When Staffing Is Compromised, Patient Care Suffers
Nurses at Shore Medical Center in Somers Point (formerly Shore Memorial Hospital) have been attempting to negotiate a new contract since September 2014, with a specific focus on safe patient care and retention of well-trained and experienced nurses. The hospital has outsourced critical housekeeping jobs and cut nursing positions through attrition, which has had a direct impact on safe patient care. The longer the nurses are forced to work in an understaffed, stressful and uncompromising environment, the more patient care will suffer.
A just-released September 2015 Consumer Reports study found Shore Medical Center to be one of the country’s 18 worst hospitals for preventing dangerous bacteria-based infections. Read the report by CLICKING HERE.
The risk of developing a serious infection puts patients, the community, and hospital employees at unnecessary risk. A hospital’s No. 1 priority should be safety, and safe patient care should be led by the nurses.
In addition to failing to address safe patient care during the nurses’ negotiations, Shore Medical Center has proposed drastic reductions in wages and benefits for the staff nurses, which will not save the Medical Center money. Example in point, the Shore Nurses Union proposed a lower cost health benefits plan that would save the Medical Center $1.3 million over three years, but the hospital rejected it. Nurses and community members were shocked because these savings could be used to improve patient safety, patient care and ultimately be more fiscally responsible.
Shore Medical Center executives are paid salaries that far exceed top earners at other New Jersey hospitals, according to the Medical Center’s own financial records. The hospital also provides less charity care to our community members who can’t afford to pay, and yet they have more than $65 million in cash set aside by the Board of Directors for no designated purpose. Having a large cash reserve is typical of a for-profit mega corporation, not a non-profit community hospital in Southern New Jersey.
We ask you to stand with the nurses at Shore Medical Center until their dispute is resolved and contract is settled. Patients and the community win when the nurses are treated fairly for the hard work they do, and Shore Medical Center is adequately staffed to meet safety standards. The Shore Nurses Union/NYSNA represents more than 340 registered nurses at Shore Medical Center in Somers Point.