Not My Michigan

Not My Michigan

A Michigan student-athlete turned Registered Nurse on the Michigan Medicine contract negotiations in 2018.

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It's May 1st, 2016. I'm bright-eyed, eager, and graduating from the University of Michigan as a Nursing Student and Student-Athlete.

I am ready to take on the world the way that Michigan taught me how: fearlessly, compassionately, and wholeheartedly. I bleed blue. I know what it means to be a Wolverine and to represent the Michigan Difference in everything I do. I wear the block M on my School of Nursing scrubs and my Michigan Dance Team uniform well aware that it represents goodness, tradition, and excellence. I am determined. I am inspired. I am ready.

It's Monday, September 17th, 2018. What does Michigan mean to me now? I used to be so sure. Now, I simply don't know. So, what's the deal? How did my view on an institution become so indifferent in recent months?

I chose U of M to start my nursing career because it had the widely known reputation of putting its patients first, respecting its nurses, and providing the best care to patients in the state (5th in the country, to be exact). In my first year, as I was clumsily learning how to push patient stretchers, titrate intravenous vasopressors, and to communicate with the medical team, I proudly participated in our hospital's effort to achieve Magnet status.

When Nursing earned Magnet Status, an award given by the American Nurses' Credentialing Center and indicator of the strength and quality of Nursing at Michigan, I felt that same pride as I did in May of 2016.

I knew in my heart that I picked the best institution to develop my nursing practice and to give high quality, patient-centered care to anyone who walked, rolled, or was carried through the doors of Adult Emergency Services. The hospital's goals were aligned with mine and those around me. We put patients first, and more specifically, we put patients over profits.

I am lucky enough to work at a hospital that has been unionized for more than four decades. When I started working, the concept of a union was foreign to me. For those who may need a refresher, unions promote and protect the interests of all employees. They collectively bargain with employers to secure written agreements for employees regarding pay, benefits, and working conditions.

Collective bargaining agreements are legally enforceable contracts holding employers and employees to mutually agreed-to workplace rules and process to provide a fair and just workplace. The University of Michigan Professional Nurse Council, an affiliate of the Michigan Nurses Association, has been working diligently since January to bargain with the University of Michigan to protect me, the 5,700 nurses who work within the institution, and our patients. I'd like to think they're the good guys in this story.

Here's where things get sticky: David Spahlinger, president of our prestigious U of M health system, has publicly stated that Michigan is "committed to maintaining current staffing levels," but will not make this commitment in writing. Common sense is reflected in the most high-quality research on the topic of nurse-patient ratios and its direct effect on patient care.

Appropriate staffing allows me and my coworkers to give the quality of care that I know we have the ability to provide. High staffing levels are associated with reduced mortality, falls, medication errors, ulcers, restraint use and infections. Unregulated staffing is a significant barrier to nurses' abilities to provide optimal patient care and prevents Nursing at Michigan from providing what we know to be the Michigan Difference in healthcare.

UMPNC held voting on a work stoppage for unfair labor practices last week. Out of 4,000 votes cast by nurses at the U, 94% authorized a work stoppage in protest of the University's unfair labor practices. No date is set, but our elected nurse bargaining team now has the authority to call for action.

Thank you to Katie Oppenheim, who chairs our union, for reiterating in an article to the Detroit Free Press that a work stoppage is not our goal. "Our goal is a fair agreement which respects nurses and guarantees safe staffing. The university can remedy this situation immediately by stopping their unfair labor practices and bargaining in good faith."

I am proud to be a nurse and I hope that our efforts to keep Michigan a patients-over-profits institution are recognized at the community, state, and national level. Anne McGinity, David Spahlinger, and those who have the power to make Michigan the magical place I once thought it was, make like Nike and just do it. For the love of patients, nurses, and our great University. I know we are better than this.

(Stay Tuned, folks).

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I Asked People On Tinder The 36 Questions That Are Supposed To Make You Fall In Love

According to a New York Times article, there are 36 questions lead to love. I brought them to Tinder to test that theory.

