Confluence Health nurses voice concerns over staffing and increasing burn out

Published by KPQ on 2/1/23 (Source)

Two Confluence Health nurses, who are union officers at their hospital, describe some of the systemic issues they have been facing as a new Omicron sub-variant reaches hospitals nationwide.

When Sara Morgan Bergenholtz began working for Central Washington hospital five years ago, she saw Confluence Health as the “gold standard” in nurse to patient ratios.

“There was a sense of community within the facility and a belief that we were really working for the betterment of our community” Bergenholtz said.

Nurse to patient ratios depend on the acuity, or the level of care needed, of their patients. Depending on which unit a nurse was assigned to, each nurse would only be allowed a certain maximum number of patients per day.

Bergenholtz said that compared to last year, nurses in the medical oncology unit would treat a max of five patients for day staff and six for night staff, when last year it was four patients for day staff and five patients for night staff.

“Currently with our staffing, there have been times where nurses have been taking seven patients,” Bergenholtz said. “Which puts us at our previous contingency and crisis staffing levels.”