Press Release

Registered nurses to hold informational pickets and public actions April 27 at Tenet hospitals throughout California

Pile of buttons which say "Safe staffing NOW!"

Until Tenet hires more nurses and improves conditions the quality of patient care will continue to erode, nurses say

Registered nurses at nine Tenet hospitals throughout California will hold actions April 27 to raise awareness of chronic understaffing and high turnover rates at the hospitals. Informational pickets are planned in Palm Springs, Joshua Tree, Los Alamitos, Templeton, Manteca, Turlock, and San Ramon. Public actions are planned in San Luis Obispo and Modesto, announced California Nurses Association/National Nurses United (CNA/NNU), which represents 3,700 RNs at the facilities.

For a complete list of locations and times see below.

“For the past two years Tenet Healthcare has failed to prepare for the pandemic, prioritizing its profits over its responsibility to provide safe patient care,” said Laura Bruce, RN, of Desert Regional Medical Center in Palm Springs. “We demand that Tenet comply with state hospital staffing laws by taking immediate action to retain and recruit the staff we need to provide quality care. They have the resources!”

During the pandemic year 2021, Tenet made a record profit of $991 million.

Under the California Code of Regulations, Title 22, which spells out the state’s safe staffing ratios law, nurses in an ICU should have a maximum of two patients — and depending on acuity levels, even fewer — yet now are seeing assignments of up to four patients. Telemetry unit nurses should have a maximum of four patients, again adjustable for higher patient acuity, and now have assignments of up to six patients.   

“Due to the chronic understaffing, nurses have been working without meals and rest breaks. We know that this is bad for patients and nurses because it heightens the risk of workplace injuries and medical errors,” said Maria Ibarra, RN, of Doctors Medical Center in Modesto. “Many experienced nurses have made the difficult choice to leave rather than jeopardizing their nursing license due to unsafe working conditions.”

Tenet must hire more nurses to make up for untenable working conditions which have driven away experienced nursing staff over the course of the pandemic, say nurses. Since the pandemic started, Desert Regional Medical Center has lost 137 nurses, Doctors Medical Center in Modesto has lost 160 RNs, and Emanuel Medical Center in Turlock has lost nearly 100 nurses. Poor retention of nursing staff is reflected in the high percentages of nurses that were hired between 2019 and 2021 and then quit as a result of unsustainable workplace conditions. Hi-Desert lost 57 percent of the nurses hired during this period, San Ramon Regional Medical Center lost 36 percent, and Twin Cities lost 40 percent.

Nurses point to the hospitals’ mishandling of rest and meal breaks as an example of how management undermines workplace conditions. Rather than invest in hiring more nurses who can provide adequate relief for RNs to safely take legally required rest and meal breaks, the hospital opts to pay nurses penalty pay, expecting RNs to sacrifice their much-needed breaks. Between 2020 and 2021, penalty pay increased by more than 50 percent at Sierra Vista Regional Medical Center. Penalty pay doubled at Emanuel Medical Center and tripled at Los Alamitos Medical Center during the same period.

Informational picket and public action locations and times:

Los Alamitos: Los Alamitos Medical Center, informational picket, 7:30 a.m.–9:30 a.m.
3751 Katella Ave., Los Alamitos

Joshua Tree: Hi-Desert Medical Center, informational picket, 12:00 p.m.–12:30 p.m.
6601 White Feather Rd, Joshua Tree

Palm Springs: Desert Regional Medical Center, informational picket, 8:00 a.m.–9:00 a.m.
1150 North Indian Canyon Dr, Palm Springs

San Ramon: San Ramon Regional Medical Center, informational picket, 12:00 p.m.–2:00 p.m.
6001 Norris Canyon Rd, San Ramon

Templeton: Twin Cities Community Hospital, informational picket, 8:00 a.m.-9:00 a.m.
1100 Las Tablas Rd, Templeton

San Luis Obispo: Sierra Vista Regional Med Center, public action, 12:00 p.m.-1:00 p.m.
1010 Murray Avenue, San Luis Obispo

Turlock: Emanuel Medical Center, informational picket, 8:00 a.m.- 9:00 a.m.
825 Delbon Ave, Turlock

Manteca: Doctors Hospital Manteca, informational picket, 6:30 p.m.-8:00 p.m.
1205 E. North Manteca, Manteca

Modesto: Doctors Medical Center of Modesto, public action, 8:00 a.m.-9:00 a.m.
1441 Florida Avenue, Modesto

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.