By Lawrence Jones,Ph.D.
On January 9, 2023, the New York State Nurses Association (NYSNA), a labor union of more than 42,000 members, decided to strike in New York. About 7000 nurses have been on strike since yesterday. ABC News ( January 9, 2022) reported that more than 7,000 nurses at two hospitals in New York City went on strike early Monday morning, demanding better working conditions and more staffing. The strike began at 6 a.m. after nurses at Montefiore Medical Center in the Bronx and Mount Sinai Hospital in Harlem disagreed with hospital administration during a bargaining session Sunday night, according to the NYSNA.
Jones (September 18, 2022) reported that 15,000 nurses decided to strike in Minnesota, representing the largest nursing strike in the history of the United States. Unfortunately, nurses are increasingly required to take on more patients for bedside care to compensate for labor shortages. In addition, the high turnover has created gaps in patient care. For years, hospitals in the United States have faced understaffing problems, and the pandemic did not help.
Unfortunately, as Jones (September 18, 2022) reported, patients are more likely to die because of preventable reasons when healthcare providers are overworked. When the 15,000 hospital nurses in Minnesota walked off the job after marking two years without a contract, it signaled a tide of more strikes around the country and the western world. The pandemic exacerbated the already strained healthcare system. Short staffing has reached critical levels to provide the best quality care for many patients.
Another concern that should highlight is that more nurses and healthcare workers have experienced increased violence by violence by demanding patients dealing with understaffed facilities. Jones (September 18, 2022) reported that the number of healthcare workers in the United States still needs to recover to its pre-pandemic levels, down over 37,000 workers compared with February 2020.
The upcoming days, weeks, and months will reveal a lot about the priorities of the healthcare systems and administrations. Prolonged strikes will create a vulnerability in the New York system as time goes by. We hope an agreement comes soon and the facilities will have better staffing and protection against violent patients and visitors on worker safety. Rates of workplace violence in healthcare and social assistance settings have almost doubled since 2010.
ABCNews (January 9, 2022). More than 7,000 nurses go on strike in this city demanding better pay, more staffing. More than 7,000 nurses go on strike in this city demanding better pay, more staffing (msn.com)
Isidore, C. Yurkevich, V, and Luhby, T (January 9, 2023).7,000 ‘exhausted and burnt out’ NYC nurses walk out. Nurses strike: 7,000 nurses at two New York City hospitals walk out after contract negotiations fail | CNN Business
Jones. L (September 18, 2022). Are Registered Nurses Across America Under Appreciated and Pushed to Their Limits? Are Registered Nurses Across America Under Appreciated and Pushed to Their Limits? - The Narrative Matters
Kaufman, M. (January 9, 2023).Thousands of nurses strike across New York City in push for higher staffing levels. Thousands of nurses strike across New York City in push for higher staffing levels - POLITICO
NYSA (2022). New York State Nurses Association. New York State Nurses Association - InfluenceWatch
by Lawrence Jones, PhD
An aspect of adequate health care will rely on effective communication. Although communication is often interpreted in a contextual form by healthcare providers, verbal and non-verbal communication can directly affect patient health outcomes. Communication can be the source of any problems, and intercultural communication is a topic that does not get talked much about. Health care providers must understand that there is a need for intercultural communication. Black maternity health, low representation of black people in clinical trials, medication over medication among African Americans, and poor nutrition (particularly for the young), to name a few. Childhood obesity has been one of the significant epidemic pandemics for the last four decades, long before the COVID pandemic. Although we live in a very affluent society, there are still discrepancies in our health care system.
Even within the African American communities defined as middle class or upper-middle-class, there are still inadequacies, particularly in the black indigenous and people of color communities in the United States. Verbal and nonverbal health communication in the media and print is essential to reduce barriers that interfere with doctor-patient health care communications and relationships. For instance, patients have to be transparent about their ailments and the side effects of any prescribed medication. Often there are social biases that stem from systemic racial discrimination. Ledford (2019) reveals a study that shows racial disparities exist in health care by statistical algorithms which look at racial inequality objectively.
Neuliep (2000) talks about different types of communication that influence effective communication between people. He mentions a cultural environment, the physical environment, the relational environment, and the perceptual domain. Perhaps communication for direct health care effectiveness, whether face to face or through virtual social platforms, has to consider this. England (1992) mentions that communication is how people influence and persuade others across geographies. England explains that our differences with others are made up of individuals working collectively for the benefit of everyone, not just their own group; through open and honest intercultural communication, people can learn to work.
Neuliep (2000) also mentions that as you communicate with people from different cultures, you retain more. You will know that although your cultures are different, you have much in common as human beings. We just have different ways of achieving them.
England, J.T. (1992) Building Community for the 21rst Century.
Hall, E. T., & Hall, T. (1959). The silent language (Vol. 948). Anchor books.
Ledford, H. (2019). Millions of black people are affected by racial bias in healthcare algorithms.
Nature, 574(7780), 608-610.
Neuliep, J. W. (2020). Intercultural communication: A contextual approach. Sage Publications