Hospital cuts force local nurses into protest

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Courtesy National Nurses United

Registered nurses at Research Medical Center and Menorah Medical Center are planning to protest together Wednesday to warn the public about reductions in safe staffing they’re currently facing. Those joining together said that the reductions are putting patients in danger in major hospital areas, including critical care and COVID-19 care.

In a press release sent out by National Nurses United, it says that in a moment when the nation is in an uproar over systemic racism, nurses warn the cuts will have a disproportionate impact on Black and Latinx patients who comprise a large proportion of Research patients, aggravating existing racial disparities in health. A high percentage of the medical staff at Research affected by the cuts are also women and men of color.

In critical care units, several RN’s are required for each patient. Recently, RMC reduced RN’s, tech, and other support personnel, making the hospital short-staffed in a time where it needs all the help it can get. Staff frequently miss meals and rest breaks, increasing fatigue, and the risk of making mistakes.

General medical care units usually have one nurse assigned to no more than four patients at a time. With the pandemic and cuts to staff, RN assignments are nearly doubled, increasing the risk of them not getting to their patients in a timely manner and administering medicine when it needs to.

Malinda Markowitz, a national president of the National Nurses Organizing Committee, said that RMC is cutting staff to the bone to punish nurses who have been outspoken in defense of their patients and safety in the middle of a pandemic. 

“Poor staffing levels, from RNs to patient support staff, puts all of our patients at grave risk, especially our most dangerously ill or injured patients,” Research RN Angela Davis said.

“When we have fewer nurses, it means we are running between patients and don’t have the essential time we need to provide timely, individualized care our patients need and deserve,” Menorah RN Summer Baker said. “This is a dangerous situation.”

“At a time when the nation as a whole is finally beginning to address and acknowledge the many racial disparities in health, it is disgraceful to see HCA and RMC making cuts that will harm our African American and Latinx patients and neighbors, and staff. We will continue to speak out,” Research RN Zoe Schmidt said.

The protest starts at 6 p.m. at Research Medical Center, located on 2316 E Meyer Blvd.

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