Americans Trust Nurses More Than Any Profession

Americans Trust Nurses More Than Any Profession

According to the annual Gallup poll , Americans trust nurses more than any other profession for the twenty-second consecutive year.

Nurses are viewed as having “very high” or “high” ethical and honesty standards by 79% of U.S. adults, 15 points higher than any other profession and significantly higher than professionals such as business executives, who are highly trusted by just 12% of Americans.

“Nurses have earned the trust of the American people by putting patient safety above all else,” says Katie Murphy, a practicing ICU nurse and president of the Massachusetts Nurses Association. “The public has seen nurses give everything to their patients during the COVID-19 pandemic while fiercely advocating for improvements to care quality and access.”

Murphy says it is past time that hospital executives show nurses the same respect and trust as the public. “The public trusts that they will receive the care they need in their most vulnerable moments. To provide that care, nurses need hospital executives to prioritize bedside staffing and resources above corporate profits.”

Even as nurses feel the public’s trust and stand once again as the nation’s most ethical profession, they face enormous challenges in doing their job.

According to the 2022 State of Nursing in Massachusetts survey, more than 8 in 10 registered nurses said the quality of patient care in hospitals had worsened significantly over the previous two years. They described being emotionally exhausted, increasingly disengaged, and more likely to leave the profession or reduce their hours.

  • 33% of nurses in the Spring 2022 survey reported planning to leave nursing sooner than initially planned. Among newer nurses with 0 to 5 years of experience, 37% were planning to go sooner – the highest percentage of any group.
  • 82% of Massachusetts nurses who will leave nursing sooner because of the pandemic report not having enough time with their patients.
  • 69% of nurses say their most significant obstacle to care is understaffing/having too many patients.

In December, the MNA issued a statement detailing four critical priorities for Governor Healey’s Administration:

  • Protecting healthcare access
  • Addressing the hospital staffing crisis
  • Investing in public healthcare services
  • Eliminating healthcare inequities

“The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed the existing fault lines in our broken healthcare system,” Murphy says. “With the public’s full support of nurses, now is the time to make lasting, structural improvements that will benefit patients, caregivers, and all our communities.”

Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Massachusetts Nurses Association Approve New Contract

Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Massachusetts Nurses Association Approve New Contract

Three years after their dispute began, Brigham and Women’s Hospital and the Massachusetts Nurses Association (MNA) have reached an agreement and approved a new two-year contract deal. The union representing Brigham and Women’s hospital supports over 3,400 nurses who accused the hospital of putting profits ahead of patient care.

In 2016, nurses from Brigham threatened a historic one-day strike. Both sides ultimately reached a contract deal to avoid the strike the day before it was set to begin what would have been the largest walkout of nurses in state history. Prior to the strike being called off, Brigham had planned to lock out the striking nurses for four additional days by hiring temporary replacements and transferring hundreds of patients to other facilities.

The nurses union has continued to clash with other hospital executives since then, carrying out a strike at Tufts Medical Center in 2017 and pushing a controversial ballot question to regulate nurse staffing levels in hospitals in 2018, which was rejected by voters.

The new agreement shows a drastic change in attitude from all sides. Contract negotiations between Brigham and the nurses association had reached a bitter point prior to the cancelled strike in 2016. But this time around, the talks were very different and all sides can take part in celebrating a new agreement between the two organizations.

Brigham and Women’s Hospital released the following statement following the new contract deal: “The process of negotiations was collaborative and respectful as the hospital and the MNA worked to achieve our mutual goal: ensuring that nurses have a safe, supportive environment in which to provide the best care for patients.”

The new contract will take place retroactively to last October and expire in September 2020. The deal includes a 12 percent raise over two years for nurses in their first 19 years on the job and a 4.5 percent increase for nurses at the top of the wage scale. The contract also maintains pensions and other existing benefits.

To learn more about the new two-year contract deal between Brigham and Women’s Hospital and the Massachusetts Nurses Association three years after avoiding a historic strike, visit here.

Massachusetts Nurses Association Trying Again for Patient Limit Legislation

Massachusetts Nurses Association Trying Again for Patient Limit Legislation

The Massachusetts Nurses Association (MNA) is trying a second time to establish patient limits in state legislation. This comes six months after losing a ballot question in the November 2018 state election.

As reported by the Boston Business Journal , the current legislation being reviewed now would hire an independent researcher to study issues affecting nurses, such as staffing, violence, injuries, and quality of life. The data collected by the researcher will then be used by state legislators to determine healthcare staffing needs and acute care patient limits.

“If these studies determine there is a best practice limit on the number of patients a nurse should care for at one time, that should inform future policy discussions,” MNA spokesman Joe Markman told the Boston Business Journal.

