The nation's largest nurses' union is set to strike on Wednesday, as the labor union seeks to politicize the Ebola crisis and selfishly put Americans' health care at risk.
National Nurses United has announced their nurses will walk out of nearly 100 facilities in 16 states across the U.S. and in Washington, D.C.
The two-day strike will include nearly 20,000 nurses and nurse practitioners at 86 Kaiser Permanente hospitals and clinics. In addition 600 nurses have already begun striking at California hospitals on Tuesday, and another 400 will walk off the job in Washington, D.C. on Wednesday.
In addition, other health care professionals will begin picketing hospitals in an attempt to disrupt patient care, and they will also protest and hold rallies at Federal buildings and other high-profile facilities. Actions are also planned for cities such as Chicago, Boston, St. Louis, Miami, Las Vegas and Kansas City as well as a number of California locations, although National Nurses United declined to release specific details.
Their accusations include an alleged failure to protect nurses; however, the evidence is incontrovertibly to the contrary.
Since the first U.S. case of Ebola, the Centers for Disease Control have updated their personal protection guidelines for healthcare workers, and protocols have been strengthened successfully at our nation's hospitals.
Make no mistake, the nurses' union protest is nothing more than a ploy to make hospitals (their bosses) look bad.
The first case of Ebola in the U.S. which landed at Texas Health Presbyterian Dallas was something for which not even our government was prepared - it could have happened to any facility. Since then, hospitals and health care providers and even our government have learned valuable lessons.
Hospitals are not only meeting new standards but in many cases, now exceeding revised CDC guidelines including providing advanced personal protective equipment (PPE), respirators, and other equipment to nurses and fellow health care professionals.
One shining, successful example is the recent handling of the Ebola virus in New York City, about which even the Democrat Mayor Bill De Blasio and Democrat Governor Andrew Cuomo said, respectively, "Every hospital in the city is prepared" and the health care system "provided the highest level of professionalism and service." Dr. Craig Spencer was released from Bellevue Hospital on Tuesday and declared free of the virus.
For those of us who have actually worked in a hospital setting during tense times (I did so during 9/11), we have the utmost respect for nurses and we know firsthand that nurses prefer to let no issues - political or otherwise - get in between themselves and their patients.
Unfortunately, the nurses' meddling labor union didn't get the memo.
It seems odd that their labor union would pile onto an already-dismal month in the public relations department.
Although Hickox is expected to be declared clear of the virus at midnight on Wednesday, her obstinent refusals and threats to sue the government caused public opinion to soar among Americans wishing to quarantine healthcare workers returning from infected countries overseas to an all-time high of 91%. (Trust me when I say that no political consultant has ever achieved that astronomical stratosphere in public opinion polling.)
A similar negative opinion will no doubt be achieved with this labor union strike.
Worse, it will harm patient care in the process.
National Nurses United's calculated strike to place their own profits above patients is a direct affront to the Florence Nightengale creed which states, "I shall be loyal to my work and devoted towards the welfare of those committed to my care."
The nurses' walkout is a shameless, selfish ploy to obtain extra benefits and goodies for a unionized workforce at a time when Americans need their health care professionals most.
Even President Obama said of the Ebola crisis that we're all in this together. However, the latest political stunt by the largest labor union of nurses in the U.S. proves otherwise, as they encourage nurses to abandon their stations and thereby abandon the American people in their time of need.
Jennifer Kerns served as the Chief Spokeswoman and Deputy Insurance Commissioner for California's Insurance Commissioner overseeing the world's fifth-largest insurance and healthcare market in the world. She previously served in the health care industry, as spokeswoman for the California Republican Party, and twice as an appointee of Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger. She is now based in Washington, D.C.
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