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An Exploratory, Descriptive Study of Nurse Leaders’ Personal and Work Experiences During Union Negotiations and Strike Events

Stichler, Jaynelle F., DNSc, RN, NEA-BC(r), FACHE, FAAN; Pelletier, Luc R., MSN, APRN, PMHCNS-BC, FAAN; Thomason, Tanna, PhD, RN-BC, CNS

JONA: The Journal of Nursing Administration: January 2019 - Volume 49 - Issue 1 - p 42–47
doi: 10.1097/NNA.0000000000000706

OBJECTIVE This study explored the experiences, perceptions and emotional state of nurse leaders during union activities to understand the impact on their personal and professional lives.

BACKGROUND Other than anecdotal stories shared during union negotiations and strike preparations, very little evidence exists in nursing and healthcare literature about nursing unions and their impact on nurse leaders and their organizational priorities.

METHODS This study used an exploratory, descriptive design with a convenience and snowball sample of Association of California Nurse Leaders members.

RESULTS The findings indicate nurse leaders experience a range of emotional states in response to union activities with perceptions of increased workload, job stress, and constrained and deliberate communications with their staff.

CONCLUSION This study adds to the body of knowledge about nurse leader experiences and feelings during union activities.

Author Affiliations: Consultant Research & Professional Development (Dr Stichler), Center of Nursing Excellence Sharp HealthCare, San Diego, California, and Coeditor, HERD Journal, Thousand Oaks, California; Senior Specialist, Nursing (Mr Pelletier), Sharp Mesa Vista Hospital, San Diego, California; Adjunct Faculty (Mr Pelletier and Dr Thomason), University of San Diego Hahn School of Nursing and Health Science, California; Core Adjunct Faculty (Mr Pelletier), National University, San Diego, California; Clinical Nurse Specialist (Dr Thomason), Sharp Memorial Hospital, San Diego, California; Adjunct Faculty (Dr Thomason), Point Loma Nazarene University School of Nursing, San Diego, California.

The authors declare no conflict of interest.

Correspondence: Dr Stichler, 7930 Frost Street, Suite 307, San Diego, CA 92123 (

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