The University of Chicago Medical Center has been moving patients out of its facility this week — including infants and children requiring intensive care — in anticipation of the hospital's unionized nurses' strike planned on Friday.
What are the details?
According to the Chicago Tribune, patients from the hospital's neonatal and pediatric intensive care units have been transferred to other hospitals as UCMC continues to negotiate with the National Nurses Organizing Committee, an affiliate of the National Nurses United union.
"Because of the Union's actions, UCMC has moved thoughtfully and quickly to adjust our operations and lower our census," said a memo from university and hospital leadership. "The safety and care of our patients will always remain our No. 1 priority."
The nurses say they are being stretched too thin; forced to work overtime even following 12-hours shifts, and overwhelmed by high nurse-to-patient ratios. Frustrated health care professionals also told WBBM-TV the hospital needs better security, saying nurses have been physically and verbally attacked by patients and visitors while on the job.
Nurses Protest Staffing Levels At University Of Chicago Medical Center www.youtube.com
In a news release issued by the union, UCMC operating room nurse Marjorie Feria further explained, "We are dealing with some of the smallest, most injured and vulnerable patients, and it is critical that we have nurses who are experts in pediatrics care for these children. But UCMC is not hiring enough nurses, and instead leaning on operating room nurses who do not have the expertise operating on children and burning out the nurses who do. That is simply not fair to these young patients who are often fighting for their lives."
The Chicago walkout is part of a broader, multistate strike led by the NNU. More than 6,500 nurses are expected to participate in the one-day strike on Friday, from hospitals in California, Arizona, Florida, and Illinois.
Business Insider reported that "most nurses who will be participating in the strike are employed with Tenet Healthcare, a multinational health-services company that operates 65 hospitals and 500 other healthcare facilities."