Amid unionization push, some Johns Hopkins nurses say poor working conditions jeopardize patient safety

A group of Johns Hopkins Hospital nurses allege they are unable to provide optimum patient care at the Baltimore-based institution due to workplace issues such as short staffing, according to The Baltimore Sun.

The nurses — who are involved in a campaign to join the National Nurses Organizing Committee — made the allegations during a Dec. 1 town hall meeting organized by the union.  

"This hospital, with its vast resources, could be an example to follow, but the reality within Hopkins is a far cry from the reputation Hopkins enjoys," said nurse Kate Phillips, according to the report. "Our current working conditions prevent us from providing the best care possible."

The comments come amid nurses' unionization push.

Nurses in support of the campaign presented a survey conducted by the union that showed many respondents felt vulnerable to potential workplace injury, and nearly 37 percent reported experiencing workplace violence in the last year.

Nurses opposed to unionization told the Sun they took issue with the survey results presented at the recent town hall meeting because it only involved 175 of the 3,200 nurses at Johns Hopkins.

Marybeth Vidunas, a pediatric nurse educator at the hospital, told the publication she sees the union's claims and data as a misrepresentation.

She "never felt unsafe. I feel that we are staffed appropriately. We're supported really well," Ms. Vidunas said.

Johns Hopkins disputed the nurses' allegations and noted its record for quality.

"The Johns Hopkins Hospital … consistently earns recognition as one of the nation's best hospitals for patient safety and care," Kim Hoppe told Becker's. "Our longstanding culture of collaboration and open communication with all of our employees aims directly at continuously improving and providing the highest quality of care. Our nurses are critical to providing this world-class care to our patients and their families, and we deeply respect their contributions to our organization."

Access the Sun's full report here.


More articles on human capital and risk: 

Kaiser mental health clinicians to walk off job Dec. 10
Pennsylvania hospital nurses barred from work, plan informational picketing
Bus crash sparks concern over safety of Ohio State University medical staff


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