Nurses Call On HCA To Address Staffing Shortages At Hospitals
The nurses, representing National Nurses United, were demonstrating at Doctors Hospital of Sarasota, Fawcett Memorial Hospital, Oak Hill Hospital and Osceola Regional Medical Center.
Registers nurses at four HCA Healthcare hospitals in Florida called on the company Monday to hire more nurses amid a nationwide staffing shortage.
The nurses were standing for National Nurses United, which represents 12,000 HCA registered nurses across the country, and more than 175,000 nurses overall.
The organization claims nurses have experienced "consistent problems with HCA administrators violating their own staffing guidelines and cutting support staff, which has led to often dangerously short RN staffing for patients."
The nurses were demonstrating at Doctors Hospital of Sarasota, Fawcett Memorial Hospital in Port Charlotte, Oak Hill Hospital in Brooksville and Osceola Regional Medical Center in Kissimmee.
Outside the Osceola hospital, nurses in scrubs and masks held signs that read “quality care for all” and “understaffing delays care.”
Adriana Cuazo is an intensive care nurse who has worked on a COVID unit at the hospital the past year and a half. She says the unit is so short-staffed, it has had to recruit nurses from the pediatric ICU.
“You know, right now we are handling more acute people. Same on the floors," she says. "Nurses are having six patients a piece, and it’s a really bad situation.”
Elisabeth Mathieu, a nurse in the emergency department, says she’s seen hundreds of her colleagues quit during the pandemic because of burnout.
Since February 2020, Mathieu says, it’s normal for her to work a 12-hour shift without breaks.
“I just got off work," she says. "And it’s been grueling, meaning 12 hours nonstop. And I can tell you. I can certify. Nonstop with no break. Last night there was no break, no lunch, no rest. It’s been bad. Terrible.”
Marissa Lee is a nurse in the labor and delivery unit. She was getting ready to retire when COVID hit. She says she couldn’t leave her colleagues when they were so understaffed, so she stayed.
She says she’s worked on mothers and babies who have tested positive for COVID-19, without fresh personal protection equipment and other items necessary to provide the best care.
“For these couple of hours, you are my daughter and I’m going to treat you like you were my daughter," she says. "... Why not? Tell me why I shouldn’t? And I say, ‘This is because I care.’ I love my job. I love being a nurse. But maybe it’s time for me to say no more.”
All three women are asking for HCA to do whatever it needs to do to help, from offering hiring bonuses to increase staff to making sure there’s enough PPE and other equipment.
There has been growing shortage of nurses in the country, exascerbated by the coronavirus pandemic. According to the U.S Bureau of Labor Statistics, the country will be in need of 1.1 million new nurses by next year.
HCA reported some $13.9 billion in revenue during the first quarter of 2021.
In a statement, HCA Healthcare says while National Nurses United, “continues to attack hospitals across the country, HCA remains focused on the important job of protecting our colleagues, caring for our community, and providing high-quality, compassionate care for patients across our area.
“It is our focus to keep our colleagues safe, and continue to recruit, train and promote our clinical teams, specifically the more than 1,100 nurses we employ at Osceola Regional Medical Center. Our frontline caregivers have shown unwavering commitment throughout the pandemic, and no one takes the health and safety of our caregivers more seriously than we do.”
Copyright 2021 WMFE. To see more, visit WMFE.