Nurses rallied outside Alvarado Hospital in La Mesa Wednesday, pushing for better working conditions and higher pay to retain new and experienced nurses.
Staff rallying in front of the hospital said because of the high turnover, the hospital has become a training ground.
“We train them and we train them very well, but then we can’t keep them,” said Leslie McEwan, who has been training nurses at university for 16 years. “They go work for other hospitals so we’re nothing more than a training camp.”
In the past year, four out of 10 registered nurses have left the hospital for other area hospitals, nurses at the rally said, which adds up to 104 registered nurses in 2015.
Alvarado Hospital said in a statement they value their nurses and are committed to quality, affordable health care.
But nurses at the rally had a different message. They said the hospital does not pay enough to retain nurses, said Maricela Mauricio, a registered nurse who works in the intensive care unit.
“Management is just not seeing what the problem is,” Mauricio said.
Mauricio said many nurses get burned out and walk away.
“You cannot run a hospital only with inexperienced nurses,” said Mauricio.
Alyssa Logan, a nurse at the rally, said she handed in her two weeks’ notice recently – she’ll be working with Sharp Healthcare, where she says there is a better environment and she will get paid about eight dollars more an hour.
Contract negotiations with Alvarado began in June, and since then, hospital officials say the nurses' union has agreed to meet only 11 days, and even canceled negotiations scheduled two days before the nurses' contract expired.
In a statement hospital officials say "stalling negotiations and holding press conferences, such as the one today, are common tactics deployed by unions bargaining with employers. Patient care is not disrupted during these demonstrations and we remain committed to providing the best service to our patients and visitors."
Read Alvarado Hospital’s full statement on the rally:
"Since the first negotiation on June 10, Alvarado Hospital has requested to meet as often as possible with the California Nurses Association (CNA) to reach an agreement for a new three-year contract before the current contract expired on Dec. 31, 2015. The union has agreed to meet with us on only 11 days in the seven months since negotiations began.
On Dec. 29, CNA and Alvarado Hospital were scheduled to meet to continue the collective bargaining negotiations. However, the union canceled the negotiations. Stalling negotiations and holding press conferences, such as the one today, are common tactics deployed by unions bargaining with employers. Patient care is not disrupted during these demonstrations and we remain committed to providing the best service to our patients and visitors.
As Alvarado Hospital values its nurses, we have been bargaining in good faith to offer benefits to our nurses that are consistent with our commitment to providing quality, affordable healthcare. We invite CNA back to the table to reconvene negotiations. We look forward to meeting as frequently as needed to finalize the agreement."