The California Nurses Association union plans to rally Wednesday, August 5 at Queen of the Valley Medical Center in Napa as part of a statewide protest of waivers involving nurse-to-patient ratios, a legal tool that allows hospitals to concentrate nursing care where needed during emergencies.
Queen of the Valley Medical Center is not seeking a waiver and is concerned the union’s message will confuse the community about the quality of patient care. The hospital is also concerned the union’s message will unfairly characterize hospitals where escalations of patients with COVID-19 are stretching nursing teams, and shifting personnel is necessary to provide the best level of care.
“Our nurses are incredible, selfless people who have dedicated their lives to caring for those who are ill and their families. They rise to meet the challenges that come during times of crisis and I couldn’t be more proud of our nurses and their response to this pandemic,” said Ed Price, Chief Nursing Officer for Queen of the Valley Medical Center. “We are fortunate at this point that we have been able to continue to meet the care demands of our patients, but every hospital across the nation knows that can change quickly.”
California’s hospitals overwhelmingly support the state law on emergency waivers that allows hospitals to temporarily assign nurses to care for more patients than ratios allow under normal circumstances. There is no question the pandemic qualifies as an emergency under the law.
According to the California Hospital Association, the pandemic has strained the state’s health care workforce with surges that can be “intense, sudden and unpredictable.” COVID-19 patients require additional care and time, with a higher proportion requiring intensive care, further straining the critical care workforce.
Nationwide staff shortages mean that every hospital in need of additional health care workers is tapping into the same nursing registries, making it impossible to meet California’s staffing needs.
We urge the union to reconsider its plan in light of the tone it will set at a time when it is essential we focus on coming together as a community.
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