Nurses in California are at it again: Roughly 6,000 registered nurses are planning to walk off the job at 10 hospitals on Dec. 22, the California Nurses Association/National Nurses United announced yesterday.
The 24-hour strike will affect Long Beach Memorial Medical Center and Miller Children's Hospital in Long Beach, plus eight Sutter Health hospitals in the Bay Area, including Alta Bates Summit Medical Center in Oakland, Calif., where a patient died from a replacement nurse's medical error during a nursing strike earlier this year.
The California Nurses Association claimed that patient death could have been prevented if Sutter allowed the striking nurses to reenter the hospital. The California Hospital Association responded and said the union was exploiting the patient tragedy.
This time, nurses at Long Beach are protesting staffing ratios and a lack of meal and rest breaks that they say jeopardize patient care, as well as healthcare premium hikes that could lead to almost $3,000 more out-of-pocket costs, the union said. Sutter hospital nurses will be striking over workplace safety standards, healthcare benefits, and sick leave, among other concerns.
To handle the looming strike, the affected hospitals are planning to hire replacement nurses, reports California Healthline. Even though the temporary nurse who filled in at Alta Bates Summit Medical Center was qualified to care for patients, hospitals need to be prepared to defend the credentials of replacement nurses they hire to provide care during strikes.