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Nurses take a stand at St. Joseph's Hospital

Employees say staffing levels are critically low
Nurse working
Posted at 9:38 PM, Jan 12, 2022
and last updated 2022-01-13 00:17:35-05

TUCSON, Ariz.(KGUN) — St. Joseph’s Hospital is facing scrutiny after employees say they’ve been making claims of bad working conditions to hospital leadership for nearly 2-years. Registered nurse Shannon King has been working at St. Joseph's Hospital for more than 26 years. She says the working conditions at the hospital are getting worse by the day and something has to change, because workers are at a breaking point.

"Nurses are not willing to continue to work under those conditions. What the nurses are going through and even the staff in the whole hospital, we are expected to do more with less. We are expected to take more patients,” King said

According to nurse King the staffing levels at the Tucson hospital are critically low, equipment is outdated and workers are extremely burned out. While some nurses are staying the course and working 12-hour shifts and overtime, others are walking away from the job.

“We actually had a survey that we did among all of our nurses at St. Mary’s and St. Joe's where 74% of nurses are thinking of leaving because of the current situation,” King said.

Workers also say that getting new equipment to replace old and outdated machines has been difficult.

“It’s been put out that Tenet has made over 600 million dollars in profit, and we don’t see that being reinvested in retaining our nurses. We’ve been asking for a printer, we’ve been asking for computers and it does make our job more difficult,” King said.

KGUN 9 reached out to Carondelet Health Network who runs St. Joseph’s hospital about the staffing situation and received the following statement:

Carondelet Health Network’s statement:

“We are disappointed with the irresponsible comments made by those with their own agendas as these comments do not honor or represent the hard work being done by our staff to care for the community every day. The fact is that our hospital is responding with leading solutions during a pandemic that has caused a national and local nursing shortage to hire additional staff and offering retention and new employee referral incentives. We are grateful to our team members for their steadfast commitment to be here to care for patients in need, and our hospitals remain prepared to care for our community.”
Carondelet Spokesperson

“I have seen patients lined up in the hallways, I've seen EMS lined up with stretchers in the hallway,” King said.

The union for the nurses, National Nurses United represents over 700 nurses at St. Joesph's and St. Mary's hospitals combined and more than 175,000 nurses nationwide.

"We are participating in a national day of action to bring awareness that this is happening across the country. What else can we do other than to keep advocating for ourselves and keep advocating for our patients,” King said.

The nurse's union is set to hold a rally at 8:30 Thursday morning at St. Joseph’s the hospital.