Nurses Unions in Washington Back Safe-Staffing Legislation

Published by THE CHRONICLE on 2/9/22 (Source)

This article also appears in the The Columbian.

Dangerous assignments are being reported at record rates by hospital workers at PeaceHealth Southwest Medical Center in Vancouver.

The number of reports made to the Washington State Nurses Association, which represents nurses at PeaceHealth Southwest, rose from 32 in 2019 to 242 in 2020 and 302 in 2021, according to Jayson Dick, the union’s director of labor advocacy. Fifty reports have already been filed in 2022.

Staffing shortages are leading to more dangerous assignments for nurses, Dick said, and more reports to the union. He did not comment on specific complaints because the reports are confidential.

“This is a very real situation,” Dick said. “Nurses don’t submit these lightly. These are the assignments that were so bad that nurses felt compelled to file them after a long, grueling shift. These are exactly the kinds of conditions that are driving nurses away from the field.”