By the California Nurses Association/NNU
On Thanksgiving night, the hospital began applying higher patient ratios for nurses, putting patients at risk and negatively impacting nurses’ ability to deliver safe care. As the sole provider of a variety of specialty services for the region, Antelope Valley Hospital has been stretched thin amidst the Covid-19 pandemic with more patients who are very sick and require more care. State-mandated nurse-to-patient staffing ratios provide assurance for nurses and patients that safe care will be delivered.
Recently, the CDPH announced that hospitals may apply for a waiver of these ratios in cases of short staffing. Nurses say the hospital’s decision is premature, and that Director of Nursing Services Penny Hammer, who applied for the waiver, has not taken sufficient preventive measures to protect patients from short staffing.
“Many of us have worked here for years, before we had staffing ratios and after,” says CNA Chief Nurse Representative Maria Altamirano, RN. “We know what it’s like when we don’t have ratios – we become overworked and patients suffer. We are already exhausted – a waiver does not help anyone.”
“We must put patient safety first,” said Ruth Godde, ICU RN and CNA nurse representative. “The hospital must think outside the box and invest in patient care instead of taking the easy way out.”