The registered nurses working at Norwood Hospital, and supporters will hold a community rally on Wednesday, April 1, from 4 p.m. to 6 p.m. to call attention to the nurses’ hopes of protecting and advancing patient care at the hospital. The rally will be held at the Aaron Guild Park near the hospital inside Washington, Central and Guild Streets in Norwood.
The hospital’s 439 nurses, who are members of Massachusetts Nurses Association/National Nurses United (MNA/NNU), have been in negotiations with hospital’s owners since February of 2014 on issues such as how to improve their work environment, how to provide the safest, quality patient care possible, and how to support each other in the very difficult and valuable work they do. Bargaining with the for-profit owners of Norwood Hospital, Steward Health Care, has been slow to progress.
One area of great concern to the RNs is the low number of staff nurses who are available to care for community members who are admitted to the hospital. To make due, exhausted nurses often work hours beyond their shifts or work extra unscheduled shifts.
According to Kathy Reardon, RN, co-chair of the MNA bargaining unit at Norwood Hospital, “We are coming together with our friends and supporters in the community to say, be fair to those who care. This is our community hospital, it is a precious resource and it’s up to all of us to defend, protect and advance the quality of care and the mission of our hospital.”
Says Joe Cavanaugh, RN, “When I grew up next door in Westwood, nobody wanted to come to Norwood Hospital. That was years ago. We worked hard to make this a hospital to be proud of. I’m proud when friends ask me if I’m working in the E.R. tonight, because they’re going to bring their kid in. We want to make sure this keeps being a place we can be proud of.”
Joan Ballantyne, RN, co-chair of the MNA bargaining unit at the hospital, also commented on the relationship with the community. “We are holding this rally because the community needs to protect this hospital. We have to make sure it remains healthy and that we caregivers are capable of providing the best care.”