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CA Nurses Declare Victory: All Waivers of Safe Staffing Standards Expire

SAN JOSE. CA - DEC. 8: Nurse Nestor Cardenas walks down the hall as he treats COVID-19 patients at Regional Medical Center of San Jose, an acute-care hospital, on Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2020 in San Jose, California. Following Thanksgiving there has been an uptick in COVID-19 cases all over California and the Bay Area. (Gabrielle Lurie/The San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images)
Hearst Newspapers via Getty Imag
SAN JOSE. CA - DEC. 8: Nurse Nestor Cardenas walks down the hall as he treats COVID-19 patients at Regional Medical Center of San Jose, an acute-care hospital, on Tuesday, Dec. 8, 2020 in San Jose, California. Following Thanksgiving there has been an uptick in COVID-19 cases all over California and the Bay Area. (Gabrielle Lurie/The San Francisco Chronicle via Getty Images)

(KION) Thousands of California nurses are celebrating a victory after months of protests, press conferences and strong actions against safe staffing nurses to patients ratio.

“It was our collective action as a union that defeated the money and lobbying power of the hospital industry, which we know is focused on the bottom line, not safe patient care,” said Zenei Triunfo-Cortez, RN and a president of the California Nurses Association and its national organization, National Nurses United.

Come Feb. 8, existing expedited waivers will end, and the California Department of Public Health will not approve any new waivers of the state’s safe staffing ratio.

The COVID-19 pandemic has filled hospitals to max capacity with severely ill patients. But during this crucial time, hospitals also saw major nursing staff shortage. Often resulting in one nurse to multiple patients.  

“Nurses repeatedly warned that the understaffing in their hospitals was unsafe and untenable.” said Triunfo-Cortez.

Shortages not only came from nurses contracting COVID-19 themselves but also from the expedited waivers set by the(CDPH) which included canceling traveling nurse contracts, failing to fill open RN positions, and furloughing nurses, to name a few.

The win is considered an important one to insure quality care for patients and nurse safety alike.

 “We must continue to stay united and vigilant in protecting and enforcing the safe staffing standards we need to provide the kind of nursing care we know our patients deserve,” said Triunfo-Cortez.

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Erika Bratten

Erika Bratten is a weather forecaster for KION News Channel 5/46.

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