Letter: Misinformation about BMC nurse staffing

To the editor:

In a May 11 article on the small Massachusetts Nurses Association protest gathering at Berkshire Medical Center on May 10, Barbara Connor, R.N., a member of the MNA bargaining committee and a Berkshire Medical Center endoscopy unit nurse, claims that, on Wednesday, May 9, "three nurses cared for 42 patients" during an endoscopy unit shift. Ms. Connor's purpose was clearly to sow concern and distrust in our local community and to advance the union's broader agenda.

Ms. Connor's claims are entirely false. In fact, on the shift she describes, there were 11 registered nurses, 12 technical and support staff, a certified registered nurse anesthetist for each anesthesia room as well as board certified physicians and surgeons caring for each patient. This kind of comprehensive staffing plan, involving not only R.N.s but a wide variety of other clinical professionals, is what makes possible the kind of exceptional patient care quality and safety at Berkshire Medical Center that has been nationally recognized year after year.

Ms. Connor's motivation for advancing her grossly false claims becomes clear when she also says that the MNA bargaining committee will "come with a 1-day strike notice in hand" to the next negotiating session. The propaganda that the MNA continues to spread throughout our community, coupled with the threat of strike against the hospital and the patients it serves, is only intended to advance the union's effort to increase its membership by individual contract or statewide ballot initiative.

The union, of course, has a right to advocate for its interests both locally and across the state, but it should do so honestly and not with frightening fictions like those dreamt up by Ms. Connor.

Our nurses have a generous contract proposal in front of them. We sincerely hope that the union will promptly allow them to vote on that proposal and bring this long ordeal to a close.

Diana Vallone,


The author is a registered nurse and is vice president of surgical services at the Berkshire Medical Center.


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