North Memorial Nurses Send a Clear Message: Protect Patient Safety

The sidewalks around North Memorial Hospital in Robbinsdale on June 24 were filled with more than 500 nurses, nurse assistants, janitors, food service workers and supporters from as far away as Bemidji uniting in opposition to the hospital’s plan to cut nursing staff to dangerously low levels.

They spoke loudly and passionately about the hospital’s plan to increase the number of patients each nurse cares for and how it would endanger patient safety.

“They want to change the game and decrease staff to unsafe levels,” said North Memorial MNA Nurses Co-Chair Mary Turner. “North Memorial nurses want to provide the care patients need and deserve – and this plan will reduce our ability to provide safe care for every patient.”

“Patient safety has always been my number-one concern,” said North Memorial nurse Monifa Owens, who picketed with her baby son and teen-age daughter.

“We’re out to let our voices be heard for patient safety,” said Angela Oseland, another North Memorial RN. “More nurses are taking more patients, who are sicker and need more care.”

The signs picketers carried told the story: “No to North Memorial Cuts,” “Patients Before Profits,” “Protect Patient Safety,” “Safe Standards Now,” “If Nurses are Outside, Something is Wrong Inside.”

“We’re going to fight for you,” North Memorial MNA Nurses Co-Chair Trent Burns told the crowd.

“The number of people who took the time to stand with us – North Memorial staff who finished a long shift and came straight to the picket line, supporters from around the state as well as nurses from Metro hospitals – and elected officials including House Speaker Paul Thissen and Majority Leader Erin Murphy – are a testament to the importance of this issue,” said MNA President Linda Hamilton. “This was the first time that MNA and SEIU Healthcare served picket notices at the same time and partnered on informational picketing. We are all fighting together for patients.”

“Seeing everyone’s concern and dedication together throughout the day was very encouraging,” said North Memorial MNA Nurses Co-Chair Barbara Gundale. “It shows the strength we have we we stand together. Some nurses stayed the entire 10-hour day because they were so disturbed that picketing was their only way left to protect the minimum staffing we now have.”

Here’s a  new video from the picketing.

Check out this link to the significant body of research that correlates nurse staffing and patient outcomes.