The original measure from this past election was defeated largely because of lobbying from the Massachusetts Health & Hospital Association (MHA), who spent $25 million to defeat the ballot. This current bill would be revisiting the same legislation, which raises points for state consideration regarding nurse staffing measures.

“The recent ballot measure raised important issues and challenges that our nurses still face today regarding their ability to give patients the quality care they need and deserve,” Massachusetts state Senator Diana DiZoglio, a sponsor of the current legislation, shared with the Boston Business Journal in an email. “While the policy prescription on the ballot was rejected by the majority of voters, we still need to remain vigilant in identifying best practices to ensure the very best patient care is afforded to all.”

MNA has been working to get nurse-to-patient ratios at all Massachusetts hospitals for several years, including a ballot measure in 2014 that was removed, after Governor Deval Patrick passed a law patient limit law. Markman said this study is necessary to convince voters, after the 2018 election.

“The hospital industry spent … million(s) misleading people about those facts and sometimes outright lying,” Markman told the Boston Business Journal. “For example, they continuously said ED wait times would increase with safe patient limits. That is just wrong and not supported by the evidence. Based on how the industry ran its campaign, it’s clear the public will benefit from additional independent studies.”

Massachusetts Hospitals Oppose Initiative for Mandated Nurse Staffing Ratios

Massachusetts Hospitals Oppose Initiative for Mandated Nurse Staffing Ratios

Earlier this year, the Massachusetts Nurses Association  proposed a ballot initiative to mandate nurse staffing ratios in Massachusetts hospitals. The proposed mandate would lead to the reduction of 1,000 behavioral health beds, increase emergency room boarding for mental health patients, and decrease access to recovery services statewide according to a study by the Massachusetts Association of Behavioral Health Systems.

The mandate calls for one nurse to be responsible for no more than four typical medical or surgical patients at a given time. Different guidelines would apply for sicker patients and staffing ratios would differ by unit. Supporters of the initiative argue that legislating nurse-to-patient ratios will improve patient care. Nurses are currently overworked, which keeps them from doing their best and can lead to medical errors.

David Matteodo, executive director of the hospital association, tells BeckersHospitalReview.com, “If the initiative passes, it will result in a 38 percent decrease in patient volume. That’s the equivalent of removing roughly 1,000 behavioral health beds from service. This result would be devastating to both patients and the behavioral health system as a whole, as there would be no place for displaced patients to go when they are in acute distress and need immediate behavioral health services.”

The Coalition to Protect Patient Safety opposes the initiative and was assembled by the Massachusetts Health and Hospital Association, which argues that the proposal would negatively affect nurse care delivery.

Under the initiative, emergency departments at maximum nurse-to-patient ratios would have to turn away patients. Patients seeking inpatient psychiatric or substance abuse care in an emergency department would have to wait longer for a bed and mental health providers would face nurse recruitment challenges to meet staffing mandates.

To learn more about the Massachusetts Nurses Association proposed ballet initiative to mandate nurse staffing ratios in Massachusetts hospitals, visit here.

Historic Nursing Strike at Brigham and Women’s Hospital Averted After Nurses Reach Tentative Agreement with Hospital

Historic Nursing Strike at Brigham and Women’s Hospital Averted After Nurses Reach Tentative Agreement with Hospital

After 3,300 nurses at Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) threatened a historic strike, BWH came to a tentative agreement to protect safe patient care, enhance hospital security, fight off attempts to implement non-union benefits for new nurses, and fairly increase nursing wages. The one-day strike was scheduled for June 27th, and would have been the largest in Massachusetts history and the first strike in Boston in 30 years.

The nurses at BWH are proud of their accomplishment in improving security for everyone at the hospital, including employees and patients. It was a huge victory to reach an agreement before the strike began as the nurses stood together ready to hold their historic strike for BWH patients, the BWH community, and the Brigham way of safe patient care.

Efforts to improve patient care and nursing benefits had been ongoing since May, starting with a public picket of over 1,000 nurses and supporters. While attempting to negotiate new hospital policies, the 17-member nurse bargaining committee walked the halls of BWH, talking to almost all 3,300 nurses employed by the hospital, allowing them to voice their concerns and willingness to stand up for patients and their profession with a vote for a one-day strike which was reached on June 13th.

The BWH nurses and the Massachusetts Nurses Association are proud of their success in standing up for their patients. However, these hardworking nurses still know that the best way to ensure safe patient care is by maintaining their quality nurse staffing. Nurses who receive specialized care and education, and spend more time with their patients, result in patients who do better and are less likely to be re-admitted to the hospital.