Press Release

Watsonville Community Hospital Nurses hold press conference to demand hospital rescind its dangerous waiver on safe staffing

Watsonville Community Hospital Nurses

Watsonville Community Hospital (WCH) nurses will protest the profit-driven waiver of California’s safe nurse-to-patient staffing law (or “ratios”) at a Wednesday press conference, demanding that hospital management reverse the decision to waive ratios, immediately put patients first, end violations of the collective bargaining agreement, and stop retaliatory actions against registered nurses for speaking out about unsafe patient care conditions during the deadly Covid-19 pandemic, the California Nurses Association (CNA) announced today.

“The fact of the matter is that Covid-19 literally unmasked the for-profit healthcare industry for its true motives: their monetary bottom line. While CEOs and other executives pad their pockets, nurses watch our patients suffer, watch our community face loss of life and home and health, and sadly, watch helplessly as our colleagues across the country needlessly die because of intentional decisions that leave nurses understaffed, under-protected, and under-prepared,” said Quiche Rubalcava, a registered nurse in the emergency department.

The Wednesday press conference is part of a national day of action, featuring thousands of registered nurse and health care worker members of National Nurses United or “NNU” (CNA is an affiliate of NNU) holding hundreds of socially distanced events in more than 19 states and the District of Columbia on Jan. 27 to demand that elected leaders, government, and hospital employers take immediate action to save lives.

Who: Watsonville Community Hospital registered nurses
What: Press conference with RN media availability
Where: Watsonville Community Hospital, 75 Nielson Street, Watsonville, CA 95076. RNs will stand on Nielson street at the main entrance of the hospital and uphold six-foot social distancing.
When: Wednesday, Jan. 27, 2021, 1:30 p.m. - 2:30 p.m.

Under “expedited waivers,” hospitals can increase the workload of already overburdened nurses. By the mere submission of a form, hospitals can require nurses in intensive care units and throughout the hospital setting to unsafely care for more patients at one time.

“Rolling back safety standards will surely lead to more hospital-acquired infections, and put the lives of patients, registered nurses, and other health care workers at risk,” warned CNA/NNU President Zenei Triunfo-Cortez, RN. “Instead of working with nurses to prepare, to plan, and to make sure they had the staffing in place before a massive wave hit, hospitals want the state and all Californians to bail them out from the crisis they themselves have created.”

“Registered nurses at Watsonville Community Hospital will continue to fight for safe patient care. Understaffing leads to poor patient outcomes. The lack of personal protective equipment and management continuing to cut corners has only strengthened our resolve to make sure Watsonville does what is best for those most vulnerable,” said Roseann Farris, an intensive care unit registered nurse.

Gloria Amaya, a 28-year veteran of the labor and delivery department warns, “There is nothing we won’t do for our patients, our neighbors, and our fellow registered nurses. We are a family. But when management after management company comes into our home and puts our patients and our fellow nurses’ lives on the line just to make a buck, we have to stand up and speak out. I am calling on our proud Watsonville community to stand up and speak out now. This is our hospital and we will never back down when it comes to putting patients first.”