Press Release

Bakersfield nurses to hold informational picket for patient safety

Nurses holding signs "Insist on an RN"

RNs at CommonSpirit/Dignity Mercy Downtown and Mercy Southwest to protest short staffing

Registered nurses at CommonSpirit/Dignity Mercy Hospital Downtown and Mercy Hospital Southwest in Bakersfield, Calif. will hold an informational picket on Wednesday, March 29 to protest the administration’s refusal to address RNs’ deep concerns about patient care and safe staffing, announced California Nurses Association/National Nurses United (CNA/NNU).

Nurses notified their employer on March 16 that they would hold an informational picket.

Mercy Downtown and Mercy Southwest RNs have been demanding safe staffing and have filed complaints with the California Department of Public Health for missed meal and rest breaks since January 2023. Hospital administrators have refused to respond to nurses' demands or provide CNA with information on plans to improve the situation. The RNs urge management to invest in nursing staff to help end chronic short staffing.

“During the entire time of the pandemic, we have had to fight management to give us the necessities we need to do our job safely and provide our patients with the best care,” said Mary Lynn Briggs, RN in the ICU at Mercy Downtown. “And we’re still fighting, because most of us can’t even take a break or eat something throughout our entire 12-hour shift.”

  • Who:     Registered nurses at Mercy Hospital Downtown and Mercy Hospital Southwest
  • What:    Informational picket for patient safety and safe staffing
  • When:   Wednesday, March 29 9:00 a.m. to 10:30 a.m. at Mercy Downtown and
  • 11:30 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. at Mercy Southwest,
  • Where:  Mercy Hospital Downtown, 2215 Truxtun Ave., Bakersfield CA. 93301 Address [near the hospital entrance]
  • Mercy Hospital Southwest, 400 Old River Road Bakersfield CA. 93311 [near the hospital entrance]

There is no nursing shortage. As of March 27, 2023, the National Council of State Boards of Nursing reported that there are approximately 4.6 million RNs with active licenses, yet according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics’ latest data (May 2021), there are only 3.3 million people who are employed as RNs, with 1.8 million employed in hospitals. There is only a shortage of nurses willing to risk their nursing licenses and work in unsafe environments for both the patients in their care and themselves.

California Nurses Association represents more than 500 nurses at Mercy Hospital Downtown and Mercy Hospital Southwest in Bakersfield.

California Nurses Association/National Nurses United is the largest and fastest-growing union and professional association of registered nurses in the nation with 100,000 members in more than 200 facilities throughout California and nearly 225,000 RNs nationwide.