KING CITY, Calif. - Nurses and supporters stood in unity Monday evening at a vigil for workers who lost their jobs after recent staffing cuts at Mee Memorial Hospital in King City. They fought for what they call patient safety and health care workers' jobs.
After recent layoffs of a reported 40-plus employees, nurses say they’re concerned about short staffing. Another concern is management requiring nurses to work in units outside their expertise and experience.
They said this is putting patient care at risk. They’re now taking a stand for the patients they treat on a daily basis.
“We’re coming out to support them to try to keep the hospital open. There have been many services that have already been shut down,” said Margie Saiz, a registered nurse who works in the Labor and Delivery Unit.
Saiz has been a nurse for more than 30 years and has been working at Mee Memorial Hospital for just over 5 years. She told KION she's already seen the negative impacts the staffing cuts have had on patients.
Nurses banged on drums and rang bells outside the hospital Monday; they got support from drivers passing by who honked and waved. Locals KION spoke with shared the same concerns as the nurses at the vigil.
The healthcare facility is one many people in the community rely on.
“It’s very important to the local residents that we have a place to go and to know that we’re losing whole departments, it’s a scary thing. I just don’t want to see the hospital fold,” King City resident Connie Bauer said.
Nurse of more than 30 years Margie Saiz has been working at Mee Memorial for more than 5 years.
She tells me she’s ALREADY seen the negative impacts the staffing cuts have had on patients.
“The under staffing has reached really dangerous levels. For example, in the OB unit, there have been some shifts at night where there are zero labor and delivery nurses schedule and as a result they have had to shut down the unit and patients are triaged in the ER,” Saiz said.
The nurses fighting for change said they have made attempts to bring concerns to management but feel they are not seeing enough movement.
Now, they are getting the public involved. Concerned residents and hospital staff signed a petition urging the hospital’s CEO and President to hold a town hall meeting to address recent staffing cuts, unit closures, and concerns over patient care.
Nurses and labor union representatives plan to submit the petition to the hospital’s Board of Trustees later this week.
KION reached out to the hospital for comment, but did not receive a response.