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Nurses hold 'National Day of Action' to demand safe staffing at hospitals

Jan 14, 2022 05:47AM ● By Editor
Photos: KARE 11 News

By Charmaine Nero from KARE 11 News • January 13, 2022

Just under a month ago, the Minnesota Nurses Association held a press conference saying they are at a breaking point, and today, nurses say not much has changed.

"New patients seeking emergency care continue to come through the front door, back door, through EMT's, but there is nowhere to go," said nurse, Venessa Soldo Jones.

Nurses reiterated their previous concerns, saying the COVID-19 crisis only intensified staffing issues that previously existed in hospitals.


"There's been days where we are short nurses and we have to take a heavier load assignment," said Adaim Midekssa, a local nurse.

 This comes as nurses across the country are holding a "National Day of Action" to demand the hospital industry invest in safe staffing.

Several lawmakers including Representative Ilhan Omar spoke during the meeting, saying she was "grateful" for the nurses who shared their stories and is actively pushing for reforms. 

"We are pushing the Nurse Staffing Standards for Hospital Patient Safety and Quality Act to make sure there is a regulation for the number of patients you all care for at any given time," said Omar.

During a House Health Finance and Policy Committee meeting to discuss the impact of COVID-19 on healthcare, many addressed the urgency of the situation.

"Our physicians, nurses and staff are feeling overworked, and at times, abused," said Dr. Randy Rice, the president of the Minnesota Medical Association. "While once seen as heroes, we are abused for even asking for vaccination status."  

Wednesday, Governor Tim Walz said he is requesting $40 million to support hospital staffing, while MDH Commissioner Jan Malcolm says the state is working to bring 300 more nurses to Minnesota. 

Nurses say while more staffing may help, it won't alleviate problems that continue to plague hospitals.

"We can continue to ask the government to bail out hospitals, and throw more money at the problem, but until hospitals stop doing things like disciplining and sending home nurses who think it is unsafe to treat multiple patients at one time, or refusing mental health leaves for nurses who are completely leaving the bedside, until that behavior stops, this crisis is not going to stop."

To see the original report and read related stories, follow this link to the KARE 11 News website.