Austin (KXAN) — A vigil Thursday evening will highlight hundreds of complaints from nurses in the newly-formed Ascension Seton chapter of the National Nurses Union. They say hospital management is aware of their complaints and has taken no action. The hospital disagrees.
Nurses will gather at 5:15 p.m. at Ascension Seton Medical Center in Austin.
They will join other union chapters doing the same across the nation Thursday night. Organizers of Austin’s vigil say frustrations with understaffing are the main reason they’re demonstrating.
KXAN obtained official union complaint forms that cite instances of “inadequate training, delayed response to hospital alarms, and delayed response to crying babies.”
Ascension Seton responded to the rally with the following statement:
As healthcare systems across the U.S. continue to experience nursing shortages, we have a robust workforce development program focused on recruiting and retaining nurses through our residency and fellowship program, our nurse scholarship program and partnerships with more than 40 schools of nursing, as well as community partnerships that support our growing healthcare needs.
The union event being held Jan. 26 is a bargaining tactic initiated by National Nurses United in the midst of contract negotiations. We respect the right of our associates to hold an informational assembly outside our facility and we will continue to negotiate in good faith. We look forward to a collaborative dialogue at the bargaining table.
The Texas Nurses Association has previously said shortages are being seen across Texas. In a release about Texas’ budget, the TNA called it a “crisis.”
The base budgets released last week included more funding for the Nursing Shortage Reduction Program and the Nursing Faculty Loan Repayment Program.
“Having these funds proposed so early in the legislative session shows that Texas leaders understand the seriousness of the ongoing shortage and are rising to meet the demand,” said Serena Bumpus, DPN, RN, NEA-BC, CEO of the Texas Nurses Association. “It is a relief to know that our state leaders understand the urgency of addressing the nursing workforce challenges and are willing to invest in Texas nurses now and in the future. The NSRP will continue paying returns if the Legislature chooses to further fund the program.”