Exploring nurse managers' perceptions of labour unions at a selected hospital in KwaZulu-Natal.
INTRODUCTION: The relationship between the workers union and nurses managers is associated with a lot of stress. The workers experience pressure to go on strike. Hostility indirectly exposed patient to poor quality care. Nieman (2003:4) argues that the outcomes of the strikes may have positive effects on patient care for example, increases in the number of nurses employed, improved security systems in hospitals and a given voice in decision making. The positive benefit for the workers will be salary increase (Schraeder & Friedman 2002:22). PURPOSE: The purpose of this study was to explore Nurse Managers’ perceptions of labour unions in a selected hospital in KwaZulu-Natal. METHODOLOGY: A qualitative, descriptive design was used to determine, explore and describe the nurse managers’ Perceptions and Attitudes towards labour unions. Data were collected through interviews, then transcribed verbatim and analysed to discover the themes. FINDINGS: The data analysis revealed that Nurse Managers in this setting have positive and negative perceptions toward labour unions. Their positive perceptions included advocacy for patients’ rights and negotiation nurse salary increases by labour unions. On the other hand, Nurse Managers’ are fearful of union members, feel threatened, and have a poor relationship with union members. This leads to a pressure to go on strike, which exposes patients to the risk of death, poor quality care and cross infection. CONCLUSIONS AND RECOMMENDATIONS: The findings of this study have indicated that Nurse Managers have difficulty managing a relationship with labour unions, and that there is a need for them to acquire the skills to do this effectively.