From better job quality to higher-quality care – Polish nurses’ collective struggle with the public healthcare system
Keywords:nurses, job quality, strikes, nurse/ patient ratio, Poland
This article examines Polish nurses’ job quality in the context of changes in the Polish healthcare system. Job quality is understood as skill development and workers’ participation combined with work quality and employment quality: wage level and type of contract, working time, autonomy, the social work environment and the pace of work. The crucial problems of Polish nurses are connected with lack of control over working time, the forms of contracts, and with increasing work pressure due to low nurse/patient ratios. The specific vulnerabilities of care work are time pressure and work intensification. Its quality relies much on the possibility of teamwork and opportunities to establish a relationship with the patient. The article examines the strategies of collective resistance undertaken by Polish nurses to shape their job quality in relation to its direct consequences for the quality of care.