Thousands of University of California patient care workers are back on the job today after a two-day strike at five UC medical centers demanding better patient care and safe staffing levels. Outside the centers, members of AFSCME Local 3299—the nurses, surgical and X-ray technicians, custodians, servers, cooks and others who keep one of the largest medical systems in the country running—chanted:
What’s this about? Patient care! All day, all night—safe staffing is our fight.
When nurses are forced to carry a heavy patient load because of understaffing, the first to suffer are the patients. Several speakers at a Washington, D.C., City Hall press conference Monday said that legislation to establish a nurse-to-patient safe staffing ratio would protect patients’ safety and care.
Another major study shows that California’s landmark nurse to-patient staffing ratio law improves the quality of patient care and enhances registered nurse staffing.
The latest study, by researchers from the University of Pennsylvania and Arizona State University, also refutes predictions promoted by healthcare industry opponents of the California law that hospitals might respond by disproportionately hiring lower-skill licensed vocational nurses.