M Health Fairview Nurses Hold Vote of No Confidence in Hospital Management


Contact: Rick Fuentes
(o) 651-414-2863
(c) 612-741-0662

Amber Smigiel
(o) 651-414-2849
(c) 651-202-0845

(St. Paul) – March 26, 2020 – Nurses working at M Health Fairview hospitals voted overwhelmingly to indicate they have “no confidence” in hospital management’s response to the COVID-19 crisis. Nurse members of the Minnesota Nurses Association work at University of Minnesota Medical Center-West Bank, Fairview Southdale, St. Joseph’s, St. John’s, and Bethesda hospitals.

“M Health Fairview is flagrantly violating the safety and staffing protections jointly agreed to by nurses and management, and yet our incredibly dedicated nurses are still throwing themselves into harm’s way to protect the public,” said Modest Okorie, a Registered Nurse at Bethesda Hospital.

There are countless issues that MNA members have been demanding for weeks prior to this crisis point. Nurses believe that the health system must address their preparedness plans that nurses believe are putting the public at greater risk rather than containing the outbreak. MNA filed a Request for Information (RFI) with M Health Fairview looking for equipment levels, proper procedures, instructions and resources for protection for nurses, including gowns, showers, and reassignments. That information has not been forthcoming.

MNA nurses have also been in negotiations with M Health Fairview for these procedures. Despite verbal agreements at the table, M Health Fairview has reneged on the promises made by negotiators in its written proposals.

“The vast majority of nurses within the entire M Health Fairview system have voted that they have no confidence in their leadership, CEO James Hereford and Chief Nursing Executive Laura Reed,” Okorie said.

With no agreements in place, M Health Fairview has continued to unilaterally implement changes to the terms and conditions of nurse contracts, despite nurses’ demands to bargain over these issues.

“Our members can and will do the work of protecting the community, but they need to be assured that they will have the appropriate training, protective equipment, and support from administrators that seem to be handling a global pandemic from Ivory Towers,” Okorie said.



  1. As a now retired RN who worked mostly in ER settings I can tell you this much;most hospital administrator types that I have had anything to do with are not from the front line workers of medicine and are completely ignorant of what is really happening including the potential for disaster in the hospital setting. Years ago in a place in Il. I worked at a hospital where security was a joke at best and dangerous at worst. After many years of pleading with administration for better security to no avail an administrator who was also a chaplain came into the ER to address a patient’s loved ones remorse over the patient’s passing and was promptly cold cocked by the relative rendering this administrator unconscious. The next day the ER doors had locks accessible to staff only and more security was put in place. #1-I do not condone violence. #2- just maybe the only thing to wake up a hospital administrator is a good cold cocking. You decide
    The old RN

  2. I experienced workplace pressure to forego an appropriate mask for an aerolyzed procedure done at grand itasca today. Management was pushy and although I didn’t back down, they made me feel like I was responsible for a delay in procedure time because I insisted on a PAPR for this procedure. My MNA team worked hard and fast for me.

  3. This is very unfortunate that U of M/ Fairview management seems to continue to be ignorant of the scientific factors we are facing with covid 19 virus . It is contagious and causes serious consequences to those affected. The caregivers are being exposed while taking care of these patients and placed at high risk by being unfairly bullied into doing procedures without adequate PPE . I recommend Seeking legal counsel if the hospital continues to disregard the safety of staff . I am a retired nurse always respected in my profession. This carelessness of the hospital will lead to more deaths of patients, staff and family of those working in the hospital . I know hospitals are concerned with costs and making money . That should not be a priority. This is a pandemic that requires highly skilled workers using proper protection to stop the spread of the virus .

  4. Interesting. I just went through Fairview’s orientation process. I was re-hired as a behavioral health staff, Psychiatric Associate having multiple years of PA experience attending to the emotional, behavioral, and safety aspects of psych patients. On day 8 or so, I questioned why I was reviewing nursing medical procedures like foley care, colostomy and urine bag care, catheter insertion and removal, peri care, and the removal and discarding of excess IV bags, IV tubes and medications, suction cups, and drainage tubes from patient’s bodies. Since I have a degree in Psychology and zero history of nursing training, I thought I was in the wrong training, certain a hospital would NEVER put the safety of patients at risk by having behavioral health staff administer medical procedures, especially in the private areas of patients. When I went to my HR nurse educators and Hiring Dept Manager, even a well known whistle blower Niki Grere, with my concerns, I was told “psych associates are now responsible for all physical cares”. When I insisted there must be specific limits and differences between behavioral health staff and medical nursing staff for liability purposes and more importantly the safety of our most vulnerable psych patients, I was told I was being defiant and then pressured to resign. I had spent one week learning about Fairview’s values which focus on safety, respect, and integrity of their patients and staff, yet the first time I advocated for the safety of our most vulnerable patients and sought out leadership to protect myself from engaging in unethical and potentially dangerous medical procedures I have no formal education or experience with, I was told “psych associates and certified nursing assistants are interchangeable jobs”. Clearly the title “certified” and “nursing” should mean something, right? No, not at Fairview. At Fairview, behavioral health staff are provided with one day of nursing training and given permission to do hands on nursing care and medical procedures. At Fairview, a psych patient can be counseled by psych associates, go to groups lead by psych associates, be restrained by psych associates, AND psych patients can wake up from their psychosis or sedation wit a psych associate’s hands between their legs to take care of medical procedures and equipment completely outside of their scope of practice and education. Having worked at multiple hospitals, including Fairview, as a psych associate in years past, I was appalled by these money saving tactics that put behaviors health staff ethic’ sat risk and patient’s safety at risk. Just weeks later, the pandemic hit, and while I’m sad I am not in the position to offer emotional and behavioral support to psych patients during this time of crisis, I am at least reassured I am not one of the many behaviors health staff posing as nursing para professionals Putting the safety of the most vulnerable patients at risk.

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