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Letter: Catholic Health needs to address safe staffing

Catholic Health needs to address safe staffing

I am writing in regard to the Aug. 9 News article, “Amid bargaining, report criticizes staffing at Catholic Health hospitals.”

Catholic Health’s response to the ongoing contract dispute covered in The News has been misleading to the public and insulting to us, its employees. It still fails to live up to the numbers that prove the turnover of nurses at Catholic Health was over four times the turnover of nurses at Kaleida Health last year.

Catholic Health ignores that one of our top priorities in these negotiations is safe staffing. It has enormous turnover because it refuses to pay decent salaries in line with what other hospitals in the area pay. This leads to constant short staffing that puts patients at risk.

As nurses, we care for the sickest of the sick. We have watched the staffing levels steadily decline over the years. Patients who would have been in the ICU in the past are today out on the floors instead.

These are patients who have multiple critical IV medications that must be monitored and titrated, patients on cardiac monitors who must be observed on an almost constant basis and patients on ventilators that keep them alive.

We want to give the best care to these patients. Many of them are people we know from the community. Yet we cannot give the best care under the current circumstances. Staffing levels are way too low.

We have good, quality nurses leaving on a daily basis because of the short staffing. The staff at Catholic Health deserves better. More importantly, so do the patients.

Brittaney West, R.N. B.S.N.

Catholic Health, Mercy Hospital

Buffalo

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