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Nurses Short Staffing Undercutting Morale At San Diego Veterans Hospital

Nurses at VA San Diego Health Care rallied in La Jolla to draw attention to what they say is low morale and staffing shortages at the local hospital that treats veterans.

Members of National Nurses United surveyed members and found 71 percent said they considered leaving the veterans hospital in the last six months.

Photo by Guillermo Sevilla

Erin McLeod, a registered nurse and San Diego director of National Nurses United, rallies outside VA San Diego, Sept. 13, 2017.

“One of the statements made in that survey said nurses are leaving like flies,” Erin McLeod, a registered nurse and San Diego director of National Nurses United. “I’ve been here for over two decades and it is the worst ever. Morale is so low.”

The union said nurses are being intimidated to work short-staffed and work without breaks. Turnover at VA San Diego has been high.

“I don’t think this leadership is concerned with providing the best care. They’re concerned about cutting the budget,” McLeod said.

VA San Diego has attempted to address the concerns. Management meets with the union, said Carmen Concepcion, executive director of nursing services at VA San Diego.

“Some of the concerns they’ve raised we addressed,” she said. “We’ve had a job fair, where we recruited nurses. We conducted a salary survey.”

Currently, VA San Diego has 57 vacancies among nurses, which is down from a few months ago. National Nurses United represents nurses at 23 VA hospitals around the country. Nurses in La Jolla were split over how much of the problems begin with local management in San Diego and how much of the problem is a lack of resources at VAs nationwide.

National Nurses United protested what they say are poor working conditions at the San Diego veterans hospital.

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