Understaffing is hurting patients, Zuckerberg nurses tell health panel

A group of Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital nurses allege staffing is inadequate at the facility and that patient care is suffering due to high workloads, according to a San Francisco Examiner report.

The nurses, represented by Service Employees International Union 1021, made the allegations during a Jan. 22 meeting of the San Francisco Health Commission Joint Conference Committee for Zuckerberg hospital.

They say the hospital is chronically understaffed due to a leaner workflow, leaving them overworked and patients without the highest level of care, according to the report. Zuckerberg hospital also may be violating California's nurse-to-patient ratio law, the nurses said.

But hospital spokesperson Brent Andrew told Becker's that California's health department investigated a staffing complaint last year and found no violations. No citations were given.

Nurses attribute many staffing issues to the hospital's transition to a new management system, Lean, and EHR, Epic. Zuckerberg hospital registered nurse Sasha Cuttler stated in the report: "Their hope is that [Lean] will ultimately lead to being more efficient and make patients happier, but we are not an assembly line… and speed is not the most important virtue when it comes to safety."

Mr. Andrew said Lean is a management system used at the hospital and high-performing hospitals nationally, that is designed to "facilitate better patient-focus, constant improvement in our processes, and greater employee engagement in idea-generation and decision-making," and isn't "a job-reduction strategy."

No job cuts will occur as a result of the Epic EHR transition, and staff required to use the system will be fully trained and supported, he said.

 

More articles on human capital and risk:

California's St. Joseph Hospital workers to protest layoffs
Pennsylvania hospital nurses, in talks over a year, set strike date
Rhode Island hospital workers ratify labor deal

 

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