Dec-2009 9:47 pm

Oh Glyn Goodchild....Are you saying that nurses are ussually late and dont do their job properly? Thats what I read by your comment. How many do you mean by a " Proportion"? And the majority ( meaning a large proportion of nurses ) who work in various areas of the medical field are wanting to just be treated fairly and this is not happening.If it were the case that nurses were going to work and being treated " Fairly " this debate would not be ongoing now. The majority of my friends here (and around the world ) all seem to have the same ongoing problems, which not only have a negative feedback on our home lives with pay and hours, but also ongoing patient safety issues and burn out. Research proves so many ongoing problems that could be resolved if nurses take a stand. It would be a very nice thing to say that we are treated well.....but in reality we are not and it has an impact on patient care through no fault of nurses.
We do have a great role, and you as well as others certainly did not come into this profession for a great wage packet.... we came into this job because it was a job we all felt we would love and do well.
And for you to say " Can only be paid what our Government can afford"?? Oh dear! Words fail me! All the hundreds of hours I have worked in overtime in my career without a cent being paid goes into someones massive bonus at the end of the year!
We will lose our future nurses because of this if stands are not made.
Nurses now expect to be paid fairly and to be recognised as a professional. Years ago that was not the case, you took what you got.
We are not " Years ago " now.

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Anonymous

Anonymous

23-Dec-2009 8:44 am

During my nursing education and career in nursing and I am referring to the frontline, where I have experienced some rudeness and misunderstanding where professional communication is not applied. I do speak with some experience because I have felt the rath and without reason. I am not referring to the academics(phD's) because I do not know what goes on in those circles. The perplexing dilema may have something to do with teaching children manners at an early age?

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Anonymous

Anonymous

23-Dec-2009 11:42 am

No offence anonymous above, but what are you on about?

And Glyn, paid what the government can afford? Please don't tell me you are that short sighted or naive!!!??

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Anonymous

Anonymous

23-Dec-2009 12:24 pm

Once again I am amazed that the topic is even up for discussion. The government (any of them) are well aware that nurses in the main do a damn good job and they rely on nurses' work ethic and duty of care to treat them as second class healthcare workers. If doctors pay was in the same situation they would only have to whisper 'strike/work to rule' and the earth would move to up their pay. The problem is that despite the vast majority of nurses' excellent performance they are their own worst enemy by being disorganised and not of 'one accord' with regard to pay and conditions, and the senior nurses in the NMC/RCN and in managerial posts are aware of this, and as they are also in well paid ivory towers as political sychophants who do NOT speak for the profession but simply to serve their disinterested masters.

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Yvonne Bates

Yvonne Bates

Posts: 4

24-Dec-2009 1:47 am

That will be the disinterested masters that get the yearly
bonuses I presume?
I totally agree with you Anon ( above )....especially with the "One accord"
Sorry to go back to Glyn with this, but your insight into this is doing more damage to the profession . I would sit down and do some research and see if you still think that there are still nurses out there that think they dont have cause for concern. And Im not just talking about the pay issue. I could go on in depth about patient/ staff safety issues. Combinations of all concerns are not making happy nurses or patients.

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Anonymous

Anonymous

24-Dec-2009 8:20 am

Why is it that pay bonuses are given out to directors, managers,etc.? Why don't the government monitor their daily work schedules, meetings, meetings, meetings? And in the same breath, they cut essential services?
When will we have justice to eliminate the hierarchy, and the bonuses?

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Anonymous

Anonymous

24-Dec-2009 9:11 am

I remember some time in my career hearing that every nurse in two countires walked out for better pay and conditions and within the hour had won there dispute. Yes people died during this time that would have lived but, how many other groups of professionals have second jobs just to make ends meet or just to get a holiday once a year after working under shocking conditions for the rest of the year. Would bankers work permenantly short staffed or in abusive situations, working in mental health I have taken wepons of patients, nurse are the security in these hospitals not security gaurds or police so on daily basis as mental health nurses we put our life on the line like the police, firemen.

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Anonymous

Anonymous

24-Dec-2009 3:38 pm

Glyn is probably one of the older 'stuck in her ways' nurses, her opinion does not match the majority and is thankfully becoming more and more of a minority as the 'old guard' retire.

Nurses NEED to go on strike. We cannot continue to allow the government and our trust 'directors' to blackmail us with our own good will!!

As others have said, yes this is a last resort, but we have tried every other measure under the sun, remember our pathetic so called 'union' trying to argue for better pay a year or two ago? They may as well have just bent over!

IF we strike, and IF we choose to stand up and say enough is enough as one, then not only will we finally get the pay and recognition we deserve as a profession, but we will also IMPROVE patient safety as a result, get more nurses on the ward every shift, improve conditions (and there is now research to back this up too) and we will ultimately save lives.


We need to organise something, use this forum maybe? I don't know how, but something has to be done. Please anyone with any suggestions or with any links to the RCN to try and force this issue, please use this forum and get things rolling.

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Abel

Abel

Location: Australia
Posts: 1

26-Dec-2009 6:11 am

I would suggest focusing on the next election.
If necessary and possible, create the Nursing Party (Healthcare Party) for quality healthcare and the public’s protection.
o Develop your agenda for better conditions and more resources with specific demand such as the ratio Nurse/Patients;
o Start informing stakeholders, specially patients about your coming actions;
o Be focus on patients and Nurses’ safety and win the hearts and minds of patients, their families and the community as to create momentum in your movement;
o Elaborate strategies to prevent some agencies and individuals that would try to derail your movement with the guilt/responsibility argument;
o Create a website for your Party and ask people to donate for achieving your goal of delivering the best possible care.

