For Immediate Release: July 31, 2019
Terry Carter, (805) 312-0024
Hal Weiss, (213) 247-4585
Nurses protest dangerously low staffing, poor security and demand safety for patients at Dignity Health’s St. John’s Regional Medical Center
Union RNs to Dignity Health: “Value patients and Nurses, not vanity projects.”
Oxnard, CA–Today, Registered Nurses from Dignity Health hospitals joined together with community supporters at St. John’s Regional Medical Center to protest dangerous staffing inadequacies and scarce security that jeopardize the safety of patients and Nurses at their facilities. The Nurses plan to picket at two other Dignity Health facilities in the coming days—at Northridge Hospital Medical Center tomorrow, and at St. John’s Pleasant Valley Hospital on August 6. All three facilities are plagued by similar deficiencies.
Nurses say that Dignity Health cuts corners by not having enough Nurses and security personnel on duty to ensure patient safety, and that their staffing levels are often in violation of California’s Title 22 law, which regulates Nurse-to-patient ratios.
“Nurses have been injured due to recent preventable security breaches, showing just how dangerous the working conditions are at Dignity,” Adriane Carrier, RN, stated. “Nurses have been asking the administration for increased security personnel and revisions to visitor policies for over two years, but the hospital has dismissed our valid, substantiated concerns and the professional recommendations of nurses.”
“I was kicked in the head while trying to restrain a violent patient,” said Don Hadland, a veteran ER Nurse at St. John’s Pleasant Valley Hospital in Camarillo. Hadland said that had proper security protocols been in place, injuries like his wouldn’t happen. “Workplace injuries aren’t supposed to be part of a Nurse’s job description,” Hadland said.
Instead of prioritizing the safety and health of their patients, Nurses say Dignity leadership is consumed with elevating the company’s image. The Nurses pointed to Dignity Health’s acquisition of naming rights to the StubHub center in December of 2018 as an example of the company’s lavish vanity spending.
“My job is to help patients die with dignity,” said Gabriel Guillen, a Palliative Care RN at St. John’s Regional Medical Center. “When there isn’t enough Nursing staff, these most vulnerable patients don’t get the attention they need, and their safety is at risk. No one wants dying patients to endure unnecessary pain.”
SEIU Local 121RN President Gayle Batiste, RN, CNOR at Northridge Hospital Medical Center, expressed pride in her fellow Nurses for speaking out. “Nurses will do what it takes to get the job done. But at Dignity hospitals, our Nurses are consistently set up to fail,” Batiste said. “So many of my colleagues came out to say ‘Enough is enough.’ Dignity Health can’t ignore this.”
Nearly 1400 registered nurses that work for the three hospitals are members of the Service Employees International Union Local 121RN and are currently in negotiations with Dignity Health, where they have heavily prioritized improvements to staffing and patient safety.
Service Employees International Union, Local 121RN represents more than 9,000 registered nurses and other healthcare professionals at 27 hospitals and facilities in Los Angeles and surrounding counties. This member-led organization is committed to supporting optimum working conditions that allow nurses to provide quality patient care and safety.