Overworked and understaffed nurses fear for patients
(Lapeer, MI) Nurses at McLaren Lapeer lined up on Main Street in front of the hospital on Monday, July 27 with signs demanding safe patient care and to put patients ahead of profits.
“We have been telling the administration at McLaren Lapeer that the staffing situation is not appropriate for the number of patients coming to the hospital,” said Tom Hall, Emergency Department Nurse and president of the Lapeer Registered Nurses Association (LRNA/MNA).
The nurses and the administration have been in negotiations since January of 2020. The contract expired in May of 2020 and the nurses have been pushing for a contract that will address their concerns.
“We are seeking a contract that will help McLaren Lapeer recruit and retain quality nurses,” said Shelly Randolph, Float Nurse and Bargaining Team Representative. “Nurses have other choices of places to work in this area and for them to stay in Lapeer, the contract must be competitive when it comes to hours and benefits. When a nurse is working on the front lines of a pandemic and forced to work to the point of exhaustion while watching their benefits and working conditions erode, they will leave. That is making an already bad staffing problem much worse.”
As part of their contract negotiations, the nurses are asking for safer nurse-to-patient ratios, which will create a higher standard of care for each area of the hospital. “Safer patient ratios will ensure that we have the correct number of nurses determined for each unit, said Hall. “That will help both nurses and administration know what to expect for staffing. Patient care will be improved when the appropriate number of nurses are agreed upon for each unit.”
“The administration is trying to ‘bottom line budget’ staffing, recruitment and retention of nurses at McLaren Lapeer,” said Chuck Johnson, Emergency Department Nurse and Grievance Chair. “Any time profits come before patients, there’s a problem. We held the picket today because we want the community to be aware that the nurses are concerned about their care. We are doing all we can to provide safe patient care but we need the cooperation of the administration to succeed.”
The Michigan Nurses Association (MNA) is the largest, most effective union for RNs across the state. As the voice for all registered nurses in Michigan, MNA advocates for nurses and their patients at the Capitol, in the community, and at the bargaining table.
Contact: Ann Sincox; 517-256-2312