FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Emerging from two-year pandemic, nurses mark the week with resolve to keep fighting for nurses at the bedside and quality patient care
(St. Paul) – May 6, 2022 – Today, the 22,000 nurses of the Minnesota Nurses Association kicked off Nurses Week 2022, announcing they are “Ready Together” to put patient care before corporate profits in our hospitals. Over the last two years, nurses showed up to take care of Minnesotans on the frontlines of the COVID-19 pandemic. Now, nurses are ready to build power together to improve hospital conditions to retain nurses and prioritize patient care at the bedside.
“Nursing has always been a demanding profession, never more so than during the last two years of the COVID-19 pandemic,” said Mary C. Turner, RN, President of the Minnesota Nurses Association. “Nurses do not just work hard for patients at the bedside, but at the bargaining table and at the State Capitol, where we fight to put quality patient care before corporate profits in our healthcare system. This Nurses Week, thank a nurse by pledging to stand, ‘Ready Together,’ with nurses in this fight.”
Throughout the week, nurses will don pins to encourage patients and all Minnesotans to stand together with nurses to prioritize safe, high-quality and affordable healthcare in our hospitals. Nurses will wear the pins throughout Nurses Week, from May 6 through May 12, 2022, sparking conversations with patients and other Minnesotans about the issues facing nurses and patients in our hospitals and how the two can stand together to improve our healthcare system in Minnesota.
Nurses are also asking the public to show they are “Ready Together” by signing a pledge to stand with nurses to put patient care before corporate profits in healthcare. Minnesotans who complete the pledge can receive updates on negotiations for new nurse contracts, as 15,000 nurses in the Twin Cities and Twin Ports are currently bargaining for new contracts. Along with fair compensation for sacrifices made during the pandemic and for the rising cost of living, nurses are seeking solutions to the chronic understaffing of nurses and its impact on patient care; to better prepare for the next pandemic, for the sake of workers and patients; and to prioritize diversity and inclusion within Minnesota healthcare systems.
Throughout the week, nurses will also continue to rally support for the Keeping Nurses at the Bedside Act, passed last week in the Minnesota House, which would address chronic understaffing in our hospitals to retain nurses and prioritize patient care, not corporate profits in healthcare. Nurses will encourage Senators on the Health and Human Services conference committee to join their colleagues in the House to support the measure. Two of the five Senators on that committee have expressed support for provisions of the bill. Sen. Michelle Benson (R- Ham Lake) introduced a bill to fund mental health resources for healthcare workers as called for by Minnesota nurses, and Sen. Jim Abeler (R – Anoka) signed on as a supporter of the Keeping Nurses at the Bedside Act. The bill also has the support of the Senate Minority Caucus and of Governor Tim Walz.
National Nurses Week has been observed since the 1990s from May 6, marked decades earlier as a day of recognition for nurses, until May 12, the birthdate of Florence Nightingale.