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RENTON – Every patient should receive the best care, and it starts with the right number of staff, say nurses and healthcare workers at Valley Medical Center. Citing concerns that the hospital is denying improvements to staffing and care standards, the workers delivered notice to the hospital of their intent to stand up for care and join with community and elected leaders at an informational picket July 15.

“We struggle to have the staffing to effectively meet patient needs, whether it’s turning a patient every 2 hours or making sure they get up to walk,” said Wanda Gardner, a CNA at the hospital. “They should receive baths on time, and get to the bathroom when they need to go. When the call light goes on, we should be able to answer it. But when we’re short staffed we can’t get to every patient, and that’s why we’re standing up. It’s time for Valley to ensure quality care for every patient at our hospital.”

Currently nurses and healthcare workers have to double up on patient loads to cover co-workers for enough time to eat or take needed breaks. Workers proposed solutions including a guarantee on a maximum patient load and a standard for safe breaks, standards that would ensure patients aren’t “doubled up”, with an additional eye on safety for both staff and patients. The hospital has rejected those solutions.

“As frontline nurses we are patient advocates. We want to meet all of our patient needs, but we struggle to have the right staffing to do that. Patients need guaranteed staffing standards so patients will get what they need, in every unit of the hospital,” said Nance Moore, RN.

Workers will picket before and after their shift and during breaks. The current contract expired June 30, 2015.

Valley Medical Center (Public Hospital District No. One) serves Kent, Renton, two-thirds of Tukwila, and portions of Auburn, Black Diamond, Covington, Federal Way, Maple Valley, Newcastle and Seattle.

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