Nurses blame SLU Hospital management for staffing woes

Several nurses at St. Louis University Hospital protested June 3 to raise awareness about working conditions at the hospital, St. Louis on the Air reported on July 14. Nurses said their departments are regularly understaffed and that hospital management has not done enough to address their concerns. They also want management to put more effort into hiring and retaining staff.

Rita Reed retired after working for SSM Health for 46 years and said her decision to leave was partly based on issues she and her fellow nurses had with management. 

"Nurses know that it's hard work. Nurses are not running away from hard work; that's not the issue. The issue is the unnecessary stress that's placed on nurses," Ms. Reed said. 

SSM Health RN Sarah DeWilde, the union steward for her unit, said July 14 that conditions have not improved since their protest in June. She also said she anticipates a tough fight on the next contract.

"We have been giving [management], over months and even years, recommendations [regarding] what would make nurses happy, what would make nurses want to stay," Ms. DeWilde said.

In a statement provided to St. Louis on the Air, an SSM Health Saint Louis University Hospital spokesperson called the complaints from DeWilde and her colleagues "counterproductive" and "erroneous." The spokesperson said the hospital has engaged in a robust effort to fill open clinical staff positions.

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