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Riverside Community Hospital Nurses Say They Are Understaffed And Don't Have Enough PPE

Nurses are on day two of protesting in Riverside. (Photo credit Erik Andrews/LAist)
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Nurses are two days into a 10-day strike at the Riverside Community Hospital.

Rapid response nurse Erik Andrews says the nurse-to-patient-ratio has gotten worse since the pandemic. And now there aren't enough nurses to cover patients while others are on a meal or relief break. "No nurse is just going to walk away from their patients to go and take their lunch break. You have to actually be relieved by another nurse who has the same competencies that you do," Andrews told LAist.

Andrews says he often works 10 hours straight without food, water, or a bathroom break becuase no one is available to relieve him.

Riverside Community Hospital is operated by HCA Healthcare. Spokesperson Sunnye Owens-Garrett disputes the staffing complaint. "Now more than ever is the time when our patients and our community need Riverside Community Hospital the most. And we’re really frankly disappointed that the union has chosen this particular time frame [to strike]," he said.

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The two sides also disagree on the adequacy of Personal Protective Equipment provided to nurses. At least 60 nurses at Riverside Community Hospital have tested positive for COVID 19 since the pandemic began. Two hospital employees have died.

Owens-Garrett says the hospital has brought in 400 contract nurses to cover the strikers.

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