Nurses Strike: ‘It’s Not Safe for Patients’

July 7, 2020 by Christen Aldrich

Filed under Communication, For Employers, For the Workforce, Regulations

Last modified July 8, 2020

Hundreds of registered nurses marched outside the 478-bed Riverside Community Hospital in California for eight hours Monday during the fourth day of a 10-day strike. In an article by MedPage Today, they accuse their administrators of ordering staff reductions that have resulted in dangerously high nurse-to-patient ratios. This puts themselves and their patients at risk. The nurses say they’re sometimes forced to work their 12-hour shifts without taking a break to eat, get a drink of water, or even use the bathroom.

Kerry Cavazos, RN, the labor union’s chapter president and a labor and delivery unit nurse, said Riverside’s owners, the Hospital Corporation of America, told many members of the housekeeping staff not to come to work. That meant the nurses have to do housekeeping work.Women about to give birth are brought into rooms that are still dirty from the last delivery, she said. “There was no housekeeper to clean it and there is still blood on the floor, so we have to clean it up. The woman needs to get in the bed because she’s having a baby.”

She and her fellow nurses are told to strip the beds, wipe the poles and the IV, and stock the rooms. “Those were never nurses’ tasks. And it’s not beyond us to do that but we have other things (to take care of patients) that we need to do,” Cavazos said.

Cavazos expressed more concern. “I honestly do not believe this is safe for any patient for a nurse to not have any nutrition or any fluids for 12 hours. But we do it because that’s who we are,” she said.

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