How nursing strikes hurt patients

    Temple University Hospital and striking nurses begin talking

    Temple University Hospital and its nursing union have begun negotiations after nearly a week of striking.

    Temporary staff have filled in while nurses pace the picket line, and the union says it’s concerned about the care patients are getting.

    Union members now have some data to back them up.

    A pair of economists surveyed patient outcomes during nursing strikes at hospitals in New York.

    The study spanned twenty years of strikes, and showed nearly a twenty percent increase in mortality and a six percent increase in readmission rates.

    The increases occurred only for patients admitted during the strike, and not before or after.

    But these results don’t mean nurses shouldn’t strike, or unionize.

    The study authors say nursing unions may contribute to overall improvements in patient care — and temporary decreases from strikes may be worth the long term benefits to favorable working conditions.

    Temple Hospital’s CEO says the hospital has twenty four hour clinical and administrative oversight during the strike to make sure the quality of care does not change.

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