- Managers of Tufts Medical Center refused to let 1,200 nurses return to work following a 24-hour strike that ended at 7 a.m. Thursday, The Boston Globe reports. The lockout will continue until Monday, when a five-day contract with 320 temporary nurses who were hired to care for patients during the strike runs out.
- The nurses, members of the Massachusetts Nurses Association, have been trying since April 2016 to agree on a new contract with the Boston hospital, which is affiliated with Tufts University.
- Negotiations have been deadlocked on retirement benefits, but nurses are also asking their numbers at the hospitals to increase. “They send out blast texts on a daily basis, to try and fill holes,” RN Mary Havlicek Cormacchia, told Boston25News.
The strike was the first in the Boston area for more than 30 years, but nurses are saying more and more they are getting burnt out at their jobs and not achieving work life balance.
On Tuesday, hospital officials issued the following statement:
“The MNA had an opportunity to reach an agreement tonight; they instead chose to strike and have our nurses walk out on patients. We went to the table today and offered a path forward that met the needs of our nurses. The union recycled their retirement proposal that is risky for nurses and expensive for the hospital. We have more than 320 experienced nurses here to care for patients beginning tomorrow morning. We will deliver the same exceptional care that we always have at Tufts Medical Center.”
Nurse strikes can affect a hospital's care quality, however. A 2010 study of New York state nursing strikes showed "a meaningful increase in both hospital mortality and hospital readmission among patients admitted during a hospital strike."
Nurse burnout is a growing problem. With growing demand for healthcare services, nurses are feeling overworked, underpaid and often harassed by other nurses and staff. In a recent survey by traveling nurse company RNnetwork, 49.8% of nurses said they are considering leaving the profession. A majority (62%) said “the national nursing shortage has strongly impacted their workload.”
Results of a survey by Kronos Incorporated were even more alarming — 90% of nurses reported thinking of leaving their job for one with a better work/life balance. Close to half (44%) said that managers don’t know how tired they are and 43% said they hide their fatigue from managers.
The average salary for a registered nurse rose 3.4% to $61,306, according to a 2016 Glassdoor report. But that may not be enough to stem the nursing shortage, which is being fueled in part by an aging U.S. population and large numbers of nurses approaching retirement.