UMass Memorial Nurses Upset Over Staffing Reductions

Nurses who work at UMass Medical Center in Worcester say several rounds of layoffs have negatively affected patient care. They are demanding a meeting with the the CEO of the health care group that runs the hospital .

The Massachusetts Nurses Association says staffing cuts have led to nurses being responsible for a larger patient load and more duties. They say tasks such as individually watching dangerous patients and setting up IV’s have fallen to nurses. This is because assistants who had done this in past, have been laid off. Lynne Starbard, an RN and a 30 year veteran of UMass Memorial.

“If I’m in with one patient and someone else is waiting for pain med(s), I don’t want to have my patient wait 10, 15 minutes until I can run and try to take care of that patient because I’m with another,” Starbard says. “It’s just not right.”

Nurses’ union representatives outlined their concerns in a letter to UMass Memorial Health Care CEO Eric Dickson, demanding staffing cuts not only stop, but positions be reinstated. In a statement, UMass Memorial says it values its nurses and other staff, and remains committed to appropriate staffing levels in order to provide adequate patient care.