Press Release

Miami VA nurses demand management resolve patient safety issues and critical staffing crisis

Staff UP for safe care. End crisis care now.

Registered nurses at Miami's Bruce W. Carter VA Medical will hold an action on Thursday, Jan. 27, to demand that management invests in nurse staffing to provide optimal veteran care following years of short staffing, National Nurses Organizing Committee/National Nurses United (NNOC/NNU) announced today.

“Our management is quick to call veterans ‘our heroes,’ but they don’t show it in the way they run this facility,” said Ruby-Rose Hutchinson, RN, and director of National Nurses United – Miami VA, where she’s worked as a nurse for over 20 years. “Veterans deserve the best care we can give them, but they’re not getting it because management refuses to invest in nursing staff recruitment and retention. This was going on long before Covid, and now, even though they’ve had more than two years to adapt to this crisis, they have failed to respond in any meaningful manner and we are seeing the situation get worse day by day.”

  • Who:    Miami VA registered nurses
  • What:   Action demanding safe staffing for veterans
  • When:  January 27, 6:30 a.m. – 7:15 a.m.
  • Where: Bruce W. Carter VA Medical Center, 1201 NW 16th St., Miami
    (Nurses will be gathering at the Westside Parking Lot Entrance on NW 14th Ave.)

Hospital data shows that 51 nurses have resigned in the last five months, exacerbating the short-staffing crisis. This crisis is particularly acute in departments such as the medical/surgical and intensive care units, where nurses treat veterans who are ill with Covid-19.

When there are not enough nurses on a unit to provide optimal care for patients, nurses’ workloads become so high that it jeopardizes patient safety. Studies have shown that when nurses are assigned too many patients to safely care for at once, the patients are at increased risk for preventable medical errors, avoidable complications, increased length of stay, readmissions, and even death. Studies have also shown that assigning nurses too many patients to safely care for at once also leads to ongoing moral distress and job dissatisfaction.

Nurses at the VA have also raised a growing number of safety concerns to the hospital and have even filed official complaints with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA).

“This cannot continue,” Hutchinson said. “It breaks my heart to see experienced, devoted nurses leave the profession because they feel it’s impossible to do the right thing for their patients.”

The Miami VA nurses’ message is clear: Without a significant investment to retain experienced, qualified nurses at the Miami VA, our veterans will not be provided the proper care they deserve.

National Nurses United represents more than 500 registered nurses and nurse practitioners working in the Miami VA system.

National Nurses United is the largest and fastest-growing union of registered nurses in the United States with more than 175,000 members nationwide.