Nurses Locked Out After Strike At 8 Bay Area Hospitals

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Alta Bates Summit Medical Center in Oakland

Alta Bates Summit Medical Center in Oakland (Coolcaesar/Wikipedia Commons)

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Doug began his career as a copy boy at the New York Times, and then...
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OAKLAND (CBS SF) – Thousands of nurses, who went on strike at eight Bay Area hospitals on Thursday, were locked out on Friday and won’t be allowed to return to work until the weekend.

The labor dispute means that Sutter Health has had to hire fill-in nurses from all over the country. And hospitals hit by the one day walkout had to promise those replacement nurses two days of work, meaning another lost day for those who went on strike.

KCBS’ Doug Sovern Reports:

Alta Bates nurse Rochelle Pardue-Okimoto said she is concerned about the safety of her patients.

“I really question how well these nurses are being trained,” she said. “I know that with the first strike, they didn’t train them at all and we all saw what happened there.”

During the last strike, a patient died at Alta Bates Summit Medical Center in Oakland. Alta Bates Summit Vice President of Medical Affairs Dr. Steve O’Brien said that things are fine this time around, partly because many of the staff nurses crossed the picket line.

“I’ve been on the ward. They’ve been on every unit in both of our hospitals,” he said. “And the replacement nurses are working side-by-side with our regular nurses and providing excellent care.”

UCSF professor Joanne Spetz, a specialist on nursing care, said the replacement nurses are fully licensed and properly trained.

“The problem in where patients should be concerned is that they’re not familiar with the local processes,” she said. “They don’t know the doctors, they don’t know the electronic health records, they don’t know where exactly the supplies cabinet is.”

The agency that provides replacement nurses insisted they work two days and get paid for five.

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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