Nurses speak out on plans for nurse educator layoffs at Cambridge Health Alliance

The Massachusetts Nurses Association held a press conference June 5 opposing Cambridge (Mass.) Health Alliance's plan to lay off five nurse educators at two hospitals, saying the move will mean less support for new nurses and negatively affect retention. 

In late May, the health system notified employees of plans to lay off 69 people, trim the hours of 15 others and eliminate 170 open positions in response to ongoing financial and operational pressures. A spokesperson for the system previously told Becker's the reductions were primarily in management, administrative and support areas, and said it plans to rehire more than half of affected employees into new positions. 

The MNA — which represents 902 unionized nurses and healthcare workers at three Cambridge Health Alliance campuses — said the system's plan to cut two nurse educator positions from Cambridge Hospital and three from CHA Everett will create a new configuration where one nurse educator will oversee a service line across three hospitals. Nurses noted that the system continues to rely on travel nurses and new nurses who need more support from educators. 

"With this decision by management, a new nurse on any given floor at any given time will likely need to wait three times longer to get the support of a nurse educator," Jennifer Ouimette, RN,  nurse and union bargaining committee member at CHA Everett. "These nurses will struggle, and their patients will suffer as a result." 

MNA members working at CHA hospitals are in contract talks and plan to raise the issue of layoffs. Their current contract expires June 30. 

"After very careful considertion, we decided to restructure our nursing education department," as part of the recent staffing reductions, a spokesperson for CHA told Becker's in a June 5 statement. "We wanted to ensure that patient-facing nurses were not impacted, and while some educators may support units across hospitals, some will not. We feel confident we can meet the educational needs of our staff with our restructured nursing education department."



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