RNs at Mission Hospital hold speak-out on Feb. 16

Press release from National Nurses United:

Registered nurses at HCA’s Mission Hospital in Asheville, North Carolina will hold a speak-out on Wednesday, Feb. 16, to call on state agencies to enforce the North Carolina and federal emergency temporary standards (ETS) aimed at protecting nurses and patients from Covid-19, announced National Nurses Organizing Committee/National Nurses United (NNOC/NNU) today. This rally is part of an emergency statewide day of action organized in conjunction with the Southern Workers Assembly to address the unsafe working conditions that have led to the deaths and illnesses of workers across the state.

“As profits soared for HCA over the past two years, nurses suffered unnecessary Covid infections because of improper PPE standards and the lack of infection prevention protocols,” said Elle Kruta, RN. “While we as union RNs have been fighting HCA’s greed within the hospital every day, we expect our state government to support us in the pursuit of a safer hospital for workers and patients alike. Unfortunately, that is not always the case. The North Carolina Department of Labor’s emergency temporary standard for Covid-19 could have been a game changer for us, if only the state had cared to properly investigate hospitals like Mission that knowingly and purposely broke the law and violated the ETS on a daily basis. It is time for the state agencies to protect nurses and patients.”

Who: Registered nurses at Mission Hospital
What: Speak-out to protest unsafe practices at Mission Hospital
When: Wednesday, Feb. 16, 11:00 a.m.
Where: Mission Hospital at corner of Hospital Dr. And Biltmore Ave., Asheville, North Carolina

Nurses say the hospital is not following the North Carolina or federal ETS as RNs were not involved in the creation of the Covid-19 safety plan. They point to the risk to both patients, visitors, and staff members as the hospital fails to screen for Covid at the facility entrances. RNs note Covid patients are being placed in hallways and are not isolated from non-Covid areas of the hospital. In addition, nurses are still not being informed when they come into contact with a Covid positive visitor, patient, or staff member, and the hospital is still locking up personal protective gear (PPE) which forces nurses and other staff to wear equipment for an extended period of time, which is not safe.

“We demand that North Carolina Labor Commissioner extend the ETS and take health care workers’ reporting of ETS violations seriously,” said Kerr Wilson, a registered nurse. “For our safety and our patients’ safety, we must have health and safety standards that aren’t just good on paper—we demand meaningful enforcement. We demand that our state Department of Labor ensures that health care workers are guaranteed the protections we need to safely do our job of keeping our Western NC community safe.”

NNOC/NNU represents 1,400 nurses at Mission Hospital.

National Nurses Organizing Committee is a national union and professional organization for registered nurses, advance practice nurses, and RN organizations who want to pursue a more powerful agenda of advocacy, promoting the interests of patients, direct care nurses, and RN professional practice. NNOC is affiliated with National Nurses United.

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