VANCOUVER, Wash. — Nurses say PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center needs to do more to attract new nurses and retain the nurses it has after a brutal year on the front lines of the coronavirus pandemic. On Saturday, April 10, hundreds of registered nurses and supporters rallied at the Vancouver Waterfront to call for safe nurse staffing at Southwest.
“We are fighting for our patients and our community,” said Didi Gray, a labor and delivery nurse at Southwest and negotiation team member. “Safe nurse staffing allows us to provide the highest-quality care to our friends, neighbors and community members every time they are in the hospital.”
Southwest nurses were joined by Vancouver Mayor Anne McEnerny-Ogle, who voiced her support for the nurses in their contract fight and issued a proclamation declaring May 2021 as Nurses Appreciation Month in Vancouver.
“You’ve helped me; you’ve helped my family and friends — not just at PeaceHealth, but throughout the community,” Mayor McEarny-Ogle told the crowd of nurses.
The 1,100 registered nurses at Southwest have been in contract negotiations for months and have held 13 bargaining sessions, including a marathon session on Thursday, April 8.
The next bargaining session has not yet been scheduled. The WSNA bargaining team remains committed to reaching an agreement that recognizes the excellent care nurses have been providing through the pandemic and that will retain experienced nurses.
“We need PeaceHealth Southwest to support nurses so we can continue to support our patients,” Gray said.
WSNA is the leading voice and advocate for nurses in Washington state, providing representation, education and resources that allow nurses to reach their full professional potential and focus on caring for patients. WSNA represents more than 17,000 registered nurses for collective bargaining who provide care in hospitals, clinics, schools and community and public health settings across the state.