Taking a Seat at the Table: Why Nurse Unions are Necessary Today

Published by DAILY NURSE on 5/11/23 (Source)

Julia Barcott, the chair of economic and general welfare at the Washington State Nursing Association (WSNA), has seen this happen in her workplace. Barcott is an ICU nurse at the Astria Toppenish Hospital in Toppinish, Washington, an area with a large population of Hispanic, Filipino, and Indigenous tribes. She adds how she mentored four Hispanic and Indigenous bilingual nurses who experienced understaffing during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“They went to college together, got their nursing degrees, and all wanted to serve their communities. They stuck it through the pandemic,” says Barcott. “Then, when things didn’t get better after the pandemic slowed, they realized that the hospital wouldn’t address the staffing issues. They were continuing to go on as if the pandemic was still here.”

Barcott explained that these nurses eventually left their jobs, despite receiving sign-on bonuses.

“You want to have racial equity and have people that look like yourself if you’re a patient that understands your customs and beliefs,” says Barcott. “These four young women were like that. They were a huge asset.”