Nurses at a Massachusetts hospital have voted to authorize their negotiating committee to call a strike if management does not agree to increase staffing levels, which the nurses say is necessary to assure patient safety.
Nurses at St. Vincent Hospital in Worcester said in a statement Wednesday that each is responsible for five patients, and they are asking that ratio be reduced to one-to-four.
The hospital, owned by Dallas-based Tenet Healthcare, has about 800 registered nurses.
“With this vote, our members are sending a powerful message to Tenet Healthcare that we will do whatever it takes to protect our patients and our community in the face of their blatant disrespect and corporate greed,” said Marlena Pellegrino, co-chair of the nurses local bargaining unit.
Nurses say they are seeing an increase in patient falls and preventable bed sores at St. Vincent's, as well as delays in patients receiving medications and treatments, all due to inadequate staffing.
St. Vincent CEO Carolyn Jackson said management's latest contract offers is focused on staffing.
“We believe we have a very fair offer on the table, and we hope there is no strike and that we’re able to work together and take great care of patients,” she said in a statement.