Several recent legal developments have been analyzed which call into question the appropriateness of state nursing associations as collective bargaining agents for working nurses. A federal case ruled that because some state nursing associations are dominated by supervisors, they are inappropriate collective bargaining agents for nonsupervisory nurses. A review of the pertinent history and literature reveals that collective bargaining has tended to be a secondary concern of nursing leaders who have more resolutely pursued what they regard as a professional route to elevating the status of nurses. Therefore, the highly stratified nature of nursing practice and the highly disparate roads to improving the status of nursing held by various sectors within nursing have resulted in conflicts of interests which call into serious question whether umbrella groups like nursing associations can represent working nurses.

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