PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. — National Nurses United protesting at Fawcett Memorial Hospital Friday said their demands are simple. No layoffs, no pay cuts, and more protective gear.
About 20 nurses chanted for their patients, and fair treatment, and drivers honked to support.
June Phillips, a registered nurse at Fawcett led the chants during the protest.
“Trying to lay off nurses and aids is the worst thing they could do, because people are suffering right now,” she said.
Phillips said HCA Healthcare, the company that owns Fawcett, has threatened to lay off workers and cut others pay. But the company denies it.
Angel Bahr stood alongside Phillips, and said her superiors ignore their concerns.
“It upsets me that the amount of times that I’ve spoken to management about the issues, that it just gets shoved under the rug,”
Issues like caring for too many patients at a time. questions she asks herself as she mentally prepares for work everyday.
“How many patients am I going to have? Am I going to be able to keep all my patients safe?” she asked.
On top of that, Phillips questions if she can keep herself safe with lack of protective gear. She painted the picture.
“Sometimes you go into a room and you stay in there for a long time. And you sweat,” she said. “You get out of the room and you feel dazed. The mask is wet and soggy, and you need it to be changed, and they only give you one.”
Alexandria Benjamin, a spokesperson for Fawcett Memorial said claims of inadequate personal protective equipment (PPE) are not accurate. When asked how many masks nurses get, Benjamin said they haven’t laid off anyone, nor do they plan to.
She also released this statement about pandemic pay: “The goal of HCA Healthcare’s pandemic pay program is to keep our caregivers employed and receiving paychecks at a time when hospitals throughout the country are experiencing significant declines in patient volume and there is not enough work for them.“
Phillips said the pandemic pay is impossible to get.
“That pandemic pay is foolish. They make that pandemic pay so hard to get. It’s like a mountain that no one can climb,” she said.
When asked about theses claims, Benjamin said appropriate criteria must be met to qualify, but would not share the qualifications.