San Diego isn’t the only Californian city to see nurses stand up for themselves this year as Los Angeles nursing labor union announced a strike, which would have commenced this week. The nursing representatives warned the LA County government that they’d see a lack of medical support this week as nurses walked out on Tuesday morning.
Nurses play an integral role in the healthcare community of California. In many cases patients see nurses more than they see an actual doctor. This means huge waves in the medical system should nurses walk away from their duties and leave patients high and dry.
Fortunately, Los Angeles County received good news when nurses and their union reps were able to reach an agreement with the county government to avoid a strike. The deal was pounded out late Monday night in an effort to avoid the impending strike, and while there isn’t word yet on how much the nurses gave up in order to accept the deal, it looks like LA will have proper healthcare throughout the holidays.
Los Angeles nurses are notoriously overworked, especially those in emergency room units. From standing on their feet for hours on end without proper breaks or meals, to understaffing causing back to back shifts for some workers, nurses have had enough.
The same type of turmoil has been seen with San Diego nurses of late; two different hospitals in the city saw a similar situation with strikes and even threat of lawsuits. This deal between LA and the nursing union could mean good things for nurses across California, giving hope to those who are in a similar situation of feeling overworked and underpaid.
The president of the union representing the nurses, Bob Schoonover has reported his delight in the recent settlement. He’s suggested that nurses have been working hard for their patients without any empathy or thanks from employers. Without appropriate working conditions, nurses were beginning to feel that they were unable to properly treat patients, making it dangerous for some of them to remain on the job while overtired and overworked.
The lack of appropriate working conditions also began to cause a high turnover rate, especially among hospital staff. This left residual nurses with huge caseloads they were unable to manage. While there are more than 7-thousand nurses working the ER, OR, and ICU at any given time in California, the numbers have begun to dwindle in passing years. Only 200 were deemed essential for patient safety and would have continued working through the strike to keep their patients healthy.
With the recent agreement met, it looks like nurses will continue to work their shifts, patients will continue to receive care, and all will be right in Los Angeles. Will this set the tone for San Diego and other cities across California facing nursing shortages? This is yet to be seen, but the end of the strike threat is certainly good news for Los Angeles nurses and residents, and hopefully marks the beginning of a better working environment for medical staff around the city.