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1,300 San Diego Nurses To Strike Over Low Staffing

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Aired 6/1/10

About 1,300 nurses in San Diego are threatening to walk out of their jobs at the local UC hospitals next week. Nurses say they'll go on strike because administrators refuse to address their concerns about inadequate staffing.

About 1,300 nurses in San Diego are threatening to walk out of their jobs at the local UC hospitals next week. Nurses say they'll go on strike because administrators refuse to address their concerns about inadequate staffing.

California law requires hospitals to maintain strict nurse-to-patient ratios in all units around the clock. UC nurses say their departments are often short-staffed during breaks and at meal times. Nurses argue they can't deliver good patient care under those conditions.

Nurse Geri Jenkins works in the intensive care unit at UC Medical Center in Hillcrest.

"Sometimes we have a break nurse, sometimes we don't. That's the problem, there's no consistency. And in a big unit like mine, with 17 or 18 nurses, one break nurse doesn't cover it, for everyone to get the breaks they need."

UC officials say patient safety is a top priority, and maintain their hospitals obey the staffing law at all times.

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