RNs from Affinity Medical Center to Testify to City Council on Unsafe Patient Care Conditions
National Nurses Organizing Committee Press Release, 3/16/15
Registered nurses will testify on deteriorating patient care conditions at Affinity Medical Center, at a Massillon City Council meeting Monday night. The RNs are seeking the Council’s support in demanding that Affinity Medical Center take immediate steps to improve patient care conditions at the hospital.
Especially critical to the nurses is the issue of short staffing. The Critical Care Unit (or ICU), as well as the Medical/Surgical, Telemetry and Endoscopy units have been particularly hard hit due to the hospital’s failure to hire adequate numbers of permanent staff to compensate for attrition and medical leaves. This creates conditions where nurses say they are not able to safely meet the needs of patients.
“Affinity nurses are bringing these serious safety concerns to the city council because Affinity—and the Community Health Systems chain at large—refuses to address them with us. Safe staffing continues to be a great concern at Affinity Medical Center,” says Telemetry RN Tamara Wiseman.
What: Nurses Testify on Deteriorating Conditions at Affinity Medical Center to Massillon City Council
When: Monday, March 16th @ 7 p.m.
Where: One James Duncan Plaza S.E., Massillon, Ohio 44646
This week’s action from Affinity RNs comes as part of a nationwide effort to address patient safety concerns within the Community Health Systems chain of hospitals. With more than 200 hospitals and 31,000 beds in 29 states, CHS is the largest for-profit hospital chain in the country; many of the chain’s hospitals are located in small communities like Massillon where they are the only option for residents.
The nurses are asking the Massillon City Council to support their demand that Affinity Medical Center take immediate steps to ensure safe staffing levels at all times, accept “ADO’s,” nurses’ documentation of what they believe to be unsafe patient care assignments, and agree to a fair and safe contract with the nurses.
Registered nurses at Affinity and four other CHS hospitals—Barstow Community Hospital and Watsonville Community Hospital in California, and Greenbrier Valley Medical Center and Bluefield Regional Medical Center in West Virginia—have documented unsafe conditions for more than two years.
The principal issue is unsafe staffing levels, which studies have shown are the biggest factor in patient mortality rates. Compounding unsafe staffing levels is the inadequate training for RNs using the electronic health record systems, which nurses say results in more time processing paperwork, and less monitoring patients.
RNs at Watsonville Community Hospital, a CHS facility in Northern California, recently attended their local city council meeting to introduce a resolution in support of staffing at their hospital. This week, nurses at other CHS facilities in California and West Virginia will rally at their facilities in support of the actions at Affinity and Watsonville.