Press Release

Mission Hospital nurses to hold rally for patient safety, demand HCA address unsafe staffing

Mission Hospital nurses rally for patient safety

RNs to speak out against unsafe working conditions

Registered nurses at Mission Hospital in Asheville, North Carolina, will hold a rally on Wednesday, December 13, to demand that management take action to ensure patient safety by improving nurse staffing, announced National Nurses Organizing Committee/National Nurses United (NNOC/NNU) today.

Since November, nurses have filed dozens of forms, known as assignment despite objection forms (ADOs), documenting unsafe staffing and missed meal and rest breaks. Nearly 100 percent of the ADOs mention missed breaks. In November, nurses in the step-down unit documented a day when management did not assign enough nurses to care for the patients, which led to delays in care. Multiple patients soiled themselves as they were waiting for assistance to go to the restroom.

In November, some emergency department nurses were caring for ICU-level patients or trauma patients without any adjustment to their patient assignments. When a nurse has an ICU-level patient or a trauma patient, they should have no more than two patients and in some very critical cases, only one patient assignment. However, the ED nurses with the ICU-level patients were still caring for four patients and the nurse with the trauma patient had five patients.

“We need safe staffing so we can give our patients optimal care,” said Kelly Coward, RN in the cardiovascular ICU. “When we are short-staffed, HCA management assigns patients to charge nurses, but they are supervisors who should not have a patent assignment. They are supposed to be a resource for the other nurses and assist in any emergent situations. But if charge nurses have a patient assignment, they can’t help the other nurses. Management must stop assigning patients to charge nurses.”

Who: Mission Hospital registered nurses and community members
What: Rally for Patient Safety
When: Wednesday, December 13, 2:30 to 3:30 p.m.
Where: Mission Hospital, 509 Biltmore Ave., Asheville, North Carolina, on the corner of Hospital Drive and Biltmore Ave.

“We always want to give our patients the best care at all times, and that means we need to be in optimal condition, too, but we can’t take a break when HCA management assigns us too many patients,” said Hannah Drummond, RN in the emergency department. “More times than not, nurses do not get an uninterrupted lunch break.”

“When we do take a break during our 12-hour shift, the other nurses have to take on our patients, too, doubling their patient load,” said Drummond. “We want break relief nurses who will care for our patients so we can have guaranteed uninterrupted lunch breaks.”

NNOC/NNU represents more than 1,600 registered nurses at Mission Hospital.

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.