This Nurse’s Week, we want to reflect on what the last year has been like for nurses and health professionals. As frontline healthcare workers fighting the COVID-19 pandemic, we have lived with the kind of trauma and stress that few will ever have to face. We have seen our patients suffer, our coworkers pushed to the breaking point, and have looked around as communities struggled to stay afloat. Our entire country saw us for the heroes that we are: they cannot do it without us.
While we have been doing the work of saving lives, many of the executives in these hospitals and clinics have raked in big bucks. While we have put our health on the line, they have thought about their bottom lines rather than creating the most dynamic care system possible. As many of us head into bargaining, we know that our pay, benefits, and staffing systems could be on the chopping block.
This Nurse’s Week we know that there is only one way to really celebrate the contributions we bring: to keep us well supported, staffed, and compensated. This is how they create a dynamic care system that can adequately support our communities, and it is the only way to ensure that we have the tools necessary to continue battling this pandemic.
For us, this week is an opportunity to recommit to our own struggle for a voice in the workplace. To work together and fight for safe staffing, good contracts, and to put our patients first. That is what 2021 is about, and our unity will be put to the test as management focuses on their bottom line. When we come together as a union we change not only the conditions in our workplaces, but the entire field of healthcare itself. This is what we are fighting for, and since we are the center of this care system we are the ones who can change it for the better.
This Nurse’s Week we realize the power that we have. We are the care system. Let’s remind them.