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  • Writer's picturePaul DeChant

Healthcare Physicians Unionizing

Updated: May 13

A recent article in Becker’s Healthcare reported on a growing trend – physicians joining a union.

Specifically, over 87% of 70 hospitalists at Providence St. Vincent Medical Center in Portland, OR, voted in favor of unionization. (Coincidentally, my mother and sister have both received excellent inpatient care at this hospital.)

Worth noting is the reason why they are doing so...

Why Are Clinicians and Physicians Joining Unions?

According to Shirley Fox, MD, an OB-GYN hospitalist, “We want to redefine our relationship with the hospital system which has increasingly put our concerns aside as it aims to meet corporate priorities. We wish to come face to face as respected health professionals to address important issues . . . “

In other words, these physicians feel that their best opportunity to work respectfully and directly with hospital leadership is through a union.

This raises a number of questions in my mind:

  • Have communications and relationships in the workplace reached a point in which workers feel that their best chance to achieve their goals is by placing an intermediary, such as a union, between themselves and the leadership of their place of work?

  • Would it be possible to address the concerns of the physicians, which Dr. Fox described as “the safe delivery of patient care and . . . the sustainability of our working conditions”, without having a union representing the hospitalists?

  • How different are the individual values and goals of these two groups of professionals – administrators and physicians – who work in the same hospital yet fulfill different roles, while honoring their common values and goals?

Organizational Wellbeing Solutions Can Help

Organizational Wellbeing Solutions was formed to reduce to workplace drivers of burnout, a major contributor of which are broken relationships between administrators and front-line clinicians.

We recognize that both parties face an array of challenges that are complex and seemingly impossible to overcome.

We know from experience that it is possible:

  • to transform the relationships between administrators and physicians,

  • to empower physicians to solve their problems while aligning all team members around enterprise-wide success, and

  • to achieve the organizational resilience that enables a hospital to better weather the onslaught of challenges it faces on a daily basis.

What do you think? Ready to transform your workplace?

Share your thoughts by clicking on the comments link, or reach out to either of us, Paul DeChant, MD, MBA or Bruce Cummings, MBA, LFACHE, if you’d like to talk directly.


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