Workers rights group releases nurse staffing report for EMMC

5:43 PM, Oct 10, 2012   |    comments
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BANGOR, Maine (NEWS CENTER) --- Unionized nurses at Eastern Maine Medical Center have long been making a case for better nurse staffing levels at the hospital. Now workers rights advocates have released their own report on the issue.

The report was put out by the 'Workers Rights Board of Eastern Maine,' which represents workers in several field around the Bangor area. In the report, the board claims that EMMC has eliminated 100 nursing positions since 2009 and several of those positions have gone unfilled.

Unionized nurses at the hospital say that's caused patient care at EMMC to suffer as well as frequent overcrowding in the hospital's emergency room.

Hospital administrators say however that is not the case. They say staffing levels are always based on the number of patients at EMMC and their degree of sickness. They also say those levels are based on national standards.

Yet some nurses say the hospital sometimes has a hard time keeping up.

"Sometime you'll have up to 10 patients waiting in an emergency department to be admitted to the floor," said Steven Akerley, who is a longtime nurse at the hospital, "having to stay in the ER for 24 to 48 hours because they can't go to the floor because there are no nurses up there."

"On occasion that we do need to close beds, we continue to work on every measure to provide staffing and once we're able to do that, we admit our patients," remarked Jodi Galli, who is the hospital's chief nursing officer.

Nurses say they have been meeting with hospital leaders every month to discuss staffing issues. The nurses union's current contract with EMMC will run through the spring of 2015.


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