2011 News

Tufts Nurses Organize Flash Mob to Issue Call for Safe Staffing Now

03.09.2011

Nurses from Tufts Medical Center stepped up their efforts to draw attention to their call for desperately-needed improvements in staffing levels, by organizing a flash mob Monday morning, with nurses assembling in the hospital’s heavily trafficked atrium where they held up letters with the message: “Patients First, Safe Staffing Now!”

The activity comes just three days after the nurses issued a 10-day notice of an informational picket and rally to be held outside the hospital on Wednesday, March 16 from 4 – 6 p.m.

The nurses have serious concerns about recent cuts in RN staffing levels and other changes in how they deliver care that have resulted in nurses being forced to care for more patients at one time on nearly every unit.

In particular, TMC RNs have expressed concern that these changes have transformed this hospital from being one of the best staffed hospitals in Boston to the worst staffed hospital in the city, in terms of patient-to-nurse ratios. They are also concerned that TMC is requiring that they work what they consider to be excessive amounts of overtime and “floating” them to unfamiliar patient care areas.

In the past year, TMC RNs have filed more than 520 incident reports documenting situations in which, they assert, patient care was or could have been jeopardized. Examples include reports that increased patient assignments led to delays in completing their nursing assessments, administering medications and conducting tests; caused them to miss significant changes in patients' health status; contributed to patients falling [because of insufficient staff to help them to get up and move about],; and resulted in patients being left in soiled beds for hours at a time.

The 1,200 RNs at TMC, who are currently in negotiations for a new contract, are seeking contractually guaranteed, safe staffing levels, and prohibitions against forced overtime and the inappropriate floating of nurses — all of which, they believe, are needed to ensure that patients at Tufts Medical Center receive the safe care they deserve. Parties will resume negotiations on March 9.

FPO