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The justification for strike action in healthcare: a systematic critical interpretive synthesis

The justification for strike action in healthcare: a systematic critical interpretive synthesis

Essex, Ryan ORCID: 0000-0003-3497-3137 and Weldon, Sharon Marie ORCID: 0000-0001-5487-5265 (2022) The justification for strike action in healthcare: a systematic critical interpretive synthesis. Nursing Ethics. ISSN 0969-7330 (Print), 1477-0989 (Online) (In Press) (doi:https://doi.org/10.1177/09697330211022411)

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Abstract

Strike action in healthcare has been a common global phenomenon. As such action is designed to be disruptive, it creates substantial ethical tension, the most cited of which relates to patient harm, that is, a strike may not only disrupt an employer, but it could also have serious implications for the delivery of care. This article systematically reviewed the literature on strike action in healthcare with the aim of providing an overview of the major justifications for strike action, identifying relative strengths and shortcomings of this literature and providing direction for future discussions, and theoretical and empirical research. Three major themes emerged related to (1) the relationship between healthcare workers, patients and society; (2) the consequences of strike action; and (3) the conduct of strike action. Those who argue against strike action generally cite the harms of such action, particularly as it relates to patients. Many also argue that healthcare workers, because of their skills and position in society, have a special obligation to their patients and society more generally. Those who see this action as not only permissible but also, in some cases, necessary have advanced several points in response, arguing that healthcare workers do not necessarily have any special obligation to their patients or society, and even if so, this obligation is not absolute. Overwhelmingly, when talking about the potential risks of strike action, authors have focused on patient welfare and the impact that a strike could have. Several directions for future work are identified, including greater explorations into how structural and systemic issues impact strike action, the need for greater consideration about the contextual factors that influence the risks and characteristics of strike action and finally the need to tie this literature to existing empirical evidence.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: strike, strike action, justification, ethics
Subjects: H Social Sciences > H Social Sciences (General)
Faculty / School / Research Centre / Research Group: Faculty of Education, Health & Human Sciences
Faculty of Education, Health & Human Sciences > School of Health Sciences (HEA)
Last Modified: 20 May 2022 11:53
URI: http://gala.gre.ac.uk/id/eprint/32891

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