Nurses resign after California hospital cuts part-time work

Some nurses have left Watsonville (Calif.) Community Hospital after the hospital eliminated most of its part-time roles, multiple local sources have reported. 

In 2022, the Pajaro Valley Healthcare board of directors approved a decision that would require most nurses to work full time, The Pajaronian reported June 15.

On June 13, around 100 nurses protested the change, alleging the decrease in work-life balance was causing nurses to leave. Ninety percent of the nurse workforce was converted to full time, according to Lookout Santa Cruz

Annabelle Covington, RN, who has worked in the hospital's labor and delivery department for 21 years, said that 42 nurses have left as a result of the decision; Quiché Rubalcava, RN, who has served 20 years in the emergency unit, affirmed that number. 

"We are asking the employer to reconsider," Ms. Covington told The Pajaronian. "We need to retain and recruit nurses, and in order to do that we need more part-time positions."

However, Matko Vranjes, the hospital's interim CEO, said only 29 benefited nurses have left since Aug. 31, only three of whom were part-time workers who may have resigned because of the decision. He said the hospital chose to cut part-time labor because of an unsustainable overtime pay rate. 

"The previous model wasn't sustainable," Mr. Vranjes told The Pajaronian. "You can't continue to pay higher-than-normal rates for staffing and be successful."

The California Nurses Association is preparing to go into contract negotiations with the hospital in July with the hope of restoring part-time positions. Becker's has reached out to the hospital and will update this story if more information becomes available.

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