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I recently read a New York Times article about 36 questions that, supposedly, help people fall in love. According to the article, when two people answer these 36 questions together, their chances of intimacy accelerates because of the vulnerability created from these personal questions. The questions talk about family, morals, habits, negative things, positive things, and other touchy subjects that people usually do not address with one another, especially not people they have just met. So I decided to take these questions to Tinder to see if 36 questions really can lead to love.

Interviewee Profiles

Before getting started, I had to ask for some background information, just to get a better perspective of their love-lives and past experiences with love. Here are quick profiles I came up with to condense the answers (names changed for privacy):

Anna: Has been in love once before. It took her about three months and lasted a year. She knew she was in love because she "couldn't spend a day without thinking about them." [She] knew it was starting up but then one day it hit like oh [she's] been in love for a while now." It fizzled out as the relationship ended and because they spent time apart.

Patrick: Thought he was in love once but wasn't really. He knew that because he "cared more about the way she made [him] feel than [he] cared about her. And that's not love." To him, love is "really caring about the other person. It's a warm feeling in your soul when you think of them. Like a calm in the storm. Like a deep permeating wave of kindness that you feel."

Dylan: Has been in love before. It lasted three months, it was "...like falling asleep. Gradually and then all at once." He still loves her but in a friend kind of way. He thinks this experiment is meant for "people to see if they're meant for each other and maybe be more inclined to go out, but maybe not immediate head over heels in love."

Most Interesting Answers

36 questions yielded a lot of interesting and telling answers, so here are a few of them:

"Do you have a secret hunch as to how you will die?"

Anna: "I have a feeling cancer cause that takes everyone out...and I'm not special y'know"

Patrick: "Lol damn that's too real. Probably either getting depressed and killing myself when I'm 30 or 40 or a mugging went wrong."

Dylan: "I don't know why exactly but it's always been like a 'hero's death' like putting someone else's life over my own. Saving a baby from a burning building."

"For what in your life do you feel most grateful?"

Anna: "I feel most grateful for my mom 'cause she's like my best friend."

Patrick: "I guess my mind. Just being myself."

Dylan: "My family and my good health. I may not be rich but I'm grateful for all of what I've been given."

"Is there something that you've dreamed of doing for a long time? Why haven't you done it?"

Anna: "I wanna move to New York. I haven't yet 'cause I'm waiting to transfer out of my college to go to one in NYC."

Patrick: "A good night's sleep lol mostly 'cause I haven't had time."

Dylan: "Learning French or taking a dance class. I just haven't found a good opportunity yet!"

"How close and warm is your family?"

Anna: "Ooo my family is meeeaaann. But it's like playful mean where like we make fun of each other a lot but like sometimes it's like... whoa that's mean. My childhood wasn't the happiest but maybe 'cause I was unaware I was very content with it. I'm very optimistic so I think I just focused on the positive parts."

Patrick: "I don't feel awfully close with my family but I love them and would do anything for them. I feel like I had a normal childhood, y'know the ones that give you enough trauma to work on through your teen years and maybe become a better person from but not so much that you turn into a sociopath/ ax murderer, you know? 😂"

Dylan: "Lol not close at all. It sucked real bad."

So, Did It Work?

The verdict's out, people. I tested the 36 questions with three strangers, and here's what they replied with when I asked if it worked and if they were actually in love with me after answering these questions:

Anna: "Lol, I'm infatuated. But honestly, it's smart to do that instead of the average like 'Oh, hi, how are you.' It helps you get a sense of that person and see if you wanna continue talking. I liked it. It was fun."

Patrick: "I feel like I definitely got to know you better through all of this. Who knows if it's love, but I definitely feel like I know you better and that there's more connection after answering those questions than if we just started talking randomly about whatever."

Dylan: "I liked it! They were really insightful questions and it gave me a chance to get to know you better. You really kept it interesting. I don't know if it's love, but I feel like I know more about you as a person after this and wanna keep talking."

* * *

So love may not have been found, but I definitely made some new friends and got to know these people better, so if you ever get tired of the same old 20 Questions game, maybe give these questions a shot.

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