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MountainView Nurses To Hold Candlelight Vigil Over Concern for Eroding Staffing Standards

NNOC-Nevada Press Release, 10/25/13

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Nurses will hold a candlelight vigil outside MountainView Hospital, Tuesday, Oct. 29 to highlight their concerns with chronic staffing issues and to demand management take action. Monday, in preparation for Tuesday’s vigil, nurses are conducting outreach at local shopping centers, telling community members, “As nurses, we want optimal staffing levels so that when you need one of us, we can be there for you.” 
 
What:  Candlelight Vigil For Patient Care with Nurses, Patients, and Community Members 
When: Tuesday, Oct. 29, 2013, from 6:30 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.
Where: MountainView Hospital, 3100 N. Tenaya Way, Las Vegas, NV - Gather on the sidewalk in front of main parking lot, by the bus stop
 
MountainView RNs are represented by National Nurses Organizing Committee-Nevada, an affiliate of National Nurses United, the largest U.S. organization of nurses. NNOC-Nevada RNs bargained their first contract in 2011. Since then, they have made repeated efforts, using methods agreed upon in the contract, to address their staffing concerns. 
 
Their concerns include staffing levels below nationally recognized standards for safe patient care and being forced to work overtime, which often leads to fatigue and increases medical errors. RNs have filed numerous reports, known as ADOs or Assignment Despite Objection forms, documenting staffing assignments they believe, in their professional, clinical judgment, undermine their ability to provide the quality of care all patients deserve.
 
 “The primary concern of nurses and the reason we voted in the union is to achieve safe staffing to protect our patients,” said Margie Cortez, an ICU nurse at MountainView. “If nurses are assigned too many patients, it makes top-quality care difficult.”
 
MountainView is affiliated with HCA (Hospital Corporation of America), the nation’s largest for-profit hospital system.
 
“We don’t want to alarm the public, but when management turns a deaf ear, we feel as RNs it is our professional responsibility to let them know what’s going on behind the hospital walls,” said Lenore Garlinghouse, an RN in the medical surgical unit, who has worked at MountainView for more than five years. 
 
Elizabeth Bickle, an RN at St. Rose Hospital, will be joining the vigil to show her support. “I’ve worked at both Vegas hospitals and I know the difference sufficient RN staffing makes,” said Bickle. “At St. Rose, we follow a matrix of one RN for every two intensive care unit (ICU) patients and one RN for every five medical-surgical or intermediate care patients.  From my time working at MountainView and from what I understand from my peers there, it’s not uncommon for three ICU patients to be assigned to one nurse and as many as seven or eight in the med-surgical units.

The impact of staffing levels on patient outcomes has been documented in numerous studies. A recent study by Linda Aiken, RN, PhD of the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing, provides compelling evidence that California’s RN-to-patient staffing law that includes a 1:5 maximum in medical surgical units, saves patients’ lives, assures nurses more time to spend with patients, and substantially promotes retention of experienced RNs.

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