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YGDNA: Staffing levels are unsafe

Published: Wed, July 11, 2012 @ 12:00 a.m.

By William K. Alcorn



The Youngstown General Duty Nurses Association, involved in contract negotiations with ValleyCare Health System of Ohio, says ValleyCare’s lack of care for employee value often results in unsafe staffing levels.

The YGDNA represents about 400 registered nurses at ValleyCare Northside Medical Center on Gypsy Lane. The work agreement expires July 19.

Negotiations were scheduled today and July 18 under the auspices of the Federal Mediation and Conciliation Service.

The union has called three meetings Thursday to update membership on the talks.

A ValleyCare press release said Northside Medical Center values and appreciates all its employees and strives to provide good working conditions, and fair compensation and benefits.

“We staff our hospital based on the number of patients in our care and their medical needs and greatly appreciate the many employees who deliver that care day in and day out,” the ValleyCare statement said.

“We are hopeful that both sides will remain focused on those negotiations so that a mutually acceptable agreement can be reached,” the statement concluded.

The YGDNA press release reflects the feelings of the membership, said Linda Warino, executive director of District 3 Ohio Nurses Association.

She said YGDNA nurses have found, under the new ownership of Community Health Services, “decreasing incentive for retention and recruitment of nurses resulting in decreased staffing levels; and a resistance to develop a plan to address daily staffing needs which results, oftentimes, in unsafe staffing.”

Northside was included in CHS’ purchase of the bankrupt Forum Health System, along with Trumbull Memorial Hospital in Warren and Hillside Rehabilitation Hospital in Howland.

The YGDNA statement said, in part, that the registered nurses “refuse to settle for less than excellence for their patients and the ultimate devaluing of their work.”

Nursing research has proved indisputably that the more registered nurse staff working, the patient has a better chance of recovery from illness and survival rather than an increase chance of injury or death during their hospital stay, Warino said.

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