Staff Nurse Assembly 2012: Carol Kirtland

 “The full power of nurses working together”

The trip was special to me because my niece, a fellow nurse, came to Chicago. It was her first step into union activism.

She felt the emotion, the full power of nurses working together, very strongly. The best part was that I thought I would teach her, but she also taught me how the youth think, problem-solve and see “the union.”

Carol Kirtland marching to Daley Plaza

I learned as she did about the high-profit business that hospitals and health care have become. We talked openly about the difficulties in our own institution.I marched proudly to Daley Plaza with most of our Michigan delegation. I think I walked prouder and chanted louder than I have before at such events because I felt hope.

I saw the moving nurse line take on the city of Chicago. There were so many out to stop us, even before we started. Politics, politicians, other rallies and protests. We were focused and ready. (We delivered) a strong message about the financial transaction tax alongside international speakers and local leaders who supported our work.

The police presence was a little intimidating for a small town girl like me. I had a great deal of respect for them as well though. We knew how they felt; they were asked to step up and work harder to get the job done. Nurses do that every day. Just like the police nurses protect others, their patients!

I came back feeling stronger, empowered, ready.

Carol Kirtland, RN, Sparrow Hospital


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