Saint Louis University Hospital nurses target administration in no-confidence vote

Nurses at SSM Health Saint Louis University Hospital in St. Louis have taken a no-confidence vote in administration, specifically calling out Chief Nursing Officer Rita Fowler, MSN, and Human Resources Director Chris Greenley.

National Nurses Organizing Committee/National Nurses United, which announced the vote in an April 27 news release, said the vote took place between April 20 and April 24 "because decisions made by SLU Hospital administration have been detrimental to staff recruitment and retention, and therefore patient care."

Ninety-three percent of participants, and a majority of all eligible nurses, voted no confidence in the leadership of Ms. Fowler and Mr. Greenley, the union said.

Union leaders specifically cited a vacancy rate that they said has grown significantly at the hospital. They also allege that staffing numbers continue to worsen; that Mr. Greenley and Ms. Fowler have not taken nurses' suggestions to improve retention, morale and safety; that the hospital failed on promises to offer retention bonuses and increase hiring bonuses; and that the hospital announced plans to open more beds despite nurses' staffing and safety concerns.

In a statement shared with Becker's, the hospital expressed gratitude for its staff and noted the significant challenges U.S. hospitals are facing because of the COVID-19 pandemic, including a shortage of nurses and healthcare professionals.

"Now, more than ever, we must work together to meet the needs of those who depend on us for care," the statement said. "We are disappointed the [union] has chosen to make inaccurate, misleading and counterproductive claims that paint a negative image of our hospital and the life-saving care our team provides."

The statement also said SSM Health has made significant investments in recruitment efforts, including competitive compensation, career development and growth opportunities, and programs to support employee physical, emotional, social and spiritual well-being.

National Nurses Organizing Committee represents more than 550 nurses at Saint Louis University Hospital. The nurses' contract expires next year.

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