Fawcett nurses to protest chronic short staffing and to demand safe patient care
Registered nurses at HCA Florida Fawcett Hospital in Port Charlotte, Fla., will hold an outdoor action on Monday, July 25, to protest hospital management’s refusal to address chronic short staffing at the facility and the impact on patient care, announced National Nurses Organizing Committee/National Nurses United (NNOC/NNU) today.
On July 13, Fawcett nurses delivered a letter to Fawcett CEO Michael Ehrat about the dire need to address unsafe staffing. Ehrat refused to meet with the RNs, slamming the door in their faces.
By deliberately refusing to staff the hospital units with enough nurses to safely care for patients, HCA is driving nurses away from direct patient care. Since January 2022, close to 100 nurses have left Fawcett and about 30 have left their bedside nursing positions due to the unsafe working conditions. “We are facing unsafe staffing every day, which is putting patients at risk,” said Colette Salomon-Belfond, RN in the medical-surgical unit. “We want to give our patients the best care possible, but we can’t do that when we are forced to care for too many patients. This is unacceptable, and this is why we are speaking out.”
Fawcett nurses demand that HCA invest in hiring and retaining staff nurses. Nurses say safe staffing and support from management is critical to retaining nurses. They also want management to call in additional staff when the nurse-to-patient ratio is unsafe. For example, nurses in the medical-surgical unit are now regularly assigned as many as seven to eight patients per nurse, jeopardizing patient safety.
- Who: Registered nurses at Fawcett Hospital
- What: Protest to hold HCA accountable for safe patient care
- When: Monday, July 25, 7:30 a.m. to 8:30 a.m.
- Where: Fawcett Hospital, 21298 Olean Blvd, Port Charlotte, FL 33952 (on the sidewalk outside the main entrance)
“Over the past year, we have submitted documentation to management more than 115 times, citing unsafe staffing,” said Valerie Jean, RN in the float pool for the Medical-Surgical/Progressive Care Unit. “We fill out documentation when our patient assignment puts our patients’ health at risk and our own health and safety at risk. We cannot continue to work in these unsafe conditions. It’s not safe for our patients, and it’s not safe for us.”
About 30 percent of recent new hires at Fawcett have left within their first year. This high turnover is the result of management’s lack of support, orientation, and training for newly hired RNs. Newly graduated nurses need mentorship from experienced RNs. However, Fawcett’s experienced nurses have little time to train new nurses due to their patient load and the severe understaffing.
Fawcett is owned by HCA, the largest hospital system in the United States. Last year, HCA posted a profit of $6.9 billion.
National Nurses Organizing Committee represents more than 280 nurses at Florida Fawcett Hospital.
NNOC is an affiliate of National Nurses United, the largest and fastest-growing union and professional association of registered nurses in the United States with more than 175,000 members nationwide.
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 more than 175,000 members nationwide.