Registered nurses working at Providence Hospital said Monday that short staffing is putting patient care at risk, and expressed particular concern about the opening of an expanded emergency room this week despite not having enough RNs to staff it. RNs called on management to work with them to improve patient care and safety, and improve hospital conditions. “Nurses are dedicated to providing the best care possible to all of our patients, but short staffing at Providence makes that impossible,” said Kelly Fields, a registered nurse working in the emergency room at Providence. “Providence management isn’t really addressing the developing staffing crisis that puts patients at risk. Since there are not enough nurses to safely staff the current ER, how are we going to provide quality care for more patients in an expanded ER?” Providence management routinely and dangerously understaffs nurses, putting patients at risk, the nurses said, citing "extensive" academic research. Providence nurses have proposed an enforceable staffing grid that allows nurses to provide quality patient care. “Providence just does not have enough nurses to provide safe care at the hospital, and the dangers to patients may get worse if the number of beds increases,” said Dwayne Collyer, a registered nurse working in the Providence emergency room. “While the hospital may be hiring staff, experienced nurses are leaving in nearly equal numbers because of awful conditions. Management should listen to nurses so that we have the staff and resources necessary to provide quality patient care.” Providence RNs, members of National Nurses Organizing Committee of National Nurses United, have been in negotiations since early February in an effort to address staffing and other concerns.
photo: Fidelis Kweyila speaks; photo by Korey Hartwich, NNU