Years of understaffing exacerbated by the pandemic lead to a loss of 40% of nursing staff at the Northeast Hospital Corporation (Beverly Hospital and Addison Gilbert Hospital in Gloucester) over the past three years

The mass resignation of North Shore nurses is the latest manifestation of a statewide nursing crisis as hospital corporations like Northeast Hospital Corp sacrifice nursing care and patient safety to increase their profit margins

NHC nurses are the lowest paid nurses in the region, while the NHC along with its parent company, Beth Israel – Lahey Health, is one of the most profitable healthcare systems in the Commonwealth.

BEVERLY, Mass., February 3, 2022 /PRNewswire/ — Nurses at Northeast Hospital Corp. (NHC) have reached the limit of their endurance, after years of understaffing, excessive patient loads, management‘s use of forced overtime, and the dangers and challenges of providing patient care during the worst public health crisis in our nation’s history – all resulting in an unprecedented 40% loss of hospital nursing staff since July 2019and the loss of over 100 nurses in the last five months alone. A breakdown of nursing staff can be found at the end of this press release.

Northeast Hospital Corporation is owned by Beth Israel Lahey Health System and includes Beverly Hospital, Addison Gilbert Hospital in Gloucesterand the Lahey Ambulatory Center in Danvers.

“For many nurses at Northeast Health, working in this system under these staffing conditions for so many years has been compared to being on the Titanic. We’ve hit the iceberg, the pandemic, and now we’re sinking,” said Larn Beard. , registered nurse, nursing specialist at Beverly Hospital, and co-chair of the local nurses’ bargaining unit with the Massachusetts Nurses Association. “Rather than deal with our ongoing staffing crisis and do what they need to do to retain and recruit experienced nurses, this administration seems to accept that we will continue to bleed staff,” Beard added.

“The devastation of seeing our community suffer unites the nurses at Beverly Hospital and Addison Gilbert Hospital. the nurses left, and the majority of them were brilliant, compassionate carers who felt unsafe, understaffed and underpaid,” said Arianna Marquis, RN, a nurse who worked on one of Beverly Hospital’s medical-surgical/telemetry floors for 11 years. “New graduate nurses express burnout so early in their careers and fear for their licenses. Experienced nurses constantly find themselves grieving for the exceptional care they were unable to provide through no fault of their own. Love for our community and staying co-workers is what keeps me and others at the hospital, but the future of this facility is in the hands of our administration and their willingness to accommodate our concerns and to negotiate appropriate solutions. I hope we can mutually agree that patient safety should always be the first priority.”

For its part, Northeast Hospital Corp., rather than taking aggressive steps to recruit nurses to the hospital, the administration for years resorted to the dangerous practice of using compulsory overtime, forcing a nurse to work overtime or a full shift, to compensate for their inability to have the appropriate staff to provide patient care. In 2012, the state passed a law banning its use in state acute care hospitals, but the NHC had until recently insisted on a contractual exception to the law and ordered mandatory overtime at a higher rate. higher than any hospital in Mass. NHC nurses have been the subject of 83 warrants September 2020 through August 2021, with an average forced overtime time of 6.1 hours beyond the IA shift. Remember that peer-reviewed research shows that nurses who work mandatory overtime are more likely to make errors in their care.

Adding insult to the continued hurt feelings faced by nurses working under these untenable conditions, NHC nurses are among the lowest paid nurses in the region, while the NHC is one of the most profitable hospital systems in the world. ‘state, even during the pandemic.

Northeast nurses are paid 11% to 16% less than nurses at other MNA-represented hospitals within 30 miles, including Lawrence General Hospital and North Shore Medical Center, despite the fact that NHC hospitals enjoy a profit margin of 12.8%, more than five times the state average. (Source: Mass Commission on Healthcare Information and Analysis Hospital Profiles for 2020, published 09/21/2020).

To deal with the crisis, the nurses are currently in negotiations for a new contract which she hopes will include the addition of additional nurses, as well as salary and differential increases to allow the hospital to recruit. and retain the necessary staff. They are also reaching out to local public authorities and the public to increase pressure on BI-Lahey to put patients’ concerns first.

“When we are struggling to care for patients who are literally fighting for their lives, it is unfair to us and to them to force us to work under such conditions, yet we do our best every day and it is up to our administrators to finally do the same,” concluded Beard.

The crisis at Northeast Hospital Corp. part of a state and national lack driven by industry practices

The outcry from NHC nurses follows a warning given to the governor last month by the MP, when the organization sent a letter citing a state of emergency for all nurses and health systems, overwhelmed by the long staffing crisis in our hospitals. , and the strains placed on the system due to the Omicron variant.

Two years into the pandemic, the omicron variant is driving up COVID-19 infections, leading to increased hospitalizations and worsening pre-existing, profit-driven staffing practices in the healthcare industry, Katie Murphypracticing critical care nurse and MNA President, wrote in the letter on behalf of 23,000 MNA nurses and healthcare professionals across the Commonwealth.

“Two years into this pandemic, we are now in a place we all feared. Healthcare workers are overwhelmed and exhausted,” Murphy wrote in the letter. “Healthcare facilities are being overrun by both COVID-19 patients and people who have delayed care throughout the pandemic, and the system is caving under the strain. We are closer to the world than ever. collapse of the health system.

“It must be recognized that this current staffing crisis has been going on for years, as hospital administrators have implemented policies that have drawn tens of thousands of qualified staff away from hospital nursing as a result of strategic efforts to under -staffing hospitals to generate greater operating margins,” Murphy wrote. “The pandemic has only exacerbated this situation and demonstrated the systemic lack of understanding and appreciation of the role and value of those who provide direct patient care.”

Data showing nursing staff turnover at Northeast Hospital Corp.

Based on new data from 01/15/2022:

#

% of 2019 RNS who left

Nurses working at the NHC in 2019 who are no longer employed as of 15/01/2022

322

40.0%

01/07/2019

01/15/2022

Change

Total number of bargaining unit members

805

695

-110

Total number of hours per week

22,095

18,252

-3843

(We compared the dataset that management provided to us on 7/2019 to the dataset from management that we received on 01/15/2021)

Changes just in the LAST 5 MONTHS (between 8/2021 and 1/2022)

#

% of RNS 8/2021 who left IN 5 MONTHS

Nurses working at NHC 7/2021 who are no longer employed as of 15/01/2022

102

13.8%

08/01/2021

01/15/2022

Change

Total number of bargaining unit members

741

695

-46

Total number of hours per week

20,134

18,252

-1883

MassNurses.orgFacebook.com/MassNursesTwitter.com/MassNurses Instagram.com/MassNurses

Founded in 1903, the Massachusetts Nurses Association is the largest union of registered nurses in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Its 23,000 members advance the nursing profession by promoting high standards of nursing practice, promoting the economic and general well-being of nurses in the workplace, projecting a positive and realistic vision of nursing, and lobbying the legislature and regulatory bodies on health care issues affecting nurses. and the public.

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SOURCE Massachusetts Nurses Association

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