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Abstract

Content analysis was used to study 1980 U.S. newspaper articles about nurse strikes. Multivariate analysis revealed that the 893 nurse strike articles presented a more negative image of the nurse than newspaper articles on other nursing subjects. There were more negative headlines, criticism of nurses, and negative relationships. Desire for higher salaries was the major strike issue reported by newspapers, conveying that nurses are interested in personal economic gain as opposed to quality patient care. Nurse strike articles were more likely to appear in larger circulaton newspapers and be about strikes in hospitals rather than other health care settings. The most extensive and favorable press coverage occurred in states where organized labor is concentrated. Policy implications of these findings include the difficulty of using the nurse strike as a labor tactic in states with a strong antiunion press.