The California Nurses Association fulfilled their plans to demonstrate for safer patient care on June 17, at the City of Hope Medical Center in Duarte, CA. City of Hope Medical Center registered nurses (RNs) alongside public officials, religious leaders, labor leaders, and other hospital employees rallied at the Duarte facility to bring attention to lowered patient care standards at the cancer center.
Most of the 100 demonstrators that showed up were registered nurses who have been working without a contract since April 30, when the old contract expired, because renegotiations at the world-renowned cancer center broke down. According to the protesters, staffing and patient protection are the topics that the RNs most want dealt with.
The facility's Chief of Nursing and Patient Services, Shirley Johnson, replied that while she believed the nurses at City of Hope do a great job of treating patients, the RN's concerns about patient safety were unwarranted, pointing out that the hospital's nurse-to-patient ratios are even better than those mandated by the state of California. Johnson further rebutted claims that the hospital uses a ?one size fits all? approach to staffing, claiming that City of Hope takes into account the specific needs of patients when assigning nurses. Nurses with patients requiring much care are given fewer patients to handle than nurses dealing with less complicated cases. However demonstrators maintained that additional measures must be taken when nurses go on break or when a patient's condition worsens.
Additionally, the protesters want to ensure that nurses are not assigned non-nursing duties, such as making schedules and answering phones. RNs with such specialized training should not be assigned relatively unskilled duties which prevent them from providing proper patient care and attention.
Johnson said that while some overlapping duties are inevitable, "It's our intent to keep the nurses at the bedsides."
The results of this demonstration have yet to be seen, but both sides reported that they were eager to return to negotiations, which are next scheduled on June 30.