Dozens of nurses from the Seton Medical Center in Daly City, California walked off the job in a one-day strike for better staffing.
The nurses stressed that there is not enough medical staff to ensure patient safety. Seton is owned by American Healthcare Management Corporation or AHMC.
"We want to hold AHMC accountable. We want them to provide with us safe staffing, patient safety, and we’re looking to be able to have a fair contract to recruit and retain nurses here," registered nurse Cathy Evans said.
AHMC acquired Seton in 2020 when its previous owner, Verity, declared bankruptcy. The nurses claimed not much has changed for the better since then. The California Nurses Association added that more than 65 nurses have left the hospital over the past two years due to poor working conditions.
"This hospital has gone through a lot; bankruptcy, different sales, even with the Covid-19 pandemic. We had the inmates here from San Quentin and so during that time we did not have enough staff to cover the floors," Evans pointed out.
Many Filipino American nurses joined their colleagues demanding for change, citing their own concerns in the workplace.
"In the ICU, we work with two patients but there were times when we had to work with three patients and I think that's unsafe because it’s critical care. Patients there are critical so they need that one-on-one attention," registered nurse Cherry Lecompte noted.
In a report from KRON4, Seton Medical Center administrator Sarkis Vartanian said they have been taking steps to stabilize the hospital by working with the nursing staff. Vartanian added that they have hired 189 new employees over the last year, 75 of whom were registered nurses. Meanwhile, contract negotiations with the nurses have been going on since last December.
The nurses hope their strike will lead to an agreement on wage and staffing increases.