Health care workers in CT call for better staffing levels

Randy Weingarten, president of the 1.7 million-member American Federation of Teachers, joined federated hospital professionals and key state lawmakers on Monday to call for more staff and better health at a time when nurse burnout and high patient ratios are threatening patients and staff. Security measures demanded. Alike

During an hour-long news conference at the legislative office building, Weingarten singled out Hartford for high nurse-to-patient ratios that are jeopardizing hospitals’ ability to promote successful patient outcomes.

“Hartford Health will not do the right thing,” Weingarten said. “We need to enact ethical laws to force them to do the right thing. We need to take action locally, legislatively, and within our communities to combat unsafe staffing.” Better avenues are needed to encourage people into the medical field, he said, adding that the current scenario, with mandatory overtime and nurse-to-patient ratios that prevent hourly visits during hospital shifts, is harmful.

“Why would anyone go into this profession that saves lives when they hear what’s happening every day?” Weingarten told a packed meeting room where nursing professionals held protest signs. “Because of burn-out levels, this problem is actually getting worse and worse and worse.”

State Sen. Saud Anwar, D-South Windsor, and State Rep. Christine McCarthy Wehe, D-Fairfield, co-chair of the legislative public health committee, said she plans to introduce legislation aimed at bringing more health care workers into the profession, giving hospitals more room to address staffing problems. encouraging, resulting in veteran nurses quitting amid burn-out.

“We need to recognize that in order to achieve this, we need to bring hospitals together,” Anwar said. “Because in the health care workforce crisis, there is an urgent need, we must step in now like tomorrow and get people to care. We support and encourage the current workforce to stay in the field and recognize that you are not alone and We’ll fight for you.”

“I can tell you from personal experience that a good nurse is the difference between life and death,” said Anwar, a physician, who said a bill pending in the legislature would develop a long-term strategy on nursing staffing levels, one of AFT report for reference by using. “Insurance companies have doubled their profits in the last one year, many of them, according to their shareholders. You know who’s back? Workers’ backs. This is not a sustainable model. Yes, everyone benefits Should be, but not at this pathological level.”

Sherri Dayton, a 48-year-old registered nurse who is vice president of health care for AFT Connecticut and works at Backus Hospital in Norwich, said that over the past five years, morale has reached new lows, while mandatory overtime staffing has increased. Used to be. Reduction to the point where the standard of care is at risk. Patients fall and wound up in beds as nurses are unable to regularly visit patients and rearrange their beds, which is becoming a “crushing” defeat.

Dayton said, “I’m tired of seeing a profession that I really love being destroyed and people leaving in huge numbers because of it.” “I’ve heard professionals say, when they’re passing a report to the next person, ‘No one died today.’ That’s the new goal we have to go with? The goal is to make them better; to fix them.

During a question-and-answer portion of the news conference, union leaders confirmed that there are outstanding complaints.

A request for comment from Hartford Healthcare was not immediately returned. Jennifer Jackson, CEO of the Connecticut Hospital Association, agreed that teamwork is the key to uplifting and supporting nurses.

“Patients need a stronger health care workforce, and hospitals and health systems in Connecticut are working to educate, train, and retain more nurses and other health care professionals in the state, to expand their workforce and in education and health care.” working with partners.” Jackson said in a statement. “This includes paying attention to safety for both patients and the health care workers who care for them.”

But Jackson warned that the mandatory nursing ratio would “hold work”. “In fact, the staffing ratio will exacerbate the problem, causing delays in care and increasing costs, with corporate nurse staffing agencies as potential beneficiaries. Instead, focus on solutions that support patients and health care workers, set aside policies such as staffing ratios that would harm patient care, and work together on advancing legislative action to support recruitment, retention, and safety.”

US Sen. Richard Blumenthal, who has protested with nurses on a picket line in Connecticut, said he plans to re-introduce legislation in Congress to combat workplace violence at the staff level. While he expressed confidence that he could get enough Senate support to bring the bill to the floor, he is less certain of the bill’s success in the US House of Representatives.

“At the end of the day it’s about the patients,” Blumenthal said.

[email protected] Twitter: @KenDixonCT

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