Local nurses protest staffing concerns at Bay Area Hospital

Posted at 8:13 AM, Jul 24, 2018
and last updated 2018-07-24 09:13:46-04

Dozens of registered nurses with Corpus Christi Medical Center took to the streets with signs to urge hospital management to address staffing concerns that they say could affect patient care.The nurses stood at Rodd Field Road and SPID to protest high turnover rates and consistent problems with the hospital staffing grid. The grid’s purpose is to assure that there are enough nurses to attend to patients’ needs in a safe and timely way. A press release sent by National Nurses United (NNU) says data supplied by the hospital covering the month of January shows various units at CCMC – Bay Area out of compliance with the staffing grids. The Neonatal Services unit was out of compliance 40 percent of the time, the Medical Surgical Unit 50 percent of the time, and the Telemetry Unit 61 percent of the time, according to hospital data supplied to the nurses. "We are holding the picket because we want our hospital to use its resources to excel in patient care and that means reducing the turnover rate," said Kimberly Smith, an RN at the Doctors Regional Intensive Care Unit. "We know they have the resources to retain seasoned nurses for the benefit of our patients, especially as recipients of huge tax cuts under the Tax Cut and Jobs Act."The nurses also say that a third of the registered nurses at Corpus Christi Medical Center have worked there for less than 18 months, while half the RNs have worked there for less than three years. "We want the hospital to ensure optimal care by taking immediate steps to reduce turnover and more consistently comply with the staffing grid," said Sylvia Trevino Higgins, Bay Area Neonatal Intensive Care Unit. "We’re holding an informational picket because as patient advocates we want to provide our patients with the care they need without delay."We reached out to the Corpus Christi Medical Center, who released this statement:Corpus Christi Medical Center’s (CCMC) contract with the National Nurses United organization expired on June 30, 2018, and we continue to negotiate in good faith with the union. It is unfortunate but not unusual to see tactics like this when a union and an employer are engaged in contract negotiations. We want to ensure our community understands that neither this nor any other action will ever come between us and our commitment to the high quality care and services we offer our patients in this community on a daily basis. Dedicated to offering residents the best possible care, we are proud that we have received a Healthgrades ™ Patient Safety Excellence Award™ for 2018. The hospital has also worked hard to become an employer of choice, and we’re pleased that our registered nurse turnover rate is significantly better than the Texas average. We will continue our commitment to offering the highest quality and safest care to our community.-Corpus Christi Medical CenterNurses also took part in informational pickets at four other HCA-affiliated hospitals today in El Paso,  Port Charlotte, Fla., Sanford, Fla., Las Vegas, Nev.