Registered Nurses and Health Care Workers to Hold Candlelight Vigil Over Patient Care Concerns at AHMC San Gabriel Valley Medical Center
Registered nurses and health care workers at AHMC San Gabriel Valley Medical Center in San Gabriel, Calif. will hold a candlelight vigil on Friday, August 2, 2019 at 7 p.m. to shine a light on their patient care concerns at the hospital. The nurses, who are represented by the California Nurses Association (CNA), and the health care workers, who are represented by Caregivers and Healthcare Employees Union (CHEU), say management is requiring them to provide care they are not trained to provide and that chronic understaffing and lack of supplies is jeopardizing patient care and making it difficult to retain and recruit experienced nurses.
“Management sends nurses home the moment the patient count drops, even in the emergency room, but you never know who is going to walk in the door. If you don’t have nurses to care for those sick patients, you cannot provide quality care,” said Veronica Rocha, a registered nurse who has been at San Gabriel Valley Medical Center for 20 years. “In some units, we have seen management ask nurses to work double shifts — that is 24 hours— when they are short staffed. These practices are unacceptable and they put patients at risk.”
What: Candlelight Vigil to Raise Awareness about Patient Care Concerns
When: Friday, August 2 — 7 p.m.
Where: AHMC San Gabriel Valley Medical Center
438 W. Las Tunas Dr., San Gabriel, Calif.
The nurses and health care workers are also concerned that management is requiring them to care for patients outside their area of expertise and experience.
“One of the biggest problems is that our labor and delivery unit is understaffed and overflowing, so pregnant women are being assigned to units where the nurses and health care workers are not properly trained to care for these patients,” said Rocha. “It is hard to keep nurses or recruit experienced nurses when they are being asked to work outside their area of expertise; that is one of the reasons we see such a high turnover rate at our hospital.”
In addition, health care workers and nurses say a lack of supplies is also compromising care.
“In the post-partum unit, there are many times when we don’t have enough supplies, not enough baby wipes, or even baby blankets,” said Rosario Hernandez, secretary on the post-partum unit who has worked at the hospital for 22 years. “We have had to wrap babies in towels because there were not enough blankets. That is not very nice for the mothers or the babies.”
The nurses and health care workers say they are deeply distressed that the hospital is refusing to work with them to address these issues and instead are harassing and intimidating workers who speak out. They say a number of longtime employees who have had clean records for decades have faced varying levels of discipline after they voiced their concerns about patient care conditions.
The AHMC San Gabriel Valley Medical Center is part of AHMC Healthcare, which owns and operates a group of for-profit, privately-held hospitals in Southern California. In addition to San Gabriel Valley Medical Center, AHMC Healthcare owns and operates Alhambra Hospital Medical Center, Anaheim Regional Medical Center, Garfield Medical Center, Greater El Monte Community Hospital, Monterey Park Hospital, and Whittier Hospital Medical Center. The company operates 1,200 beds and employs over 7,000 caregivers at its facilities.