Labor and Health Care Issues
During National Nurses Week, Berkshire Medical Center Nurses to Rally, Highlighting 500+ Unsafe Staffing Forms Filed by RNs
PITTSFIELD, Mass. – Berkshire Medical Center nurses have now filed more than 500 unsafe staffing forms, an unfortunate milestone and evidence of the need for the improvements to patient care conditions that nurses have been seeking for years. Nurses will discuss their experiences at a Rally for Patient Safety during National Nurses Week on Thursday, May 10.
BMC nurses filed 509 unsafe staffing forms between October 2015 and April 2018 – an average of one form every other day for 31 months. The forms are a tool used by nurses to document to hospital management any time they are confronted with care conditions that in their professional judgment are inconsistent with appropriate patient care. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for a spreadsheet with summaries of each form.
“It is unacceptable that these incidents continue unabated,” said RN Alex Neary, Co-Chair of the MNA BMC Bargaining Committee. “Each form represents a time when nurses did not have the time and resources to safely care for their patients. Our patients and community deserve better. We should strive for safe patient care 100 percent of the time and that is why our nurses are advocating now for staffing improvements.”
What: Rally for Patient Safety
When: 4:30 p.m. on Thursday, May 10
Where: Outside BMC at 725 North St. in Pittsfield
BMC nurses held a luncheon for their colleagues to celebrate National Nurses Day on Sunday, May 6. They are also raising money during National Nurses Week for the Elizabeth Freeman Center, a Pittsfield-based non-profit that supports survivors of domestic violence and sexual assault.
On Tuesday, May 8 nurses are hosting a “Dining to Donate” event at PortSmitt's Lakeway Restaurant in Pittsfield from 11 a.m. to midnight. The restaurant will donate 10 percent of the check of anyone who presents a flier from BMC nurses. To receive a flier, email email@example.com.
RN Bargaining Background
The nearly 800 BMC nurses have been negotiating a new contract since September 2016. Nurses held a one-day strike on October 3 and were then locked out of the hospital by BMC management for four additional days. A second 24-hour strike had been scheduled for Tuesday, Feb. 27 but was postponed by the MNA BMC Bargaining Committee, as bargaining continued.
The next negotiating date is May 25.
Founded in 1903, the Massachusetts Nurses Association is the largest union of registered nurses in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Its 23,000 members advance the nursing profession by fostering high standards of nursing practice, promoting the economic and general welfare of nurses in the workplace, projecting a positive and realistic view of nursing, and by lobbying the Legislature and regulatory agencies on health care issues affecting nurses and the public.