Inadequate Staffing of Nurses and Healthcare Professionals at Steward Good Samaritan Medical Center Will Be Focus of Oct. 6 Public Demonstration
When: Wednesday, Oct. 6 at 4 p.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Where: Brockton Fire Museum; 216 N. Pearl St. in Brockton, Mass.
Who: Nurses and healthcare professionals from Steward Good Samaritan Medical Center; their co-workers; first responders; community leaders; friends, family, and supporters
Why: To call for hospital executives to do all that is necessary to staff the hospital appropriately.
With the state’s independent agency responsible for providing objective analysis of healthcare quality and costs in Massachusetts recently reporting that Steward Good Samaritan Medical Center is the single most profitable hospital in the state (17.2% profit margin, compared to a statewide hospital profit margin average of less than 3%; Mass. CHIA, pages 9 and 18), the facility’s 570 registered nurses and healthcare professionals (HCPs) will join community leaders and others at a public demonstration on Wednesday, Oct. 6 to call on management to protect patients by doing whatever it takes to staff the hospital safely.
The RNs and HCPs, who are unionized with the Massachusetts Nurses Association, have been attempting to work with hospital management for months to improve staffing inside the healthcare facility. The problem is longstanding, but it has worsened exponentially during the pandemic.
With no resolution on the horizon and patients in an unsafely staffed environment, hospital staff and community stakeholders organized the demonstration to draw public attention to the staffing crisis that is now relentlessly plaguing the hospital.
According to Elisabeth Erwin, RN and bargaining unit co-chairperson, the hospital is dangerously understaffed nearly every day and on every shift.
“Most days, the emergency department runs with only a fraction of the staff that management has planned for — a dangerous scenario for a hospital that serves as a trauma center,” said Erwin. “Meanwhile, the inpatient units are so poorly staffed that admitted patients often wait 24+ hours for a bed.”
“Good Samaritan nurses and healthcare professionals have struggled to deliver safe patient care under these conditions, and they have continuously risen to the occasion,” said Maureen Healy, RN and bargaining unit co-chairperson. “And now it is time for the hospital administration to remedy the situation.”
One solution that would immediately improve the staffing crisis would be for hospital management to temporarily reduce the number of elective procedures currently being performed. This will make more staff available to deliver care to patients in the emergency department and elsewhere, and it will also open beds that elective patients would otherwise take up so that patients in crisis can be admitted in a timely fashion and receive safe, appropriate care. Surgeries are highly profitable, and management has ignored this demand of the staff while agreeing that there is a staffing crisis.
In 2020, Good Samaritan Medical Center was the single most profitable hospital in the state, with a 17.2% profit margin (Mass. CHIA, Sept. 2021). “We should not have to hold public demonstrations over safe staffing when Steward is looking at a profit margin like that,” added Erwin. “They need to step up and do the right thing.”