I am writing in response to Harry Bernstein's grim analysis of the status of professional nurses today ("Underpaid Nurses Could Learn a Lesson From Teachers," Sept. 15). Bernstein does make some correct observations about the nursing profession.
Nurses do highly stressful work with sick patients for long hours and low pay. Nurses do not have the powerful leadership role in this country for health-care legislation. Nurses do need to align their professional identity and experience into a cohesive, powerful voice for health care.
Bernstein completely misses the boat in his remedy to solve the problem. His suggestion that nurses should unionize is frightening. Penalizing patients by leaving them without care during a strike is not the way to improve professional recognition and working conditions.
Nurses' strikes will not solve the problems of high stress, long hours and low pay. It will make skilled nurses even more of a scarcity, leave hospitals with even bigger gaps in staffing and leave patients without care-givers. It will do nothing to move nursing ahead professionally.