“Before the union, nurses were treated like children. Now we’re treated with respect, we have a voice in what goes on in our workplace and in how patients are treated.”
The union saved our hospital. Sharp said we were losing money and tried to sell the hospital to a for-profit chain. We organized community groups and arranged for people from Washington to testify on our behalf at hearings. When a community gets organized, justice can prevail. It turns out Sharp was not losing money, and the Attorney General prevented them from selling the hospital.
I always wanted to be a nurse. To me there’s something sacred about being in a hospital. With my Masters in Counseling Psychology I decided to go into psychiatric nursing. I’ve been in geriatric psych since 1990. I grew to love my older patients and find nursing very rewarding.
I was in management for awhile until I became disillusioned. I had a democratic leadership style. I felt nurses should have a voice in decision-making. But health care started to change in the late eighties. I became a union activist in the 1990’s when cuts became the norm, and only management favorites got raises.
I like helping nurses when they have to go to disciplinary or investigatory meetings. I don’t like to fight but I know how if I have to. I’m happy to be in a union hospital. Now we’re treated with respect, we have a voice in what goes on in our workplace and in how patients are treated.
We are the union. The union is here to protect our rights and empower us to deliver the best care possible for our patients. I feel privileged and honored to serve my union, and the Registered Nurses who serve others.