Press Release

Fawcett Hospital nurses protest HCA contract proposals that endanger patient care

Large group of nurses in blue scrubs outside hospital holding signs "HCA Put Patients Over Profits" and calling for improved working conditions

RNs demand serious proposals to improve staffing 

Nurses at Fawcett Hospital in Port Charlotte, Fla., will hold a rally on Monday, July 8, to protest HCA’s failure to address nurses’ grave concerns over chronic short staffing and patient safety during the current contract negotiations. Fawcett nurses are represented by National Nurses Organizing Committee/National Nurses United (NNOC/NNU). 

“As a nurse we advocate for our patients, both at the bedside and at the bargaining table and that is what we are doing during these contract negotiations,” said Janet Mayl, a registered nurse in the post anesthesia care unit. “When we lack nurses in our units and are forced to care for more patients than is safe, our patients are not getting the care they deserve. No patient should have to wait in pain because their nurse is unable to bring them pain medication in a timely manner. No patient should ever fall because their nurse wasn’t able to help them to the bathroom. Unfortunately, we see these things happen far too often. HCA is raking in billions of dollars by refusing to staff properly and our patients are suffering the consequences.”

Nurses say they’ve seen an increase in falls at Fawcett Hospital recently. They attribute the increase in falls to the lack of staffing, with nurses caring for up to seven patients in medical-surgical units where, in comparison, California’s safe staffing law would mandate no more than five patients per nurse. In addition, nurses say the lack of nursing staff is compounded because ancillary staffing is also gravely insufficient, with one patient care technician providing care for up to 30 patients in one shift.

Who: Nurses at HCA Fawcett Hospital 
What: Protest to demand a strong contract that addresses patient safety concerns
When: Monday, July 8 at 8 a.m. to 9 a.m.
Where: 21298 Olean Blvd, Port Charlotte, Fla.  
Nurses will be gathering at the intersection of Olean Blvd and Aaron Street

The nurses’ most recent contract expired on July 1. In bargaining sessions to date, nurses report that HCA – one of the country’s richest health care companies – has been focused on shortchanging nurses and their patients, whose care conditions are directly impacted by working conditions at the facility. 

“HCA has plenty of resources to ensure that our community is getting high-quality care,” said Valerie Jean, a registered nurse in the float pool. “They spent $60 million on our ICU expansion and just announced a new $10 million renovation. But what is a building without the professionals to care for the patients? It takes experienced nurses, supported by ancillary staff, to ensure that patients get the best outcomes. It is imperative that HCA invest in staff so we can spend our time doing what we are called to do, taking care of our patients.”

HCA, the largest health system in the countryadvertises over 180 hospitals in its network. The company self-reported over $5.2 billion in profits in 2023 but regularly shuts down vital health services at its hospitals. According to Securities and Exchange Commission filings, HCA has reported more than $31.7 billion in profits since 2018 and executive compensation totaling hundreds of millions of dollars.

HCA co-founder and major shareholder Thomas Frist Jr., who has extensive experience serving as an executive at HCA, currently ranks in the top 75 of the Forbes 400 Richest Americans and the top 60 of the Bloomberg Billionaire Index of the world’s 500 richest people, with an estimated net worth of nearly $30 billion.

NNOC/NNU represents 290 nurses at Fawcett Hospital and nearly 10,000 nurses at HCA facilities nationwide. NNOC/NNU nurses are currently negotiating new contracts at 17 HCA hospitals in six states.

National Nurses Organizing Committee is an affiliate of National Nurses United, the largest and fastest-growing union and professional association of registered nurses in the United States with nearly 225,000 members nationwide. NNU affiliates also include California Nurses Association, DC Nurses Association, Michigan Nurses Association, Minnesota Nurses Association, and New York State Nurses Association.