UCSF nurses allege 'crisis' working conditions

Registered nurses at the University of California San Francisco will rally outside the hospital on Feb. 28 to protest "crisis conditions," which they allege are caused by unsafe staffing ratios. 

The hospital is allegedly violating California's nurse-to-patient staffing law, according to a Feb. 26 news release from the California Nurses Association, which represents more than 18,000 nurses at the University of California. As a result, nurses say the hospital is overcrowded with patients. 

"We have patients who have been boarded in the emergency department hallway for days, if not longer, leading to further harm for community members already experiencing one of the worst days of their lives," Jacob Roush, RN, an emergency department nurse and CNA representative, said in the news release. "The infuriating and demoralizing reality is that UCSF can no longer function as the primary provider of emergency medical care in our community. It is the inevitable result of management's failure to adequately plan for surges and address its staffing crisis."

Additionally, nurses are asking the hospital to stop putting two patients in one room — a practice granted by state "space waivers" during the pandemic. The nurses say doubling up in rooms eliminates patient privacy, and the cramped space creates safety issues for caregivers. 

"Like hospitals across the country, UCSF Medical Center continues to be impacted by the combination of healthcare staffing shortages and high volumes of patients — many presenting with complex care needs and behavioral health diagnoses," the health system told Becker's. "This nationwide challenge is particularly acute in California, with a projected statewide shortage of more than 40,000 full-time equivalent RNs projected through 2026. That shortage impacts both hospitals and the care facilities where we would discharge patients who require continued care outside a specialty care hospital. In San Francisco, we face the added challenge of citywide involuntary hospitalizations for mental health holds numbering 13,000 annually and growing." 

"UCSF Medical Center leadership has been actively working for many months to address these challenges, which enabled us to effectively address last week’s acute needs in this area," the health system continued. "These efforts include maximizing hospital staffing to enable us to see more patients, improving workflows and allocating staff to discharge patients more efficiently, and identifying other San Francisco hospitals that currently have capacity and can provide the level of care our patients require."

The health system said it is required to comply with the state's public health department requirements — including staffing ratios and use of space — and that safety remains its top priority. 

Copyright © 2024 Becker's Healthcare. All Rights Reserved. Privacy Policy. Cookie Policy. Linking and Reprinting Policy.


Featured Whitepapers

Featured Webinars