Monday, December 29, 2008
Nurses at five University of California medical centers have voted to strike over what they say are unsafe staffing conditions. Nurses say they hope to resolve their concerns with hospital officials before actually scheduling a walkout. KPBS Reporter Kenny Goldberg has more.
California law allows hospitals to assign each nurse a maximum of five patients in regular units. Emergency departments and intensive care units have stricter ratios.
Union nurses say UC medical centers don't have enough staff to care for patients at all times.
Geri Jenkins has worked at UC Medical Center in Hillcrest for 30 years.
Geri Jenkins: A lot of nurses forgo breaks and lunch because they don't feel they can leave their patients in safe situations to do it. So you have created an environment that's definitely not safe for the patient, and not healthy for the nurse, too.
UC officials say adequate nurse staffing is a critical issue. Officials say they'd like to work things out with nurses and avoid a strike.
Kenny Goldberg, KPBS News.