Local nurses picket for better staffing, patient safety - WNEM TV 5

Local nurses picket for better staffing, patient safety

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Nurses at a local hospital are considered one of the busiest in Mid-Michigan, and at the center of the ongoing water crisis, they want changes made and they want them now.

Nurses walked the picket line Thursday outside of Hurley Medical Center. They’re calling for better staffing and safety, as well as addressing the need to put patients over profits.

“We're all here for support and we have the same goal in mind,” Barbara Gill said.

It’s a common goal they shouted up and down Fifth Avenue.

“We're here to promote patient safety, promote adequate staffing and we want a fair contract and we want to go back to the negotiating table,” said union chairperson Gina Forbes.

The union has been in contract negotiations with Hurley Medical Center since March. Now, they say they're fed up with working mandatory overtime, which they say has put patient safety at risk.

Nurses said this is the first time they've picketed in decades.

“We usually try to peacefully resolve our disagreements. This time around it's going to take a little more,” Jeff Morse said.

The nurses said they are drained from working overtime and they said it takes longer to get ER patients placed in rooms with beds.

“Patient safety is always an issue when there's not enough nurses and pharmacists. Infection rates go up, injuries to patients is a risk,” Forbes said.

In a statement, Hurley Hospital said they are confident that they will reach a fair and balanced agreement with the union.  They also said they will remain committed to the safety and well-being of the patients they serve.

There are about 1,000 members in the union and it's made up of both nurses and pharmacists and they're demanding these changes immediately.

The community rallied behind their cause with supportive honks and shouts. Now they just hope the hospital is as responsive.

“We hope that they see that there's enough people here in the cold to see that we do care, care about patient rights and we deserve a fair contract as well,” Morse said.

Hurley Medical Center was among several hospitals in the state to be fined for a high rate of patient injuries.

Read more about that here

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