From September 2022 to August 2023, according to the Washington State Nurses Association, Virginia Mason was down 60 nurses — 9.5% of the workforce, according to hospital staffing numbers. But other area hospitals, such as Seattle Children’s and UW Medicine, are seeing net gains of nurses, from 7% to 10%. In Washington state, we have more than 100,000 nurses who are licensed, according to the Washington Center for Nursing. That’s plenty to fill the 61,000 jobs available.
But no one wants to work in an unsafe environment. At Virginia Mason, a nurse was recently stabbed in the face. Another nurse barely missed being hit by a claw hammer. Patients have brought in other weapons. What we need is a metal detector and a culture that takes workplace violence seriously. But in Whoville, it’s hard to get that message heard.