PALM SPRINGS, Calif.- - Nurses at two local hospitals were walking picket lines for a planned one-day strike Friday.
According to the California Nurses Association, the 921 registered nurses at Desert Regional Medical Center in Palm Springs and the Hi-Desert Medical Center in Joshua Tree were planning to hold a one-day strike on Sep. 20 in order to urge hospital management to "invest in nursing staff." Nurses argue that this will help with the "recruitment and retention of experienced RNs, and ensure optimal patient care."
Nurses were seen walking outside Desert Regional Medical Center Friday morning.
Some nurses that spoke with News Channel 3 said they feel the hospital's "on call" policy is unfair and that nurses are not getting adequate rest periods. "Studies show that nurses when they're rested and they're allowed their break coverages and they're allowed their meal breaks they're less likely to be fatigued and they're less likely to make mistakes, and patients ultimately benefit from that," said Nicolette Afan, Registered Nurse, Desert Regional Medical Center.
Contract negotiations between nurses and management remain ongoing.
"I grew up in this community I'm from here this is my home...our community deserves the best patient care possible and that first starts with Tenet investing in its nurses and nursing staff," added Afan.
In a statement, Todd Burke, spokesperson for Tenet Healthcare, the company that operates Desert Regional and Hi-Desert medical centers, said despite the strike, patients will continue to receive care from qualified caregivers.
"While we respect the nurses' right to strike, patients and their loved ones can be assured that our patients will continue to be cared for by qualified replacement registered nurses and other caregivers during any strike action," Burke wrote.
The local strikes are part of a series of strikes by CNA registered RNs at Tenet Healthcare operated hospitals across the country on the same day.
Tenet Healthcare also operates JFK Memorial Hospital in Indio. At this time, nurses at JFK are not a part of the one-day strike.
Stay with News Channel 3 for continuing updates.
Full statement from Todd Burke, spokesperson for Tenet Health, on one-day strike:
"The California Nurses Association, the labor union that represents many of our California nurses, has announced its intention to hold a strike on September 20 at Desert a Regional Medical Center and Hi-Desert Medical Center.
We have been negotiating in good faith with union representatives over the last few months in an effort to reach a new contract. We are disappointed that the union is taking this approach. We have made progress toward a new contract and will continue to negotiate in hopes of reaching a successful resolution.
We value our relationship with all our employees and we are committed to resolving the contract negotiations. While we respect the nurses' right to strike, patients and their loved ones can be assured that our patients will continue to be cared for by qualified replacement registered nurses and other caregivers during any strike action.
We remain focused on providing safe, quality care to our patients."
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