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Three Nurse Groups Merge to Create Super Union

Sarah Kearns, for HealthLeaders Media, September 2, 2009

The three major nurses' organizations in the country have come together to form the largest registered nurses union and professional association in U.S. history: National Nurses United. Members of the California Nurses Association/National Nurses Organizing Committee, United American Nurses, and Massachusetts Nurses Association make up the 150,000 member national organization.

After meeting last month in Minneapolis, the leaders of the National Nurses United announced that they will be holding a convention December 7–8 in Scottsdale, AZ. From now until December, each organization will have its own national convention to approve the pending union with the purpose of creating a stronger national movement of direct-care RNs.

National Nurse United also plans to put emphasis on the protection and expansion of patient rights and RN professional practice. To accomplish such goals, National Nurse United hopes to promote Senate bill, S. 1031, the National Nursing Shortage Reform and Patient Advocacy Act. The new merge will also focus to strengthen nurses' voice in the national healthcare debate.

Jeanette Parent, RN, nursing education coordinator at Dickinson County Healthcare System, has mixed feelings about this new nurses' union.

"I whole heartedly support nursing organizations that promote professionalism, leadership, and education," says Parent. However, she is concerned about super union's focus.

"The focus becomes more political with the emphasis more on how the organizations that we work in function or are governed versus the hands-on day-to-day patient care," says Parent.

Parent also fears for the nursing profession, hoping that it does not get lost in this merge.

"We are professionals and our voices strong, but there are times I do not agree with the views of one organization. If they become one, who will we get differing opinions from?"


Sarah Kearns is an editor for HCPro in the Quality and Patient Safety Group. Contact Sarah at skearns@hcpro.com.

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