Nurses deserve to be compensated fairly

I have been a registered nurse for the past 14 years, working in the critical care setting since my career began. I require multiple accreditations to perform my job on a daily basis that are ever evolving as the face of medical care is ever changing. The hours are long, the emotional toll is exhausting. The patients need us to provide not only the most efficient care possible, but perfect care. There cannot be mistakes in our field because mistakes can mean lives. Then you have the patients’ families, who are in dire need of not just medical information, but extensive emotional support as well. It is customer service at its most personal, most sensitive level. We are dealing with life and death every single day.

Now, this is the field I have chosen, and I wouldn’t change it for anything in the world. What I find fascinating is that when there is a threat of a teachers strike, there is a sudden panic of “Oh my gosh! What will happen to the children?” It’s covered on every news channel, even when it’s in another state. However, when there is a threat of a nurses strike, no one says, “Oh my gosh, those poor helpless people who need skilled, caring, registered nurses to care for them. People on life support!” The conception appears to be: How can those nurses just walk out?

At Kenmore Mercy Hospital, a nurses strike is looming, and the better question is how can the hospital administrators allow their highly decorated nurses, responsible for all the patient care-driven awards that have widely adorned the hospital, feel this is their only alternative to keep only what we have? Trust me, there are no perk trips to Aruba or bonus checks involved in our job. It’s a blue-collar job that not just “anyone” can do. So please stop acting like “anyone” can come in and do it.

Michelle Hazard, C.C.R.N.

East Amherst