Letter: BMC nurses use voices for patients and fairness

Posted
To the editor:

The nurses at BMC have found their voice and are using it ("BMC nurses must find, use their voices," letter, Feb. 7). We have authorized our bargaining team to give a 10-day notice for a one-day strike which we, more than anyone, hope not to do. We're not happy to be in this position, far from it.

I can't help but be frustrated by those who are not involved in direct patient care making assumptions about the very real issues that exist, and pronouncing who is to blame.

The fact is that had this administration spent time with its staff, developed communication and mutual respect, listened to nurses' concerns and addressed them, we wouldn't be in this position. This isn't about a statewide agenda, this is about our hospital and our patients. We are the ones who face real people in fear and need everyday. Our patient satisfaction scores are high because we work hard to make each patient feel they are a priority. But we only have so many hands, and there aren't enough anymore.

I would invite anyone to follow the night charge nurse with seven patients, responsible for an entire floor as well as complete assessments on admissions, the mother-baby charge nurse with two patients in active labor while mentoring a new nurse with a patient in crisis, the medical/surgical nurses without a charge nurse at all for an entire weekend. Walk a mile in our shoes.

Nurses in many units are being denied requested time off, from single days to vacations. "There might be a sick call." But we're told there's no staffing problem.

In negotiations, we've made concession after concession trying to resolve this. Day and evening charge nurse with no assignment; night charge with a limited one to bridge the gaps, mentor, and attend to emergencies.

I don't care about a raise, although we deserve one. But an increase in my insurance contribution will result in a financial loss for me which I'm not willing to accept.

BMC implies these two issues may bankrupt them in the future, and letters are appearing suggesting they may need to lay off other staff to pay for it. Really? $4 million spent on the first strike/lockout and they're willing to spend $4 million again. I'm not buying it. Neither should you.

Alexandra Huber,

Lenox

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