KC-area nurses rally for better contracts amid chronic understaffing

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — Some Hospital Corporation of America (HCA) nurses rallied Tuesday morning at the Research Medical Center for a better contract.

Nurses said hospitals are understaffed, leading to poor conditions for patients.

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Contract negotiations on a new union contract have begun with HCA as nurses who work at Research Medical and Menorah Research Center in Overland Park will see their current contracts expire on May 31.

According to nurses in the union, nurse retention is a chronic problem at both hospitals due to what they say are poor working conditions and chronic understaffing.

“Chronic understaffing is probably the biggest problem here,” RN Jake Liston said. “We need language in our contract that holds HCA accountable when they underserve our patients and underserve our nurses.”

“It’s not just a nurses issue, it’s a community issue. And also (we need) a better educational experience for our nurses. A lot of our nurses have less than two years of experience and we see that as a problem. We need to retain experienced nurses.”

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Last year 89 nurses left Menorah and 150 nurses left Research, according to the union.
Nurses said this is causing management to move nurses to other units to care for up to three patients.

FOX4 received a statement from HCA officials in response to Tuesday’s rally, calling their staffing “safe and appropriate” and that they’re “proud of the high-quality care they provide.”

The statement goes on to say: “In 2023, we successfully stabilized our nursing workforce by hiring 842 new staff members to our nursing organization at both Research Medical Center and Menorah Medical Center.

“Additionally, we are building our nursing pipeline and recently announced a comprehensive $34.5 million investment in Research College of Nursing from HCA Healthcare.”

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