GREENFIELD, Mass. – The registered nurses of Baystate Franklin Medical Center, represented by the Massachusetts Nurses Association, will share their experiences, and urge Baystate Health to value nurses, protect patients and keep care local during a March 9 virtual community forum hosted by Greenfield City Council President Sheila Gilmour and the Western Massachusetts Area Labor Federation.
Virtual Community Forum
When: 6 p.m. to 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, March 9.
Where: A virtual forum hosted on Zoom and shared on social media. The public and media are welcome to attend.
How: A link to join the forum is available at www.massnurses.org/BFMCForum.
"This is an important event for our community,” said Greenfield City Council President Sheila Gilmour. “The nurses and all Baystate employees are such an essential part of our community, and this forum gives all of us an opportunity to hear from them about how things have been these past couple years."
“We encourage the public to attend this forum and learn what it has been like to care for patients at Baystate Franklin Medical Center during the uncertainty and danger of this pandemic,” said Donna Stern, RN in the BFMC mental health unit and MNA Co-Chair. “While Baystate Franklin staff have put our lives on the line to care for our community, corporate executives have not invested in local nurses and other healthcare workers. Baystate needs to step up and fix the recruitment and retention problems that are making it difficult for us to provide the quality care our patients deserve.”
“Our community deserves a transparent discussion about what is happening inside their hospital, and what staff and patients need right now,” said Suzanne Love, RN in the BFMC emergency department and MNA Co-Chair. “We are proud of the dedication of all BFMC staff over the last two years. We could not have persevered and kept ourselves and our patients safe without the support of all hospital staff and the community.”
At the end of 2021, BFMC nurses began negotiating a new MNA contract, their first since the COVID-19 pandemic began. Nurses are concerned about the approach Baystate Health is taking so far in negotiations, as executives refuse to commit to long-term staffing protections and have not agreed to make the improvements necessary to boost nurse recruitment and retention during these challenging times. As a result, the nurses teamed with Gilmour and WMALF on the March 9 community forum and launched a petition that can be found at www.massnurses.org/BFMCpetition.
The community petition reads, in part, “Exhausted by the lack of respect and basic decency from their employer, more and more nurses have been driven out of BFMC and the nursing profession. These are our family, friends, and neighbors. They live in our communities and have our full support.
“WE, the undersigned, demand that Baystate’s corporate executives address recruitment and retention so the hospital can have the staff we desperately need to provide safe, quality care. Executives must stop focusing on generating profits and giving themselves excessive pay and bonuses. They must value BFMC nurses, protect patients and keep care local!”
Founded in 1903, the Massachusetts Nurses Association is the largest union of registered nurses in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Its 23,000 members advance the nursing profession by fostering high standards of nursing practice, promoting the economic and general welfare of nurses in the workplace, projecting a positive and realistic view of nursing, and by lobbying the Legislature and regulatory agencies on health care issues affecting nurses and the public.