BUFFALO, N.Y. — Nurses at the Buffalo VA Medical Center hit the picket line Tuesday morning to protest working conditions at the hospital.
National Nurses United (NNU) say they are fighting for safe staffing and patient care.
“We’ve seen a downward spiral of nurses leaving, staffing getting even worse, and more nurses leaving,” Mary Brady, Nurse Practitioner, an NNU leader said in a press release. “That’s why we need management to agree to more flexibility in nurse scheduling. When management leaves nurses behind, they leave patients behind, too.”
Nurses on the picket line say that rotating schedules is causing them to work 20 hour shifts, which is having an impact on the level of care they provide to their patients.
"One of the issues that we find is that we can get nurses here, but they don't stay because of the rotation of the schedule. If your body won't let you work nights because you have high blood pressure, diabetic, anything like that, and you have to rotate, it throws your internal body clock off. We have nurses who want to work straight nights, or straight evenings or straight days and they say no, you have to rotate and that causes problems," Kimberly Wallace, a nurse protesting Tuesday, said.
The union says management hasn't addressed the issue at this time.
NNU represents around 380 registered nurses at Buffalo VAMC.
2 On Your Side has reached out the medical center for a response and this is their statement:
“VA nurses have served on the front lines of Veteran care, ensuring that each patient receives the quality health care and services they have earned and deserve. Throughout the COVID-19 pandemic, our nurses have worked tirelessly providing the compassionate care VA nurses are known for. VA could not be more proud of their individual and collective contributions and sacrifices. We are vigorously pursuing multiple actions necessary to recruit and retain our nursing workforce. These actions, pursued across the Nation and at the Department level, are aimed at addressing the concerns of VA nursing.”