Kaiser LAMC nurses to hold one-day strike for patient safety
Cite concerns over lack of supplies and lack of staff
Nurses at Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles Medical Center in Los Angeles (LAMC) have issued a 10-day notice ahead of a planned strike on June 23, 2022. The nurses say they are compelled to strike in response to Kaiser’s refusal to address their deep concerns about patient care and safe staffing, announced California Nurses Association/National Nurses United (CNA/NNU).
“In the last four months, we have seen 50 nurses leave our hospital due to the poor working conditions that put patient care in jeopardy,” said Tinny Abogado, a registered nurse with 26 years experience, 20 of those years at LAMC. “I have spent two decades at this hospital caring for this community. It pains me to see experienced nurses leave our hospital. When they walk out the door they take knowledge and expertise that is critical in caring for our patients. Nurses are leaving because they work 12-hour shifts without a break. They reach for supplies and they are just not there. Kaiser made $8.1 billion in profits last year, they have enough money to make sure we have syringes when we need them, ancillary staff to help care for our patients, and relief nurses to provide RNs with meal breaks.”
- What: LAMC RNs to hold a one-day strike
- When: June 23, 2022, 7 a.m. to June 24, 2022, 6:59 a.m., picketing from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., rally at noon
- Where: Kaiser Permanente Los Angeles Medical Center, 4867 Sunset Blvd, Los Angeles, Calif.
The hospital’s records indicate a chronic problem with nurses unable to take their meal breaks during a 12.5 hour shift because there is no nurse to relieve them. Numerous studies have shown a link between health care worker fatigue and an increase in adverse events and medical errors. Patient care is compromised when nurses are expected to care for too many very sick patients without help from ancillary staff, and to work without breaks.
“In the ICU, we are caring for patients who are extremely sick and there is a great deal of problem solving as we monitor their progress or decline continually,” said Bryan Telfort, an ICU RN. “This work is physically, mentally, and emotionally taxing because we use our bodies and minds entirely in the course of caring for our patients. We need and deserve to take an uninterrupted meal break that will allow us to relax and regroup so we are energized and refreshed to provide the best care.”
Nurses note that they are seeing a growing problem with a lack of supplies. Some units do not have enough syringes, kits that are used when starting an IV, and other supplies. When nurses have to go and get these essential supplies, they are taken away from their patients, leaving a void in their care. In addition, it is not uncommon to reach for a piece of equipment such as an IV pump and find it is broken. Making things even more difficult is that Kaiser has failed to hire enough ancillary staff who could assist nurses with patient care issues.
“Kaiser has not provided us with enough ancillary staff, so it is not uncommon for us to be doing the job of a nurse and the job of a certified nursing assistant or a food service worker or a housekeeper,” said Violet Galinato, RN. “Taking valuable time away from providing care is not fair to our patients.”
LAMC nurses have been in negotiations since September 2021 for a new contract with little to no movement on key issues. The RNs are calling on Kaiser to invest in nursing staff, ensure that every unit on every shift has appropriate supplies, and invest in ancillary staff.
“We became nurses because we want to be there for our patients when they need us,” said Abogado. “But some days it feels so hard to continue because Kaiser is making it so hard for us to care for our patients in the way we would want to care for our family members. We suffer great moral injury and distress when we are forced to care for a patient without having the time to educate them or support them emotionally because we are running around looking for supplies or are doing too many jobs. Our patients deserve the best and we are fighting so they can get what they deserve.”
California Nurses Association represents 1,000 nurses at LAMC.
The 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 more than 175,000 RNs nationwide.