Hundreds of registered nurses and other health care professionals formed an informational picket line at Kaiser Permanente's South Bay Medical Center in Harbor City on Tuesday to protest the institution's recent staff reductions, their union said.
"We are here today fighting for our patients," Kim Mullen, a registered nurse in Kaiser South Bay's Medical-Surgical, Telemetry and Oncology units, said in a statement. "As a nurse, my primary job is to be a patient advocate. We're already short-staffed. Getting rid of nurses makes no sense. That means too many patients for each nurse."
Kaiser has decided to eliminate 70 registered nurses' positions at South Bay, even though the hospital has one of the highest readmission rates in the Kaiser system, according to the United Nurses Associations of California/Union of Health Care Professionals.
"We're already sometimes out of ratio on this floor, which should be no more than four patients per nurse," said Javier Rodriguez, a registered nurse in the Emergency Department and the Medical-Surgical and Oncology units. "Now the staff is being thinned out even more. Ultimately it's the patients who suffer."
There was no immediate comment from Kaiser management.
The informational picket comes less than a week after the Leapfrog Group named the South Bay location a "Top Hospital." It is one of 89 hospitals that received such a designation; nearly 1,200 hospitals participated in the survey.
—Editor Nicole Mooradian contributed to this report.