Nurses from Rice Memorial Hospital in Willmar, Minnesota, showed up in full force with their families to report to the City Council the community needs first-rate nurses and first-rate patient care.
Carolyn Jorgenson, RN, MNA Board member told council members who are the trustees for the hospital that the facility’s management team has set a poor tone with nurses. She told a sea of MNA red in the audience that the employer has delivered an underlying message of disrespect for the value of nursing for the community.
Here are excerpts of the comments offered by Jorgenson at last night’s City Council meeting:
“I absolutely LOVE and live nursing. I believe Rice Memorial Hospital has some of the most dedicated, intelligent and professional nurses and staff that I have ever worked with and the patients get the best nursing care around. But I am here tonight because I am concerned things could quickly change.
The nurses of Rice Memorial Hospital are deeply concerned about the tone set by management’s concessionary proposals made in negotiations with those of us represented by the Minnesota Nurses Association.
The underlying message delivered indicates a disrespect for the value nurses provide in delivering quality care to our friends and family. We are dedicated to taking care of all of the Grandmas and Grandpas, Moms and Dads and children who live in our community. My coworkers and I take pride in delivering my neighbor’s babies here and comforting your ailing Aunts and Uncles when they are in need. This community based Hospital allows us to care for not just patients, but our own friends and families.
We also caution that, should those proposals take effect, the consequences to our beloved community could be dire. When seeking concessions of this magnitude, while other facilities continue to increase investments in the wages and benefits of the nurses, Rice Memorial could become a revolving workforce door. This situation only serves to compromise the continuity of care. It will likely prove to be an economic mistake due to higher retention and recruitment fees. Each time a nurse is replaced, the organization pays the equivalent of at least a year’s salary in expenses. That just doesn’t make common sense.
We ask you to invest in the people who care for those who are at their most vulnerable. Keep the highly skilled registered nurses here in their own community; don’t force nurses to leave Rice Memorial because the hospital no longer offers a competitive wage and benefit package.”