The recent renaming of the University of Michigan Health System to Michigan Medicine, which took effect Jan. 9, is receiving criticism from nurses of the health center who believe the new title is exclusionary and unrepresentative of the hospital system as a whole.
John Armelagos, president of Michigan Nurses Association and grievance chair of the University’s Professional Nurse Council, spoke on behalf of the associate and voiced his displeasure with the name change after the announcement was made.
“The University of Michigan Health system was much more inclusive to include all employees at the medical center,” Armelagos said. “As we looked at the term ‘medicine,’ it more implied physician dominated practice.”
The University Medical School and Medical Affairs recently came together as one system under the leadership of Marschall Runge. The name change was meant to signify the new combination of medical organizations and reflect a new purpose.
According to Runge, this new mission of the hospital emphasizes patient care, medical education and health care research.
“We remain committed to extraordinary patient care, world-class medical education, being an employer of choice for faculty and staff, and moving groundbreaking research from bench to bedside in order to save and improve lives,” Runge said in an article from Michigan Medicine.
For nurses, however, this new name change appears to be exclusionary and unsupportive of all the work that nurses and other hospital workers perform daily.
“The term ‘medicine’ is almost exclusively associated with physicians, yet so many other professionals contribute to the treatments and breakthroughs here,” Katie Oppenheim, chair of the University’s Professional Nurse Council, said in an article published by the Michigan Nurses Association. “We are concerned that time and resources are being squandered on a marketing ploy that ultimately diminishes the contributions of a diverse and dedicated staff.”
A petition hosted by UMPNC was created in response to the new Michigan Medicine title and currently has more than 1,200 signatures.
Armelagos agreed, worried the financial aspect of the name change could have been better applied to patient care.
“This is already a done deal; they're spending I don’t know how much money on this venture, we don't believe it's money well spent,” Armelagos said.
Despite the contentious decision, nurses at Michigan Medicine are still committed to patient-centered care.
“The nurses and UMPNC are going to continue to advocate for our profession, our patients and will continue to act collaboratively with all other disciplines for the betterment of patient care,” Armelagos said. “But the employers’ poor decision to rebrand the health system does not serve anyone well.”