Essentia Health nurses to hold informational picket as new $900-million medical center opens

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During the new St. Mary’s Medical Center’s open house, nurses across the northland are coming together to support each other by picketing across the street due to staffing concerns. Essentia Health nurses will be outside from 1 to 7 p.m.

R.N. Samantha Argir say that CEO’s are trying to push new patient to nurse ratios. Currently, nurses say the ratio is one nurse to every four patients. In their words, that’s already pushing it.

Management is trying to push for a one to five ratio.

The concern isn’t new. R.N. Stacee Rosier says “we’ve been working since our negotiations last year to increase our staffing for patient safety and improve that. Unfortunately, with this move into the new building, Essentia is choosing to unilaterally decrease staffing so nurses will be caring for more patients.”

However, CEO David Herman told us “we’re very confident that our staffing every day is what it needs to be to care for our patients. We work closely with our nursing union and every union that we work with here at St Mary’s Medical Center and across Essentia to make sure we have the right people at the right place at the right time.”

Nurses are not convinced. Rosier expressed that concern to us by saying she’s expecting chaos as the $900-million facility opens in just over a week. “Honestly, our unit has received very little training or orientation in the new building. We still have staff who haven’t been over to the new building and we’ve got less than two weeks until opening. So, we’re kind of begging and pleading for more training over there.”

Everyone is welcome and encouraged to stop by the picket. For more information on the picket, visit the MNA’s website.