Lurie Children’s Hospital is one of the most prominent hospitals in Chicago, but there has been a clash in its management.
Nurses at the hospital are at odds with management after receiving what they describe as anti-union messaging.
Leaders at Ann and Robert H. Lurie Children’s Hospital of Chicago recently told nurses there’s no need for a union.
The leaders sent a letter signed by the hospital’s chief nursing officer and assistant chief nursing officer.
According to the letter, nurses don’t need a union to speak for them, and the administration is concerned about a union’s impact on work culture.
Management sent the letter earlier this month.
It follows some of the most hectic years at Lurie Children’s Hospital as the pandemic tested the healthcare system.
Among the challenges the hospital face were:
- Staffing shortage
- Higher-than-normal patient-to-nurse ratios
A Lurie nurse spoke with the Chicago Sun-Times and asked for anonymity.
They had worked at the hospital for over 16 years.
“You feel as if you’re a bad nurse because you are limited in the time you can spend with each of your patients,” said the nurse.
“Lurie nurses strive to give the best care we can give, and that really hits us at our heart when we feel like we can’t give that.”
The hospital’s response
Meanwhile, Julianne Bardele, Lurie Children’s Hospital spokesperson, said the hospital respects the employees’ right to organize.
However, she noted that unionization could have a profound impact on the work environment.
“Like most pediatric healthcare organizations, Lurie Children’s has faced challenges that have made nursing harder,” said Bardele.
“But we remain committed to working directly with our workforce to address concerns and to continue to foster a culture built on mutual respect and shared dedication to providing a healthier future for every child.”
Managers and directors at Lurie Children’s Hospital disregarded the concerns when nurses attempted to discuss staffing issues and work conditions improvement.
“Every month, we will sit down and go through issues,” said another Lurie nurse of six years.
“I brought up some issues that I was concerned about, and my director was… I wouldn’t say yelling, but she got very short with me.”
According to nurses, they felt disheartened and even threatened by senior leadership when they received the letter.
They also said they wished the letter would have included possible compromises.
The veteran Lurie nurse elaborated, saying:
“[Some of the phrases used in the letter] really made us feel little because many of us have spoken and continue to speak and have gone those routes and avenues that they talked about in that letter, and then it’s crickets afterward.”