Nurses Will Hold One-day Strike on Sept. 20 at Tenet Hospital, Los Alamitos Medical Center
RNs Urge Management to Invest in RN Staff and Patient Care
Registered nurses will hold a one-day strike Sept. 20 at Tenet hospital, Los Alamitos Medical Center in Los Alamitos. Nurses at seven other Tenet facilities in California also plan one-day strikes on Sept. 20, in Modesto, San Ramon, Turlock, Palm Springs, Joshua Tree, Templeton, and San Luis Obispo. The first hospital RN strikes in the history of Arizona and Florida will also be held at four Tenet facilities in those states on the same date.
Nurses are urging management to invest in nursing staff. This will improve the recruitment and retention of experienced RNs, and ensure optimal patient care, say nurses.
“I am honored to have worked as a nurse for 25 years, and share with my colleagues a deep commitment to advocating for my patients,” said Ginny Gary, an RN in the ICU at Los Alamitos Medical Center. “We know that to give the best care it is very important for nurses to get rest and meal breaks. When the hospital has adequate staffing it is more likely that nurses can take their meal and rest breaks and return to work alert and nourished.”
Over 150,000 people who hold active RN licenses in California do not work as nurses, according to the California Board of Registered Nursing and the Bureau of Labor Statistics. Some of these are retired or unemployed while others are choosing not to work in the field.
“We believe more of those nurses would choose to work at the bedside if there were staffing and other working conditions that supported their providing optimal care to patients,” said Janice Ames, one of over 6500 RNs who work at the Tenet hospitals going out on strike in Florida, Arizona and throughout California.
What: RNs one-day strike and a rally for optimal patient care.
When: Friday, Sept. 20- 7:00 a.m. to Sat., Sept. 21, 6:59 a.m.
Rally Friday Sept. 20 – 12:00 p.m. 1:00 p.m.
Where: Los Alamitos Medical Center, 3751 Katella Ave., Los Alamitos
According to information supplied by Tenet, the company paid out a total of nearly eight million dollars in penalty pay to RNs from 2016-2018 for more than 140,000 missed meal breaks in the eight California hospitals holding the strikes. In 2018 nurses at these hospitals reported more than 57,000 missed breaks, a twenty eight percent increase over 2016. Research studies shows that when RNs are able to take adequate rest and meal breaks they are less likely to experience fatigue, which can lead to medical errors, and injuries to both RNs and their patients.
Data supplied by Tenet also shows that these hospitals are increasingly utilizing “on call” nurses for the OR and other units for regularly scheduled procedures and non-emergent situations, rather than using “on call” the way nurses agree it is supposed to be used: for unexpected, emergent conditions. When a nurse is “on call,” they are required to return to the hospital within 30 minutes, even after they’ve already worked an entire shift and before they’ve had an adequate rest period. Research shows that when nurses don’t work overly long hours they are more likely to provide safe patient care.
The data provided by Tenet shows that in 2018, nurses worked more than two full weeks of overtime from “on call” work and being called back in, including right after, or within hours of completing a full shift. Since 2016 this practice has increased 48 percent.
The 400 RNs at Los Alamitos Medical Center are members of California Nurses Association (CNA). CNA is affiliated with National Nurses United, the largest and fastest growing union of registered nurses in the United States with 150,000 members. NNU plays a leadership role in safeguarding the health and safety of RNs and their patients and has won landmark legislation in the areas of staffing, safe patient handling, infectious disease and workplace violence prevention.