Over 100 Tri-City Medical Center nurses and community supporters held a public action at 7 a.m. Friday, May 29. They were protesting the facility’s Chief Nurse Executive, Barbara Vogelsang, who they said was mismanaging break nurses, failing to safely staff the ICU and provide needed resources like breaks and Rapid Response Team nurse resources.
Nurses also demanded safe staffing for every unit, every shift and every day.
Emergency room nurse Doris Turner said the staff has had trouble handling the number of patients that are coming in.
“Nearly all of our departments, we’re having to break each other to get breaks in. We have emergencies come in and no float nurses to take care of those patients because nurses are at capacity,” Turner said.
Tri-City nurses passed a “No Confidence” vote against Vogelsang’s management in August 2019. They say she has not provided breaks or rapid response team nurses, according to the Tri-City California Nurses Association.
Turner said she is concerned that things will only get worse with the unknown that surrounds the COVID-19 pandemic.
“There is less availability at this hospital right now to take care of patients than there was two months ago when this pandemic started,” she said.
KGTV-10 News reached out to hospital management to get their side of the story and they sent a statement that said, in part: “They are committed to providing the highest quality patient care and values the contributions of every team member … Tri-City continues to meet and exceed all applicable patient safety regulations.”
Previously, medical center staff have spoken at board meetings about their concerns and met with the hospital’s CEO. Now, nurses will hold a demonstration outside the facility to demand the resources they said they lack and safe staffing.
The hospital said in a statement to NBC 7 it’s patient and employee safety is crucial.
“Tri-City Medical Center is committed to providing the highest quality patient care and values the contributions of every team member. Patient and employee safety remain paramount during these unprecedented times and Tri-City continues to meet and exceed all applicable patient safety regulations.”
Th California Nurses Association and National Nurses United unions representing the Tri-City nurses also delivered a letter to Steve Dietlin, Tri-City CEO saying, “We the frontline nurses continue to have no confidence in our Chief Nurse executive Barbara Vogelsang.”
The union letter asked for a national talent search to find Vogelsang’s replacement. “We believe it is time to find leadership who value TCMC (Tri-City Medical Center) nurses.”