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VA nurses picket for increased hospital staffing


Specializes in Critical care, tele, Medical-Surgical. Has 49 years experience.

Conditions have so deteriorated at the Cincinnati Veterans Affairs Medical Center that more than two dozen nurses and veterans marched Friday at the facility's main Vine Street gate in sub-freezing winds to protest management's refusal to tackle the problems.

The Cincinnati hospital was cleared in November in an investigation of falsifying records. But the nurses running the informational picket line Friday said the staffing situation inside has become desperate. Appeals to the new VA secretary, Cincinnati resident Bob McDonald, went nowhere, the nurses said...

... The protest was organized by National Nurses United, although some employees of the American Federation of Government Employees also took part. At the hospital gate from 11 a.m. until 1:30 p.m. Friday, the nurses chanted, "What do we want? Safe staffing! When do we want it? Now!" Drivers on Vine Street honked their car horns in support...

... Brooks, Hughes and other nurses describe a climate of fear among those working at the hospital, where they said management bullying leads to records being falsified to meet performance criteria.

Staffing shortfalls mean that registered nurses are performing tasks usually done by medical assistants, taking away from patient care. No phlebotomists, or personnel trained to draw blood for testing, are scheduled to work at night at the hospital, so critical tests are delayed.

Denise A. Kerr, director of public affairs at the Cincinnati hospital, issued a statement saying, "Employees who are feeling overworked are always encouraged to talk to their supervisors or work with our Employee Assistance Program."...

... The nurses, however, said the hospital needs at least another six or eight registered nurses on every inpatient unit, more staff in the specialty clinics such as cardiology and dermatology, and more people trained to clean and sterilize surgical equipment...

VA nurses picket for increased hospital staffing

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I wonder what the back injury rate is for the direct care staff working in this horribly understaffed facility?