LOS ANGELES—Hundreds of registered nurses at Kaiser Los Angeles Medical Center marched outside the hospital today to share their growing concerns over patient and RN safety at Kaiser Permanente’s flagship Southern California facility.
“We want to make our hospital safer for patients and safer for RNs,” said Leila Valdivia, a registered nurse in ICU for 25 years. “Nurses need a stronger voice in determining safe staffing levels and safe working conditions so that every patient can get the quality of care they deserve.”
The nurses, members of the National Union of Healthcare Workers, are currently bargaining with Kaiser to change management practices that could put patients and nurses at risk.
For example, management requires hospice and palliative care nurses to be on standby and work up to 18 hours in a day, driving long distances to patients’ homes to deliver care and dispense medication without any rest period.
Nurses voted by more than 98% to hold today’s picket after recent “sentinel events” at the hospital were reported to the Joint Commission on Accreditation of Healthcare Organizations (JCAHO). Although nurses are not allowed to share details of these incidents with the public, JCAHO defines a sentinel event as “an unexpected occurrance involving death or serious physical or psychological injury, or the risk thereof…. they signal the need for immediate investigation and response.” [Joint Commission on “sentinel events”: http://www.jointcommission.org/sentinelevents/]
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The National Union of Healthcare Workers is California’s fastest-growing union, representing caregivers in every job classification. NUHW is dedicated to member democracy, dignity and justice for healthcare workers, and quality, affordable healthcare for all. | NUHW.org