Nurses picket at Providence

Medford, Ore. – Some Providence nurses lined Crater Lake Avenue Tuesday, they claim there’s a staffing shortage.

Some of the nurses said the staffing issue is hurting patient care.

“We are on our feet for 12 to 13 hour days. We miss our breaks, we miss our lunch, we go home thinking, ‘Did I do this for a patient? Did I chart that?’ So our sleep quality isn’t good,” Registered nurse Christalyn Matlock said.

“We all know the research shows that after four patients, the risk of error and the risk of harm to a patient,” Registered nurse Dan Richmond said.

Richmond said Providence is a revolving door for nurses.

“We have a high turn over at this hospital. It’s been as high as 43% at this hospital, that’s according to the hospital. The hospital told us this is one of the most difficult hospitals to recruit for,” Richmond said.

Eventually, it takes an emotional toll on the nurses.

“It’s emotionally exhausting,” Richmond said. “Part of the reason that turn over is so high is because when you know what the best care should have been and you aren’t able to deliver that even after you miss your break, you’re staying late, and you’re still unable to provide the level of care.”

The chief executive at Providence, Tomi Ryba, released a statement regarding the informational picket:

“Providence is committed to ensuring that caregivers’ right related to labor organizing are respected, honored and upheld. Providence has a long history of working together with unions that caregivers have chosen to represent them.

“Providence supports open communication. Caregivers can always talk with each other, any core leader or an HR representative about questions or concerns. We are committed to open and honest communication and will answer questions so people can make their own informed decisions. Providence does not question caregivers about their position related to the union, and we are always mindful of our core value of respect.

“Providence does not negotiate in the media. We negotiate with the union that represents our nurses- Oregon Nurses Association. The two sides have been meeting since November and agreed to bring in a federal mediator in March. We have had numerous conversations and were talking as recently as last night.

“We care deeply about our caregivers and believe we will come to an agreement with the union that represents them.”

The picket was not a strike, all of the nurses involved went while they were off the clock.

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