RNs condemn AHMC Seton for unit closures that serve vulnerable elderly populations
Nurses demand hospital address persistent patient safety issues
Registered nurses at AHMC Seton Medical Center (Seton) will hold a rally on Wednesday, May 11 to share their concerns about the abrupt closure of two hospital units which serve vulnerable elderly patients from across Northern California and to make the public aware of persistent patient safety issues.
“This year we saw Seton executives permanently shutter our skilled nursing unit that provided essential care to elderly patients who are unable to care for themselves,” said Kevin Oco, a registered nurse in the geriatric psychiatry unit. “Now we have learned that the hospital is abruptly closing down our geriatric psychiatry unit for as long as six months. This unit is one of very few in the state that provides highly skilled psychiatric care to geriatric patients suffering a mental health crisis and accepts patients from as far away as San Luis Obispo County and Yuba County. Closing down this unit for any stretch of time leaves a grievous void in our state’s already exceedingly thin mental health care system.”
- What: Seton RN press conference to condemn closures and call for safe staffing
- When: Wednesday, May 11, 8:30 a.m.- 9:00 a.m.
- Where: AHMC Seton Medical Center, 1900 Sullivan Ave, Daly City (near the front lobby)
Nurses say management should have taken the necessary steps to avoid the unnecessary closure of the geriatric psychiatry unit. Registered nurses say Seton could have moved the unit from the current seismically unsafe area to another area in the hospital that is currently not in use.
Furthermore, RNs note that management’s failure to staff appropriately or provide nurses with much-needed resources have led to more than 65 nurses leaving the hospital within the last two years.
“Since the beginning of the Covid-19 pandemic, nurses have been outraged as we have watched our hospital fail to provide the basic resources to protect us, such as personal protective equipment and adequate RN staffing,” said Osha Atogwe, a registered nurse at Seton. “While management has publicly called us heroes, they continually fail to adequately address the ongoing needs of the frontline staff. We need the hospital to value our work and to address our concerns.”
Nurses say currently they are often caring for more patients than is optimal during a shift. The lack of ancillary staff, such as environmental services workers and certified nursing assistants, means that nurses are having to do the work of many people, which can cause delays in patient care.
“There are times when we are scrambling to find gloves, clean linens, or to answer a family’s questions about their loved ones and it is not possible to do it all in a timely manner,” said Kevin Wu, a registered nurse in the geriatric psychiatry unit. “When we are forced to run around the hospital to get supplies or when we must care for too many sick patients, we are unable to provide the best care possible to our patients. This is not fair to our patients nor to our communities. Seton management must do better.”
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.