Historic nurses’ strike impacts Minnesota State Mankato students

Last Monday, thousands of nurses in Minnesota launched a three-day strike pressing for salary increases and better working conditions.
Published: Sep. 21, 2022 at 5:55 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 21, 2022 at 7:06 PM CDT
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MANKATO, Minn. (KEYC) - Last Monday, thousands of nurses in Minnesota launched a three-day strike pressing for salary increases and better working conditions.

Here in Mankato, nursing students at Minnesota State University, Mankato are feeling the impact of those three days.

Last week, more than 15,000 nurses from the Twin Cities and Duluth areas joined the three-day strike. It impacted more than a dozen hospitals.

“Nurses, you’ve got to know that we’re the tip of the spear,” Minnesota Nurses Association President Mary Turner said. “We are the ones that are showing all the workers all across America what how it is to fight and what it means to stand up for your contracts. But not only that, stand up for the working people of America.”

During those three days, the hospitals brought in thousands of traveling nurses to continue providing care during the strike. Hospitals are currently working to bounce back.

This situation is affecting more than 50 MSU nursing students.

“Just a few days beforehand, we learned that it could be three weeks that we have to figure out alternate experiences for 55 students, seven different places, you know, in three different hospitals in the metro that are affected,” explained Patricia Young, chairperson of the College of Allied Health and Nursing at MSU.

Nursing students at MSU have to complete around 60 clinical hours where they get first-hand experience at the hospitals. Some students missed around eight hours, while others missed up to 30 hours.

“This time around it happened during the school year, so it had a greater impact on us. But I think we’re coming through,” Young added.

The three-day strike is believed to be the largest private sector nurses’ strike in U.S. history.

Minnesota State Mankato faculty members had to adapt to the situation. Instructors came up with new ways for students to make up the hours, bringing the lessons of the strike right into the classroom.

“Good for them to learn about the issue is because they are stakeholders in this negotiation because many of them will likely be working under this contract that’s being negotiated,” Young said. “The contract goes for three years, and they graduate in December.”