CapeCod.com: Officials from the Massachusetts Nurses Association (MNA) teamed up with a group of about ten Registered Nurses employed at Cape Cod Hospital on Tuesday as part of the patient safety advocates “Truth Tour”, a campaign backed by MNA to raise public support for implementing the proposed Safe Patient Limits bill.Nurses at Cape Cod Hospital say they are overwhelmed at work because they’re forced by management to treat seven or even eight patients at once during their shifts. They add that the understaffing of bedside nurses at the hospital presents safety risks to patients, as nurses are left to decide which patient should be treated first while the others are left with no assistance.
Shannon Sherman has been a Registered Nurse at Cape Cod Hospital for 17 years. She says the control and care of patients has been completely taken out of the hands of nursing staff and “strictly given to management.”
“So, if I was to speak to a manager and say ‘I needed less patients because I have someone who is critically ill,’ they would say ‘You have five patients, make do with what you have,’” Sherman explained. “We’ve been willing to go to the table and talk to management for years and they refuse to have the conversation about ratios and what’s safe for the patient. We want to take back the control and say what’s right for our patients in the care that they receive.”
Sherman adds that hospital officials have been spreading false claims about the potential consequences of the Safe Patients Limits bill being passed. She says the hospital has spread false rumors about the government imposing “strict, rigid ratios” on hospitals across the state if the ballot is passed.
“I really implore Cape Cod Hospital and upper management to listen and to stop spreading lies. All we want to do is take care of our patients safely,” Sherman said.
MNA President Donna Kelly-Williams attended the Tour’s stop in Hyannis, bringing along with her a private bus displaying the message “Nurses Say Yes On 1. Safety Patient Limits. November 6 2018.” She and other nurses affiliated with MNA wrote the actual legislation for the ballot.
Kelly-Williams argues that the hospital has not only refused to hire additional nursing staff, but have also been disingenuous about the financial impacts associated with it. She adds that another falsehood portrayed by similar hospitals across the state is an inefficient supply of nurses in the workforce to support safer patient limits.
“In Massachusetts we have more nurses per capita than any other state in the United States with the exception of South Dakota,” Kelly-Williams argued. “What we do have are nurses that are not willing to work under these conditions. They’ve gone through all of the schooling, they’ve gotten their license, they have worked for a while and have finally said, ‘I can’t do this, it’s not safe.’”
Candidate for State Rep. of the 5th Barnstable District Jack Stanton also attended. Stanton has been endorsed by the MNA for his support of the ballot initiative.