Press Release

Wichita nurses at Ascension Via Christi to hold rally for patient safety and demand reinstatement of SICU seven

Nurses in front of Ascension Via Christi hospital, listening to nurse speaking through megaphone

RNs say the hospital is trying to silence nurses who speak out about patient safety concerns

Registered nurses at Ascension Via Christi hospitals, in Wichita, Kan., will hold a rally tomorrow, June 19, to highlight their patient safety concerns including short-staffing and protest the unjust firing of seven surgical intensive care unit (SICU) registered nurses, announced National Nurses Organizing Committee/National Nurses United (NNOC/NNU) today.

“These nurses were fired for daring to stand up for the safety of their patients,” said Shelly Rader, RN in the Ascension Via Christi St. Francis emergency department. “The hospital is trying to silence nurses from advocating for our patients. But as nurses, our first obligation is to our patients and we have a responsibility to speak out when we see patient care being jeopardized.”

Who: RNs at Ascension Via Christi including members of the SICU 7
What: Rally for patient safety
When: Wednesday, June 19 at 8:00 a.m.
Where: Ascension Via Christi St Francis Hospital, 929 N St Francis Ave, Wichita, In front of the hospital, intersection of Murdock and St Francis Street

On May 13, while the hospital was in the midst of a cyber attack, seven nurses showed up for a night shift in the surgical intensive care unit and found there were too few nurses to care for their extremely fragile patients. Several of the patients who were in the unit that night needed one-to-one care from a nurse. However, three of the nurses were assigned three patients each. Nurses report that two doctors stated that, if staffing remained as it was initially, patients would have died during the shift.

When nurses brought up their concerns with management, they were sent home. On May 20, the nurses learned they had been fired. 

“These dedicated nurses were unjustly punished for their professional integrity,” said Lisa Watson, RN in the St. Francis medical intensive care unit. “You must remember these nurses were also dealing with the fallout from the cyber attack that made it extremely difficult to care for patients, as we had no access to electronic records and other technology we use continually throughout the day. These nurses soldiered on under very difficult conditions, but they refused to accept substandard care for their patients. Their commitment to their patients should be commended, not punished.” 

NNOC/NNU represents nearly/more than 1,000 registered nurses at Ascension Via Christi St. Francis and St. Joseph hospitals in Wichita.

National Nurses Organizing Committee is an affiliate of National Nurses United, the largest and fastest-growing union and professional association of registered nurses in the United States with nearly 225,000 members nationwide. NNU affiliates also include California Nurses Association, DC Nurses Association, Michigan Nurses Association, Minnesota Nurses Association, and New York State Nurses Association.