Preserving Our Nursing Culture

November 2, 2022

Dear Colleagues,

At a time of extraordinary challenges at the bedside and beyond, it is difficult for me to raise one more issue that asks for your attention. But as part of my commitment to nursing professionalism, I want to be direct and transparent in addressing an important issue.

I’ve learned that the Massachusetts Nurses Association has been reaching out to nurses in hopes of unionizing our team.  I fully understand how demanding our work is these days, however, I am certain in the belief that the MNA is not the right path forward for BIDMC nurses.

The collaboration and professional nursing environment that makes us unique is unfortunately not the norm in union organized hospitals.  Indeed, I look at other hospitals and see the conflict that unions can bring, dividing nurses and care teams in a contentious environment that I believe is counter to our culture.

My focus has always been on making sure you have a powerful voice as advocates for your profession and your patients.  We work through problems and get stronger as a team through a nursing culture that values you as individuals and professionals.

A union could change that. I’ve seen it. Too often, the union and its interests become the focus, and that takes the focus away from patient care.

I respect the right of every one of you to support, or to not support, union representation. Please make that decision only after careful assessment. Unions run compelling campaigns. But campaign promises are rarely sure facts.

The union’s job early in a campaign is to convince you to sign a union authorization card. They may tell you the card doesn’t mean anything. They may tell you it’s just to get more information or support staffing ratios. That is not the case.

In fact, the union counts every signature because, with it, that card authorizes the union to speak for you.  And with a signature –  on a paper card or a form sent to your phone – the union can take those cards to the National Labor Relations Board to demand a representation election.

My goal is to share fact-based information, and I encourage you to learn more on your own.

Thank you for joining me in working directly together to make BIDMC a place where we provide care and work together with trust and respect.


Marsha L. Maurer, DNP, RN, FAONL, FAAN
Senior Vice President, Patient Care Services
Cynthia and Robert J. Lepofsky Chief Nursing Officer