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Strategic Human Resources: Contemporary Nursing


It is necessary to mention that the role of labor unions in the healthcare industry has been rapidly increasing, and they are focused on the interests of nurses. The problem is that many institutions have to deal with resource shortages, and management teams are trying to minimize the expenses. Therefore, it is not an easy task to reach a consensus on a particular subject matter, and it leads to numerous disagreements. The role of nursing supervisors is also intriguing and needs to be analyzed because most of the responsibilities related to labor unions are poorly understood by most individuals. Peer-reviewed articles will be examined to get a better understanding of the topic, and the most important aspects will be discussed.

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Collective Bargaining

Contract negotiating may be described as a process during which employees and the management teams discuss wages, working hours and other factors associated with the job. They are determined to protect their rights and try to determine the conditions that would satisfy both parties. Other issues are also often mentioned, and the discussion of responsibilities is also vital because the demands are always growing, but nurses are not compensated for extra work. Therefore, this is an outstanding tool that should be utilized in the workplace. However, such methods as work stoppages can be quite problematic, and should be prevented because health and well-being of patients are at risk (O’Brien, 2016).

Policies related to collective bargaining should be discussed. First of all, such rights are acknowledged by international conventions. United States Labor Law regulates most of the relationships, and it supported by other legislations. Such documents as the Universal Declaration of Human Rights are crucial, and some of the aspects of these activities are discussed. An employer is not allowed to interfere with the process. For instance, it is illegal to select representatives and try to influence the results of the voting. The information about all the agreements is collected and stored by The Office of Labor-Management Standards to increase the level of transparency and ensure that all the required information is available to the public (Cherry & Jacob, 2016).

Managers and Union Organizing

A nurse supervisor should look at the organization of unions as an opportunity to increase the knowledge and skills of nurses. One of the aspects that should be considered is that it has a positive impact on job satisfaction levels. The role of a nurse manager is to ensure that employees are aware of what measures are appropriate and what type of behavior can be problematic in the workplace. Nurses are more likely to be outspoken, and a supervisor should take advantage of this situation. It is important to participate in discussions that would help to facilitate the development. One of the studies has shown that collaboration between managers and labor unions have enhanced the workplace environment, and the time spent on such activities has reduced significantly (Porter & Kolcaba, 2015). Moreover, it is understandable that unions are not liked by most supervisors because they could affect work, but it is necessary to look for aspects that would increase the level of productivity.

National Labors Relations Board (NLRB)

It is paramount to understand that NLRB has a broad range of responsibilities. Its primary function is to ensure that inappropriate practices related to labor are eliminated, and their rights are protected. It analyzes the actions of employers and determines if their behavior is reasonable. Moreover, the organization participates in collective bargaining, and its role is to provide management and unions with all the necessary information regarding the representation of workers (Flynn, Mathis, Jackson, & Valentine, 2015). NLRB also certifies the votes and assesses their validity. A healthcare facility has to comply with a particular ruling, or it may deal with other penalties.

The Influence of Unions

It is important to understand that unions are quite influential most of the time. For instance, suggested safe staffing ratios are of utmost importance because work overload may hurt the quality of services, and it is not acceptable in healthcare (Griffiths, 2014). The limitations on working hours may also be viewed as reasonable. Moreover, it is a responsibility of a union to ensure that a professional is provided with compensations in case of an injury or other incidents related to work. Wage premium is one of the biggest benefits of a union membership, and it is also affected by the experience (Christopher, Robert, Richard, & Mary, 2015). McGregory and Peoples (2013) suggest that they are incredibly helpful for foreign workers, and may address pay disparity. It is paramount to mention that most of the activities would also help to increase the number of positive outcomes because nurses may devote more attention to every patient. It is suggested that unions are capable of challenging some of the decisions made by employers, and nurses can be awarded compensations if they are unfairly treated.

Labor-Management Relationship

Nurse supervisors should be aware of approaches that may be utilized to avoid complications associated with unions. The problem that they have to deal with most of the time is the lack of cooperation. For instance, open communication may be inefficient when some of the initiatives take place. Relationships are worsened when one has to assume duties of other nurses during strikes or other activities, but it is still important to act rationally (Cheery & Jacob, 2016). It is paramount to understand that high-trust relationships are crucial in such situations, and it would be reasonable to resolve any conflicts because they can be incredibly problematic in the long-term. The nurse manager should consider the opinions and ideas suggested by both sides, and must analyze them to determine what measures should be taken. Such supervisors work close to healthcare professionals. Therefore, it is an outstanding opportunity to get a better understanding of their stance on a particular topic.

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In conclusion, it is possible to state that the understanding of aspects of human resource management is critical. It is quite evident that labor unions are vital because they help to address some of the biggest problems that employees have to deal with in the workplace. Negative aspects of such activities also should be noted, and the situation becomes especially problematic when operations are affected. The relationships between the management and labor unions may be incredibly complicated, and it is a responsibility of a nurse supervisor to establish an environment that would support collaboration. Communications patterns are quite important in such cases, and the role of ethics also should not be disregarded. Overall, the analysis of legal aspects and management techniques is crucial, and would help to resolve most of the conflicts.


Cherry, B., & Jacob, S. R. (2016). Contemporary nursing: Issues, trends, & management (7th ed.). St. Louis, MO: Elsevier Health Sciences.

Christopher, C., Robert, N., Richard, C., & Mary, W. (2015). The Bargaining Power of Health Care Unions and Union Wage Premiums for Registered Nurses. Journal of Labor Research, 36(4), 442-461.

Flynn, W. J., Mathis, R. L., Jackson, J. H., & Valentine, S. R. (2015). Healthcare human resource management (3rd ed.). Boston, MA: Cengage Learning.

Griffiths, P. (2014). Nurse patient ratios, skill mix and work futures. International Journal of Nursing Studies, 51(3), 353-354.

McGregory, R., & Peoples, J. (2013). Compensation of foreign and domestic nurses in the US. Journal of Labor Research, 34(2), 203-223.

O’Brien, R. (2016). Ethical values and moral courage: Nurses in collective bargaining activities. Health Progress, 97(1), 68-71.

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Porter, C. A., & Kolcaba, K. (2015). The effect of a nursing labor management partnership on nurse turnover and satisfaction. The Journal of Nursing Administration, 40(5), 205-210.

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