Nurses Urge Northside Management and Owners to Get Serious About Working Together to Reach a New Agreement

In Newspaper Ad, Union Questions How Proposed Changes Could Affect Patient Care

May 07, 2013, 12:02 ET from Ohio Nurses Association

YOUNGSTOWN, Ohio, May 7, 2013 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- Nurses at Northside Medical Center are calling on hospital management and its national corporate owners to come to the bargaining table this week ready to work together to reach an agreement that will continue the facility's record of quality patient care.

As part of its campaign to focus community attention on the fact that Northside nurses are entering their 10th month without a new contract, the Youngstown General Duty Nurses Association, sponsored a full-page ad in today's Vindicator newspaper. The YGDNA is the local chapter of the Ohio Nurses Association and represents the 450 registered nurses at Northside.

"Our members are the frontline, bedside care providers to patients at Northside," said Youngstown nurses association President Eric Williams. "We are proud of the role we have played in helping Northside win recognition for the quality of care it provides." He noted that this is National Nurses Week and the theme this year is "Delivering Quality and Innovation in Patient Care"—and that is "exactly what nurses are doing at Northside."

The newspaper ad and Williams's comments raise questions about whether changes proposed by Community Health Systems Inc., the Nashville, Tenn.-based owner of Northside, could potentially hurt the quality of care at the hospital. CHS wants to change the staffing system to one in which nurses could be told not to come in or sent home on short notice when there are fewer patients than anticipated—and then called back if the patient count suddenly rises.

"That 'just in time' approach could mean that the nursing care some patients require might not be there at the moment they are most in need," Williams said. "That approach could seem like nurse rationing to a patient who is waiting for attention."

In addition to the newspaper ad and ongoing informational picketing at the hospital, Northside nurses and their supporters are making calls to community residents, asking them to voice their concerns about quality-of-care issues raised by the CHS bargaining proposals.

"Nurses are committed to efficiency and quality care," Williams said. "Northside Hospital should welcome a partnership with nurses, rather than be trying to cut corners in ways that could undermine what has worked so well. And all of this is happening at the same time CHS is enjoying record profits."

SOURCE Ohio Nurses Association