When your movement reaches the heights, all politicians from all sides of the political spectrum will try to bargain with you. The best option is to accept the best offer with the likely winner as long as it is made in writing with timelines and deadlines.

Stick together as they will try to divide your movement.

Show leaders how unity could make a dream come true. The dream of having Nurses becoming MP that can represent the public, patients, their families and the communities and influence decisions towards quality of care is a dream that can be real.

UK Nurses will be remembered not for the benefits they have gained but for the quality healthcare, they have provided for patients, families and the British Community.
History is on your side.
Abel (RN, Australia)

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Yvonne Bates

Yvonne Bates

Posts: 4

27-Dec-2009 6:55 am

Considering this is such a major issue for you all over there , there is very little debate going on here really. Is there another site that I can look into with you? I suggest you Google research into overseas strikes by nurses..Victoria Australia and Canada to name two that were mailnly effective strikes. and that you can get ongoing data from Google.
Overall majority agreements are a key factor to this being a sucess.
And as far as someone ( Glyn again !)here saying the public " Lost interest " years ago, well you need them, and you need to get that support back in whatever way you can. You need to make sure that the public knows that their care is compromised, and you want their support!
Australian ( Victorian ) nurses ( in 1984/5 ) did not get what they exacly wanted, but it wasnt far off, and apart from getting 3 yearly follow ons ( EBA....Enterprise Bargaining Agreement ) ) with the government re pay and issues, we also had the first ever Patient/ Nurse ratio which was a god send.
You can do this, but you need strong union reps and unity. I believe there was a night meeting that involved a massive turnout od some 1700 nurses that proved exactly what nurses were feeling.
I cannot stress enough that you need to call the Governments bluff!

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Anonymous

Anonymous

27-Dec-2009 1:15 pm

The "Old Guard" have something to offer, for your information. There are probably many decent nurses out there right now, who know their jobs and treat people with respect. I have seen very few of them. My experience as a customer in recent years has been disappointing at best and distressing most of the time. I realise that the "profession" has moved on, but change for its own sake isn't always a positive move. The many gains made in terms of technology and equipment have been eclipsed by the appalling loss of good manners, lack of respect and the inability to promote dignity. Many nurses I have encountered - especially when my Father was dying - are rude, unpleasant, poorly socially skilled and appear not to give a damn, with an outrageous lack of insight into the human condition. Bodies such as the NMC do nothing to address this, being so far up themselves it would take a forklift truck and several days to retrieve them.

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Anonymous

Anonymous

27-Dec-2009 1:34 pm

Thanks yvonne that is some damn fine advice, it is good to know that strikes have worked effectively in other countries. Of course better pay is always desireable, especially considering what we do, but if all we were to acheive with a strike was at least doubling the amount of nurses on ward level then I would be more than happy. Patient care IS compromised by the working conditions we all face and the public need to realise this. I don't think Glyn speaks for the majority hear though, I believe that a huge percentage of the public would actually be behind us if we did strike.

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Anonymous

Anonymous

27-Dec-2009 1:40 pm

Anon above(1:15pm), I agree with you about the useless NMC, however in my opinion it is the older nurses (of course there are exceptions to this rule) in general who display the characteristics you mention. The ones who have been in the job for so long and are so dissilusioned that they have very little patient care and add to the dissaray within the profession by refusing to move with the times. The profession HAS moved on, and they need to realise this. It CAN be a good thing if all nurses worked together.

But we are off topic. Th eposter is right, we need to lobby the RCN and NMC, force them to get off their arses and organise a strike.

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Anonymous

Anonymous

28-Dec-2009 12:10 pm

I agree to most of you. This is a chronic disease in the system that is so difficult to cure because we all let it happen and even the system itself is preventing us to resolve the problem. My advice are
1. for those who still love to be a nurse, make sure you all know your priority - keep yourself healthy, take your break when due, go home on time and see your family and forget about your job when you go home and sleep tight.
2. during working hours, dont run like a jaguar to do your tasks, take your time and pace yourself - you dont need to be stress out in your job, as long as you know what you are doing. Look and observe the consultant when they are doing their ward round, they are not panicking in assessing their patients. They are taking their time to do all necessary assessment they need to do complete their diagnosis, plan and management for the patient. They are being paid the highest but they are COOOL. Why not work like them - take your time and dont let other people (doctors, managers, collegues force you to do things when you are doing something) Make your mind and heart to function that you are human entiltled for decent working conditions eventhough it is not. Dont swim into this horrible world to affect your personal, emotional, spiritual and social life.
3. always write an incident report to correct wrong manners and we are hoping people on the top will act on this but it never did but at least you know that you are doing something and that will at least lighten the loads in your hearts.

Happy holidays to everyone and always enjoy your life to the fullest because we only live once.

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Anonymous

Anonymous

28-Dec-2009 7:38 pm

At the end of the day nurses are ordinary working people with ordinary everyday problems like paying bills etc. We must be realistic, we are not held in the high esteem that the government and employers and some within the profession itself would happily have us believe. That is just a ploy to make us feel guilty about taking industrial action. As ordinary people, we do have a lot of power. It is well past time we realised that and used it, and dont be fooled that we will loose public respect, there is little respect there in the first place. If real respect is there, it will endure any action taken. If not, it realy makes no difference. We have to look after ourselves first, stop being wimpering matyres.

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