WORCESTER — As greater than 600 nurses proceed to picket outdoors St. Vincent Hospital for the third week of an open-ended strike towards Tenet Healthcare, employees contained in the hospital are making claims relating to improper affected person care by substitute nurses.
In a launch Monday, the Massachusetts Nurses Affiliation, the union representing St. Vincent nurses, mentioned employees contained in the hospital have reported “disturbing” accounts of poor affected person care being delivered by the substitute nurses employed by Tenet to work at St. Vincent at some stage in the strike.
The MNA listed such incidents as substitute nurses as not understanding methods to use hospital machines and working tools, not responding to affected person wants in a well timed method, leaving sufferers unattended, improperly administering remedy, and mislabeling lab studies.
The employees reporting these incidents have been stored nameless by the union, and that issues of improper care at the hospital have been raised in the neighborhood.
St. Vincent CEO Carolyn Jackson known as the assertion false.
“I have talked with our physicians who’ve said that our substitute nurses are giving wonderful care within the hospital, in procedural areas, in crucial care areas, and on the in-patient flooring,” Jackson mentioned Monday.
“Conditions come up in well being care now and again, and once they will we take care of them. Nonetheless, there has not been a degradation in care because the substitute nurses have been at St. Vincent. They’re offering wonderful care, and we now have the Division of Public Well being on campus each day to observe care as nicely.”
Jackson mentioned substitute nurses went by means of obligatory offsite orientation previous to arriving at St. Vincent and on-unit orientation upon their arrival. Every week new nurses on the hospital observe the identical orientation to grow to be accustomed to hospital protocol, Jackson mentioned.
“We’re offering an awesome stage of orientation to already very expert, prime quality nurses,” she mentioned.
Marlena Pellegrino, a hanging nurse at St. Vincent and a member of the negotiation staff for the MNA, has spoken with employees contained in the hospital, she mentioned, and is disturbed by the studies.
She mentioned non-nursing employees described circumstances as a “warzone” since substitute nurses arrived, citing their lack of ability to function equipment and lack of coaching amongst different points.
Jackson mentioned she thinks the MNA is “getting dangerous info from folks contained in the hospital.”
The state Division of Public Well being has had a employees member at St. Vincent since March 8, as required in any respect hanging hospitals within the state. Jackson mentioned no issues have been raised to the DPH and any remoted incidents have been handled.
One such remoted incident occurred on March 13, when a patient at St. Vincent said he was attacked by another patient, resulting in injury and the need for surgery. The injured affected person mentioned he blamed brief staffing for the incident.
A Millbury couple also claimed St. Vincent was unsafe when the girl obtained care and discovered substitute nurses unfamiliar with the hospital and its procedures.
“How a lot is a affected person’s life value?” Pellegrino mentioned. “Tenet has waged a struggle right here, and we’re leaving the door open for them however we’re on this for the lengthy haul.”
Concern for affected person care drove contract negotiations, the MNA mentioned, because the union has been in negotiations with Tenet for over two years.
The MNA and Tenet haven’t resumed negotiations since March 3, however Pellegrino mentioned the MNA is at all times open to returning to the desk over staffing issues.
Pellegrino mentioned the nurses are ready to proceed the strike.
“Our sufferers deserve our advocacy,” she mentioned. “We’re disturbed to listen to what’s going on in that hospital and we take it significantly, and these complaints have come out a number of occasions. We’ve heard the identical horrific tales many times, and presently there’s no approach to not let the general public know what’s occurring, as a result of Tenet will do every part they’ll to maintain these secrets and techniques throughout the partitions of the hospital.”
Jackson mentioned the principle concern she has with divulgence of data by hospital employees is in regard to Well being Insurance coverage Portability and Accountability (HIPAA) violations, which state that healthcare suppliers are unable to share protected affected person info.
“Protected healthcare info is one thing we take very significantly, and we need to be sure there are not any HIPAA violations,” Jackson mentioned. “That’s a priority that’s raised if somebody outdoors says ‘I do know of one thing occurring inside.’ It’s one thing all hospitals take very significantly, as a result of all people wants to ensure their very own well being info is protected.”
Jackson mentioned there have been no incidents relating to HIPAA to date, however the studies coming from hospital employees increase issues.
To observe security across the hospital in the course of the strike, St. Vincent put in giant moveable digital camera towers throughout from the hospital’s employees entrance and loading dock. Jackson mentioned the digital camera towers have been positioned there final week for the protection of sufferers, employees, and hanging nurses to supervise incidents.
Pellegrino mentioned the cameras ought to present administration the numerous sufferers who present assist for the hanging nurses as they cross the hospital, in addition to aggressive behaviors by passersby who shout or “give vulgar gestures” to hanging nurses.
She mentioned automobiles leaving St. Vincent from the Bridge St. employees exit will drive “aggressively quick towards picketing nurses” when exiting. Pellegrino mentioned a number of nurses have virtually been hit by these autos, and mentioned she has seen police inform drivers to decelerate.
“In the event that they need to waste their cash on safety cameras, they aren’t going to search out something however an expert picket line,” Pellegrino mentioned. “This firm continues to place cash wherever else however into staffing and bettering the care that the sufferers obtain on the bedside.”
The cash for the cameras got here from the Tenet’s strike price range, Jackson confirmed.
The MNA claimed of their launch Monday that Tenet has spent $16 million over the previous three weeks. Jackson mentioned she doesn’t assume $16 million is an correct quantity, however solely disclosed that the hospital spent $5.4 million within the first week of the strike.
“in the event that they took the cash that they spent on the strike within the final two weeks, the contract might have been settled,” Pellegrino mentioned. “Sufferers could be receiving a excessive stage of care that they’ll at all times anticipate from St. Vincent nurses. They may save themselves their popularity as an unethical company. However they select to not.”
The MNA has not launched info relating to an finish to the strike.