Ascension denies claims of blocking safe NICU staffing ahead of strike

Just a day out from scheduled strikes at Ascension locations in Texas and Kansas, health system leaders are refuting claims of unsafe staffing levels at one of its NICU locations.

Nurses at Ascension Seton Medical Center in Austin, Texas, allege that a supervisor at the hospital did not allow a nurse in the NICU to staff her shift in advance of the strike slated for Dec. 6, which left the unit understaffed, they claim.

"It is deeply disturbing that … management, who claim to be 'leadership' — would even attempt to deny a nurse her shift in anticipation of the strike. In the process, they are ultimately denying our most vulnerable patients, in this case babies in our NICU, the care they deserve," Alycia Lendo, RN, in the hospital's NICU stated in a Dec. 4 news release published by National Nurses United.

However, an Ascension spokesperson shared with Becker's that the unit was staffed, and the nurse who reported for the shift was not actually scheduled to work at all. 

"As always, our neonatology intensive care unit was appropriately and safely staffed, and the nurse who reported to work was not scheduled to work that shift," the spokesperson said.

The scheduled Ascension nurse strikes will affect locations in Texas and Kansas. This will mark the system's second round of strikes this year. 

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