News & Events

St. Vs Nurses’ Letters to Editor Make Case for Safe Staffing

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Saturday, April 9, 2011

Nurses can be counted on to care

Who are the nurses? We are your neighbors of Central Massachusetts, who work, raise families, pay taxes and vote here. We are mothers, fathers, aunts, uncles and grandparents. We are also members of the Massachusetts Nurses Association. The MNA is a union of direct care bedside nurses. We care for mothers before, during and after delivery. We care for babies born healthy to loving parents, and babies who are born with medical emergencies and those born addicted to narcotics. We care for people before, during and after surgery. We care for citizens who are actually ill enough to be hospitalized in an acute care hospital, many who are elderly and facing the end of life. We care for those in emergency situations and those with mental illness. We know what our patients need to be safely and professionally cared for at all levels of nursing.

Who is Vanguard? They are the poster child of corporate greed at its best. St. Vincent Hospital has been bought and sold in recent years — OrNda, Tenet and now Vanguard. Vanguard is primarily owned by the Blackstone Group. They have nothing to do with our river or valley or even Massachusetts. They are a multibillion dollar corporation with enormous wealth, particularly at the upper corporate level. Also under their umbrella are the previously mentioned OrNda and Tenet.

The St. Vincent nurses will do whatever it takes to provide safe, professional care the patients of Central Massachusetts deserve.


The nurses at St Vincent’s Hospital want to stop the madness. We are human and cannot continue to work under conditions that set us up to hurt people and risk our licenses. We can only hurry and multitask for so long before more errors occur. Our short staffing, combined with the serious conditions of patients endangers many. The Department of Public Health has already been summoned several times to investigate bad situations. The hospital admits more patients than it has staff and beds for. Nurses that have worked during the day are forced to return at night to care for patients that don’t have a bed assignment. This is mandatory overtime and it will only get worse as the administration reduces ICU beds! Every day is chaos and confusion for long periods of time. Every day is a crisis. The high numbers of unsafe staffing reports indicate how many times the nurses feared for their patients’ safety. We have the worst nurse/patient ratios in the city. This is absurd! Our patients deserve better and our community needs to know how this for-profit organization is making their money. How much is your family member’s safety worth?


I have been a registered nurse at St Vincent Hospital for the last 8 years, and in that time I have seen our nurses struggle nearly every day to provide the care our patients deserve, simply because this hospital refuses to provide our nurses with a safe patient assignment. Our staffing guidelines have remained the same for 11 years, and RN duties have increased while our patients have become sicker, more acutely ill and now move through the system faster requiring more care, more teaching and more discharge planning with less time because we are caring for too many patients at one time.

This frantic pace has left nurses with no other choice but to demand better staffing levels in order to promote patient safety, and quality care. Vanguard has called this the “MNA attempt to further their political agenda.” Nurses will not be ashamed of advocating what is right for the patients in our community. Safety, dignity and quality of care in the hospital are not political agendas; rather they are a patient’s right.

And patients deserve no less.

Dominique Muldoon