Local nurses protest to raise awareness of nursing shortage

OSCEOLA COUNTY, Fla. — Osceola County nurses protested to raise awareness of the ongoing nursing shortage.

They pleaded for change and more support in the workplace.

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“Today is a day of action. Nurses across the country are standing outside to make the public aware of what’s happening inside the buildings,” said Chris Spencer, a nurse.

The nurses work at Osceola Regional Medical Center. The protest was organized by the National Nurses Union.

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Nurses said they need more staffing.

Studies have shown that when nurses are assigned too many patients to safely care for at once, the patients are at an increased risk for preventable medical errors and even death.

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NNU conducted a survey of thousands of its members. It found 82.5% of nurses who responded said the majority of their shifts were unsafely staffed. 68% said they considered leaving their position.

“What these hospitals need to do is increase staffing so we can properly take care of these patients,” Spencer said. “There isn’t a nursing shortage. There’s a shortage of nursing.”

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The Osceola Regional Medical Center released the following statement regarding the protest:

“Here at Osceola Regional Medical Center, the safety of our patients and caregivers is our number one priority, especially as we contend with the latest surge of COVID-19 here in Orlando.

“In order to keep our colleagues and our patients safe, we have a number of policies in place to protect our entire hospital against COVID, including requiring universal masking for employees and visitors, providing all team members with the necessary PPE (including N95s,) and complying with infection control best practices.

“As we have done throughout the pandemic, we continue to follow guidance from the CDC and our own infectious disease experts when it comes to quarantining due to COVID. Team members who are isolating due to a positive test will continue to be paid during the time period recommended by the CDC for quarantining, and there are resources available to help our colleagues who need it.

“Our Osceola Regional Medical Center team has been working extremely hard – both during this latest surge and for the past two-plus years as we’ve battled COVID – and we’re proud of how everyone has worked together to provide high-quality care to our patients during this critical time.

“Our fight against COVID is not over quite yet, and external activity like the upcoming NNU day of action will not distract from our focus of caring for our Orlando community. We will continue to work tirelessly to keep our entire Osceola Regional Medical Center family safe so we can provide high-quality care to the patients and communities we serve.

“As always, we want our patients to know that we are all in this together – Osceola Regional Medical Center will remain a steadfast resource for care for our community during COVID-19 and beyond.”

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Q Mccray

Q McCray, WFTV.com

Q McCray is an award-winning general assignment reporter.