Last weekend, dozens of UW Health nurses took to Facebook to share their stories using the hashtag #whyuwnursesneedaunion after denied requests to speak directly at the UW Hospitals and Clinics Authority board meeting. Katherine Van Dyke talked to two UW Health nurses with over 20 years of experience about their thoughts. 

Anchor: Last weekend, dozens of UW Health nurses took to Facebook to share their stories using the hashtag #whyuwnursesneedaunion after denied requests to speak directly at the UW Hospitals and Clinics Authority board meeting. The Badger Report’s Kate Van Dyke talked to two UW Health nurses with over 20 years experience about their thoughts. 

Katherine Van Dyke: Since the removal of the union at UW Health in 2014, the nurses have seen significant staffing shortages and little say in their staff-to-patient ratios, only made worse by the pandemic.  

Nicole Wayman: “For me, that’s when it became very upsetting. Because I like to be at the bedside. I like to devote my time each shift to each family. I feel like I’m compromising myself and the integrity of my nursing.

Katherine Van Dyke: UW Health Communications declined the Badger Reporter’s request for an interview, but sent a statement saying that the Board agrees that there is opportunity for improvement in two-way communication, including Shared Governance for nurses. However, some nurses believe that shared governance will not be enough to stabilize their current situation. 

Jack Trudell: “Shared governance is such that they will say, ‘here’s this horrible thing for you, or here’s this thing that we’ve decided. You tell us how you want us to do it.’ I’m all for shared governance but it can’t be on such unequal terms. And I think having a union and a contract and all the rest of it really would put us on terms where we can have a real collaborative conversation.”

Katherine Van Dyke: The board of directors say they welcome written submissions to help inform their actions and decisions. Some nurses want a more direct input. 

Jack Trudell: “Everyone here could be a patient of one of us, including our own families. Including the board’s family.”

Nicole Wayman: “I don’t think they realize how hard it is to be a nurse at UW. I’d like them to come and find out.”

Katherine Van Dyke: For the Badger Report, I’m Katherine Van Dyke.

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