Crozer-Chester Medical Center nurses say there's a staffing crisis at the hospital

Nurses said they feel like they are given too many patients per shift and they can't safely tend to each one.
UPLAND, Pennsylvania (WPVI) -- Nurses from Crozer Chester Medical Center in Upland, Pennsylvania held an informational picket Thursday outside the hospital, holding up signs to call attention to what they say is a staffing crisis.

"We don't feel we're able to give safe, quality care to these patients," said Peggy Malone, the vice president of Crozer Chester Nurses Association.

Nurses who spoke with Action News said they feel like they are given too many patients per shift and they can't safely tend to each one.

These issues have been going on for years, but nurses said they have been amplified because of the COVID-19 pandemic.

According to a recent survey by the American Association of Critical Care Nurses, 66% of the nurses surveyed considered leaving their jobs because of the pandemic.

To help with the issue, there's a bill in the House aimed to set a safe ratio for patients to nurses in Pennsylvania.

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"We are here today supporting PASNAP nurses, and calling for the passage of House Bill 106, which is the patient safety act in Pennsylvania, and what we want to do is set safe patient ratios for our nurses," said Rep. Jennifer O'Mara of the 165th legislative district.

O'Mara added hospitals like Crozer don't need to wait for state legislation to pass to change the number of patients each nurse tends to per shift.

"Management doesn't need a bill passed in order to do the right thing, and set these ratios for their own hospitals. They are choosing to wait for the state to act," said O'Mara.

The Hospital and Healthsystem Association of Pennsylvania works with policymakers in the Department of Health to make sure that patients are receiving the right care at the right time.

Robert Shipp, the association's vice president, said now is the time to look for support services to keep them employed.

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"Putting in a ratio like that, just a blanket ratio, would probably make the situation worse at this point," said Shipp. He noted there are many nurse vacancies across Pennsylvania.

"Hospitals at this point in the pandemic - going into the fall - cases are on the rise, flu season is right ahead, now's not the time to put additional restrictions in place because we need those flexibilities to be able to care for everybody that needs help and assistance," said Shipp.
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