Nurses on strike concerned about patients

    On their third day of striking, Temple University Hospital nurses voiced concerns about the quality of care patients are getting from fill-in staff.

    On their third day of striking, Temple University Hospital nurses voiced concerns about the quality of care patients are getting from fill-in staff.

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    As a crowd of nurses chants outside Temple Hospital, temporary staff is inside caring for patients. The hospital brought in nurses recruited by a California-based company. Union leaders say they’ve heard reports from staff not on strike that the quality of care has been compromised because the new team is inexperienced with the hospital’s routines.

    Maureen May, president of the Temple Nurses Assocation, spoke to reporters on the picket line. She says she wants to see the hospital downsize its patient load.

    May: We will have RNs available on the picket line in the event of a genuine patient emergency to assist if requested for stabilizing a patient for transfer out of Temple.

    Jackie Silver, the president of the Temple Association of Professional and Technical Staff, says she’s also concerned that inside staff is being told not to communicate with picketers.

    Silver:
    Look at what they’re doing to the people on the inside. They’re coming to work under threat. Do not engage us. Do not speak to us. Do not tell us a thing. How will anybody know what’s happening to patients if nobody is allowed to speak?

    Temple Hospital’s CEO Sandy Gomberg says the temporary staff has transitioned smoothly, and patients’ safety has not been compromised. She says the hospital’s policy is only that employees not on strike can’t join the nurses’ picket line. At a press conference today, hospital Gomberg said all services are fully functional.

    Gomberg:
    We respect the union’s right to strike. However, I am very disappointed at this labor union’s attempts to frighten our patients and distract the focus from the real issues on the table.

    Gomberg says the issues are wages and benefits, not quality of care. No new negotiations have taken place since the strike began.

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