Providence nurses demand hazard pay amid staffing shortage

·2 min read

Several nurses from Providence Regional Medical Center spoke to the Everett City Council yesterday asking for the city to mandate hazard pay for nurses during the current staffing shortage at the hospital.

Many of the speakers at the council meeting said that the staffing shortage is extreme, and while they say there has long been a shortage of nurses, the current situation is the worst it has been.

Nurses are asking for hazard pay as compensation for the long hours and overworked staff. Staffing shortages have been affecting service at the hospital for months now.

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City Attorney David Hall said it is questionable that the City Council can actually mandate hazard pay but may ask the nurses to draft a letter that individual council members could sign if they wished.

Mayor Franklin said she met with the CEO of Providence hospital today and was given a heads-up on the speakers. She said Providence Hospital is doing everything in its power to address the issues.

Julie Bynum, a float nurse at Providence for the last 12 years, was one of the nurses that spoke to the council.

“In all of my 28 years as a nurse, I’ve never seen a staffing shortage –unprecedented. Have a real concern for patients. I’m frequently placed in a situation where I’m needed by 2-3 patients at the same time, and there’s no back-up,” Bynum said.

A lot of the nurses are also calling on Governor Jay Inslee to do something as well, including asking the city council to investigate Providence for purposely understaffing the hospital, saying they are using the shortage as a solution to resolve their $1.3 billion loss from last year.

Compared to the middle of the pandemic, nurses are saying the situation is much worse than it was ever since the $1000 bonus for recruitment from the pandemic ended

“We are hemorrhaging, we are bleeding out, and there is nobody there to help us,” Bynum said. “We feel we are all alone, and ever since the bonuses went away, we have been sinking since then.”

Franklin confirmed the Pediatric unit at Providence has closed, but since there is a Children’s Hospital nearby, there are options.

She added things may get worse before they get better.

This story was originally published by MyNorthwest.