Registered Nurses' Perceptions of Nursing

Peter I. Buerhaus; Karen Donelan; Beth T. Ulrich; Leslie Kirby; Linda Norman; Robert Dittus


Nurs Econ. 2005;23(3):110-118. 

In This Article

Perceptions of Unions and Negative Talk About Nursing

From 2002 to 2004, among all respondents the percentage of RNs who reported that they themselves and/or others in their workplace belonged to unions in creased from 21% to 27% (see Table 5 ). RNs in both surveys were asked about the effect of unionization on both the nursing profession and on the quality of patient care. More RNs perceived mostly or somewhat positive effects of unionization on the nursing profession (46% in 2002 and 44% in 2004) than those who felt union's effects were mostly or somewhat negative (24% in 2002 and 18% in 2004). Also, roughly the same percentages of RNs in both surveys perceived that unionization has had a mostly or somewhat positive effect on the quality of patient care.

Because a recent study of nursing students revealed that many were forming negative perceptions of nursing while still a student (Buerhaus, Donelan, Norman, & Dittus, 2005b), in the 2004 survey we included a question that asked how often RNs had heard or observed nurses talking about the nursing profession in a negative way to others in their workplace. Data in Table 6 show that among all respondents most RNs have not observed nurses talking negatively about nursing to nursing students, physicians, support staff, patients and families, and family members of nurses. Less than half reported sometimes hearing negative talk to any group, only 14% had frequently or often heard nurses talk about nursing negatively to nursing students, and just 12% had frequently or often heard nurses talk about nursing negatively to patients and families.


Comments on Medscape are moderated and should be professional in tone and on topic. You must declare any conflicts of interest related to your comments and responses. Please see our Commenting Guide for further information. We reserve the right to remove posts at our sole discretion.