Press Release

SC Hospital RNs Protest Patient Care Cuts Tuesday

SC Hospital RNs Protest Patient Care Cuts Tuesday
Nurses say cuts will put patient safety at risk

Registered nurses will hold a protest at USC University Hospital and USC Norris Cancer Hospital this Tuesday over cuts that put patient safety at risk, the California Nurses Association announced today. At the center of the protest is safe nurse-to-patient staffing, which is critical to both patient safety and retention of experienced RNs and recruitment of new nurses.

Additionally, the nurses are fighting efforts by management to strip patient care and workplace rights protections from their contract in ongoing negotiations.

What: Informational Picket and Rally
Where: USC University Hospital, 1500 San Pablo St., Los Angeles, CA
When: Tuesday, Feb. 15, 11:00 a.m.

"Management tours the hospital daily looking for places to cut back on direct-care," said Veronica Vaca, an RN who works at the medical center. "For nurses, that means less time with our patients and a lower quality of care overall. Since purchasing the hospital two years ago, the university has tried every trick in the book to get us to abandon our responsibility to advocate for our patients. On Tuesday our voices will be heard.”
The cuts that affect patient safety include:

  • USC has cut back on RN staffing and nurses' aides. Nurses’ aides’ patient assignments have nearly tripled in the past few months from 12 patients to 32 per aide.
  • Break relief RNs have been cut in most units leaving nurses unable to take a meal break during their 12-hour shifts. Nurses are fighting for dedicated break relief RNs so they can take needed breaks without jeopardizing patients.
  • There are no longer nurses available to transfer a patient to tests and special procedures. Transfer nurses are vital to assure that patients are properly monitored when they are off the unit.
  • USC is proposing to eliminate the nurses’ patient care committee that monitors unsafe patient care practices and is standard in all CNA-represented hospitals throughout the state.

The University of Southern California has operated the hospitals since purchasing them from Tenet Health for $275 million in 2009. The RNs have been working without a contract since Dec. 31, 2010.  The RNs are part of a larger protest that includes the National Union of Healthcare Workers (NUHW) which represents most of the non-RN USC hospital employees.