California Nurses Association picket line
A California Nurses Association picket line. Courtesy of the union

Nurses and other caregivers from Palomar Medical Center will hold an informational picket Wednesday to call attention to concerns about working conditions they say are detrimental to patient care.

Palomar nurses and caregivers say hospital management demanded nurses work extra shifts and that caregivers are consistently short-staffed. The scheduling issues, the nurses say, contribute to employee fatigue and, by extension, worse care for hospital patients.

“We demand that Palomar make patient safety its first priority, and respect its patients, and its nurses, and its caregivers,” said Sue Phillips, a registered nurse. “Palomar is refusing to address the chronic short staffing throughout the hospital. The situation is very stressful, with nurses working to utter exhaustion and going without breaks or meals.”

Palomar Health was aware of the picket prior to Wednesday morning but did not comment on the demonstration or the grievances.

Hospital staff consistently lacks an adequate number of cooks, housekeepers and transport staff, according to the California Nurses Association, and the hospital is losing some of its best workers because of the alleged poor management.

“We are disappointed in the direction Palomar Healthcare District is going as it fails to honor its promises to patients,” said Gil Millan, a cook who has worked at Palomar for 30 years. “When Palomar fails to staff housekeeping, or the kitchen adequately, experienced workers leave. When we are short-staffed, it is hard to do our job in a timely manner, and that makes it difficult for us to give the best care to our patients.”

— City News Service

Chris Jennewein is Editor & Publisher of Times of San Diego.