Florida hospital nurses protest working conditions amid pandemic

Nurses at Blake Medical Center in Bradenton, Fla., protested July 3, saying working conditions are unsafe as COVID-19 cases spike in the state, according to MedPage Today.

The protest was called by members of National Nurses Organizing Committee-Florida, which represents the hospital's nurses. The union, an affiliate of National Nurses United, said in a statement that the nurses were protesting against hospital management for several reasons, including it failure to notify RNs when they have been exposed to COVID-19 and requiring exposed RNs to continue working until they display symptoms of the virus.

The nurses also allege that the hospital failed to provide replacements for broken masks and threatened nurses with discipline for raising safety concerns.

In a statement shared with Becker's Hospital Review, Blake Medical Center said that it "has been doing everything in our power to protect our caregivers and patient care teams throughout the pandemic and equip them to provide safe, effective care to our patients."

The hospital also said it has provided appropriate personal protective gear to its caregivers and that it will "continue to provide safeguards that are consistent with CDC guidelines and help ensure the protection of our colleagues, not only today, but into the future as the pandemic evolves."

But Blake Medical Center nurses said that at least 10 patients in the hospital have tested positive for the coronavirus outside of COVID-19 units. Additionally, four nurses have tested positive for the virus since late May, the union said.

"With the virus spiking here and throughout Florida, now is the worst time to be ignoring dangerous safety conditions at the hospital," said Kim Brooks, a registered nurse at the hospital.

The union has filed complaints with the Occupational Safety and Health Administration.

As of July 7, Florida has reported more than 206,000 COVID-19 cases and over 3,700 deaths, according to a New York Times database.

More articles on human resources:
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