SDW news brief: Walkouts by nurses loom as hospitals seek to cut costs

Staff Development Weekly: Insight on Evidence-Based Practice in Education, December 23, 2011

Strains in staffing, changes to health benefits, and an overall feeling of disrespect has prompted nurses in both California and New York to prepare for strikes and walkouts before the end of the year, according to nursing unions. More than 6,000 registered nurses from Mount Sinai, Montefiore Medical Center, and St. Luke’s-Roosevelt Hospital Center in New York, represented by the New York State Nurses’ Association, voted to authorize a strike but have not yet given a mandatory 10-day strike warning. Meanwhile, 23,000 nurses in California have planned a 24-hour walkout for December 22.

The New York Times reports many hospitals are facing similar issues as new payment models, budget insecurity, and cuts in Medicare and Medicaid are introduced. Nursing unions argue changes in quality measures such as readmissions and patient satisfaction surveys contribute to pressure felt by nurses nationwide and that nurses and their patients are required to make sacrifices while top executives are overpaid.

The article cites a 20-year study conducted by the Bureau of Economic Research, which found a nearly 20% increase in patient mortality rates and 6.5% increase in readmissions during strikes.

Source: The New York Times

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