An organization that is formed to benefit its workers in the sphere of working is called a labor union. Nurses are believed to be the only professional occupation in the healthcare industry to be represented by a union (Cherry & Jacob, 2017). Over the past decade, labor unions for nurses such as United American Nurses, National Nurses United, and California Nurses Association were founded (Cherry & Jacob, 2017). This paper aims to analyze the labor union issues for nurses in an acute care organization and inquire how these issues can be solved and what problems may cause.
The nurses working in acute care organizations cannot choose but operate under high pressure and stress; thus, the rate of job satisfaction may decline. The labor unions deal with such issues as mandatory overtime or long working hours. As a consequence, the nurse is likely to lose the ability to provide high-quality patient care and constant burnouts and problems with self-care may occur. What is more, reduced wages for such a challenging job being inappropriate lowers job satisfaction drastically. The inability of an organization to provide a safer workplace, such as ventilation, safer needlestick devices, or personal protective equipment, is another problem for a union to solve (Cherry & Jacob, 2017). Finally, poor relationships with “the boss” seem to complicate the working capacity. These are the most probable factors that may cause complaints during the work of a nurse in acute care.
The existence of unions is aimed at supporting the nurse’s position in the workers’ relationships with their management. However, the individual medical worker may not possess sufficient authority to settle a problem. The idea of standing together in a union gives the employees a stronger voice to negotiate with management (Cherry & Jacob, 2017). The labor union can file a complaint against the employer in any case of contract violations. These violations may include all the issues listed above that may result in the nursing staff’s worse quality of care provided.
The nurse union’s responsibility is to provide a satisfactory resolution of conflict for both parties. The unions make it possible by addressing certain regulatory agencies and institutions. As Cherry (2017) puts it, the association holds some degree of political power on a local level (p. 260). Workers in a union can collectively strike or bargain and demand negotiations with the management twice: before the contract is ratified and before it expires (Cherry & Jacob, 2017). The topics of a negotiation touch upon the issues that alarm the employees, their working rights, grievances, and their resolution. Thus, unions facilitate the promotion of a satisfactory workspace in an organization.
The problem with union issues in an acute care organization is that the employees may feel distanced from management and have an air of tension. In turn, the workers may feel distracted from their duties during the process of negotiations (Cherry & Jacob, 2017). Besides, employers may start acting oddly and adding tension to that process. Therefore, it is essential to be in accord with colleagues and administration.
Thus, labor unions are of great help concerning dissatisfaction that may occur to a medical nurse at work. The association represents an individual or a group of workers to make their voices be heard and force the employer to take the necessary actions. The proper work conditions guarantee a nurse capable of providing required care to patients under severe conditions of work in an acute care organization.
Cherry, B., & Jacob, S. R. (2017). Contemporary nursing: Issues, trends, & management (7th ed.). Elsevier Health Sciences.