While staffing ratios and pay raises have been the bargaining points, the labor dispute has revealed a deeper-seated tension - the status of nurses in a doctor-dominated health care pantheon. A registered nurse and union member at a non-striking hospital sent this question to me early today:

I find it interesting that no MD's have come forward to support the nurses and wonder why this is?... Because I work at a teaching hospital, and have 42 years nursing experience - I've had the opportunity to work side by side with many of the twin cities doctors. I have trained them, and they have taught me - its usually been mutually respectful. Why are physicians silent on this issue? We are fighting for the same thing MD's should be concerned about. So far, the only MD's we've heard from have been the hospital associations "folks".