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Nurses stage caravan rally to bring attention to pandemic work conditions

Posted at 10:45 PM, Jan 27, 2021

A group of healthcare workers held a caravan rally Wednesday in Santa Maria to bring attention to working conditions during the pandemic.

About 20 cars participated in the rally near Marian Regional Medical Center. This is part of an ongoing nationwide movement involving nurses who say they are burned out.

As staffing shortages continue to affect hospitals throughout California, some healthcare workers on the Central Coast are frustrated and afraid.

They're concerned of what's to come with California issuing waivers allowing hospitals to temporarily bypass strict nurse to patient ratios.

Joe Domingos is the Chief Nurse Representative for the California Nurses Association at Marian Regional Medical Center in Santa Maria.

"So far we have not gone to these waivered ratios. But there's a real fear," Domingos said. "In this week and next week we have been mandated, we have to work overtime in order to avoid going that way."

Nurses are asking the public to wear a mask, social distance and avoid unnecessary travel.

In response to the caravan rally, Dignity Health sent a statement:

At Dignity Health, our first priority is the health and safety of our staff, our patients, and our communities. We support our health care employees and are appreciative of their dedication to the care of our patients. To support these employees, and working within the parameters of the collective bargaining agreement (CBA), we are providing additional support to nurses that have been working extended hours throughout the pandemic. This is being implemented to ensure our employees have proper rest and work/life balance. We remain appreciative of the health care staff that continue to go above and beyond to care for our community.
Sue Andersen, President and CEO, Marian Regional Medical Center