Marchelle Vernell-Bettis, a trauma ICU nurse, wears a button during an informational picket for St. Louis University Hospital's nurses union.
Durrie Bouscaren | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated Sunday, Sept. 25, 5 p.m. with vote results Nurses at Saint Louis University Hospital have approved a new three-year contract that addresses union members’ concerns over working conditions.  

Their first agreement with SSM Health, which acquired the hospital in 2015, includes a commitment to keeping enough nurses on duty and a requirement that managers give nurses eight hours to rest between shifts.

369 members of the nurse's union at St. Louis University Hospital participated in the vote throughout the day Monday.
Durrie Bouscaren | St. Louis Public Radio

Updated 10 a.m. June 16

Members of a nurse’s union at Saint Louis University Hospital voted against de-authorizing their union late Monday, a measure that would have effectively created a “right-to-work” policy within the hospital.  

The National Nurses United affiliate has about 650 members at SLU Hospital; only 140 voted in favor of de-authorization during three scheduled voting periods throughout the day. The measure needed 326 votes to pass, which would have made the payment of union dues optional.  

Jan Polizzi
Provided by the family

For 12 years, Jan Polizzi was a nurse in pediatric intensive care units. That was as long as she could take it.

''I still recall the first child that I ever lost,'' she said in a 1988 St. Louis Post-Dispatch story. ''I dressed and bathed him and got him his favorite toys. I learned to love that kid and his family.''

(Courtesy Barnes-Jewish Hospital)

Caring for people experiencing pain and suffering day in and day out can be trying for nurses and other healthcare professionals. Especially when they feel like the work is never done. That feeling is called compassion fatigue and at Barnes-Jewish Hospital in St. Louis, they've developed a program to help.

Some might equate compassion fatigue with burnout, but it is more complex than that, said Pat Potter, director of research and compassion fatigue program developer at Barnes-Jewish.

(via Flickr/rosmary)

Registered nurses at Des Peres Hospital  have successfully negotiated their first contract as members of a union.

The Des Peres nurses joined the National Nurses Organizing Committee in 2012. The deal ratified on Thursday adjusts job security protections, bars mandatory overtime, and establishes a committee of nurses to work with hospital management to improve patient care. The agreement also provides for wage increases and secures the nurses’ employer-paid health coverage.