Press Release

Doctors Modesto nurses protest state waiver of safe staffing standards

Nurse holds signs "Safe Staffing Saves Lives"

Registered nurses at Doctors Medical Center in Modesto, Calif., will hold a shift change action on Wednesday, Dec. 23 to object to the recent waivers on safe staffing standards that acute-care hospitals are pursuing, announced California Nurses Association/National Nurses United (CNA/NNU). Nurses will also share their concerns about the reuse of personal protective equipment (PPE) during the Covid-19 pandemic. Nurses advocate for their patients at all levels and want employers to protect nurses, other health care workers, and patients by following infection control practices that include providing optimal PPE.

During the pandemic, California hospitals have been bombarding state health officials for individual, temporary waivers to circumvent California’s landmark state staffing law, which requires minimum levels of registered nurse staffing for various hospital units. On Dec. 11, the state allowed hospitals to seek “expedited waivers,” which would let hospitals drastically increase the workload for intensive care unit nurses and in other units throughout the hospital.

RNs are urging Doctors Medical Center to provide staffing at optimal levels during this pandemic surge so that nurses may provide the highest level of quality patient care. The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) has also urged each hospital to explore all possible avenues to mitigate the staffing crisis prior to seeking a waiver.

What: Press Availability and Shift Change Action
Who: Doctors Medical Center Registered Nurses
When: 6:00 a.m. to 6:45 a.m. Wednesday, December 23 (6:30 a.m. will be last interview)
Where: Doctors Medical Center, Corner of Florida Avenue and W. Orangeburg Avenue, Modesto, Calif.
Contact: Phuong Tran, Labor Representative (408) 896-4170

California’s multi-billion hospital industry fought for years to block the state’s landmark safe staffing law, and then tried to overturn it, even though studies have shown the California law has resulted in up to 14 percent fewer patient deaths than in comparable hospitals, assured nurses more time to spend with patients, and kept nurses at the bedside.

After a 12-year fight, safe nurse-to-patient staffing ratios were voted into law against the objections of the hospital industry in 1999, and went into effect in 2004.