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Las Vegas nurses take to the streets to fight for patient safety

Fox 5 News, 7/21/11

July 21, 2011
Fox 5 News Las Vegas

Registered nurses from MountainView Hospital took to the streets Thursday morning to voice their concerns about patient safety.

National Nurses United say they are frustrated with the lack of progress in collective bargaining and MountainView Hospital's refusal to guarantee safestaffing and patient care standards.

The nurses, who have been in negotiations with the hospital for over a year, say they are assigned too many patients to care for safely, especially when patients are in the critical care unit.

"Patients are the number-one priority for our practice, and patient safety is the number-one priority for resolving our contract," said Elizabeth Bickle, a registered nurse in the progressive care unit at MountainView.

According to the Agency for Healthcare, Research and Quality, no more than two patients should be assigned to each registered nurse. 

The nurses at MountainView have reported being assigned three or more critically ill patients. Nurses working in other units say they have been assigned up to eight patients in the past.

This patient load is twice the limit deemed safe to prevent "failure to rescue" according to a research study from the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing.

The high amount of patients have also caused nurses to work without breaks for meals or rest.

The MountainView nurses were joined by nurses from the St. Rose Dominican Hospital in Las Vegas who successfully negotiated safe nurse-to-patient ratios in their bargaining agreement in 2009

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