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Tufts nurses protest hospital staffing levels

The Boston Globe, March 17, 2011
Tufts Medical Center nurses are ratcheting up their heated contract dispute with the Boston teaching hospital. Nurses planned to follow a flash mob at South Shore Plaza with picketing from 4 to 6 p.m. Wednesday outside the hospital in Chinatown. Nurses say that recent cuts in staff and other changes in how they deliver care mean that nurses are caring for more patients at one time on nearly every unit. These changes, they say, have transformed the hospital from one of the best staffed in Boston to the worst. For example, according to figures derived from a public database posted by the Massachusetts Hospital Association, each Tufts nurse in pediatrics cares for at least 1.4 critical care patients, compared with 1.03 patients at Massachusetts General Hospital, the nurses union says. To compensate for chronic understaffing, Tufts is forcing nurses to work overtime and to "float" from one area of the hospital to another where they might not be competent, according to the Massachusetts Nurses Association. The group represents 1,200 nurses at the hospital and is trying to prohibit these practices in a new contract.

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1 comments on "Tufts nurses protest hospital staffing levels"


Linda O. (3/17/2011 at 11:03 AM)
These are difficult times for every party in healthcare delivery. It's to be hoped that staffing patterns were only one part of the changes implemented at the facility to respond to the growing cry for reductions in healthcare costs; and that the hospital is offering refresher training for nurses before floating them to an unfamiliar unit. Tufts is not the only facility across the counry who may be staffing critical care at 1:1.4 or even 1:2 if critical care also includes some stepdown patients. Hopefully the nurses will also offer up other changes in procedures, resource allocation, IT support, etc. that will help address their concerns about patient safety.