Presence St. Joseph Medical Center pending Nurse’s strike

TTW Staff Report | 5/25/2017, midnight
Joliet - Nurses at Presence St. Joseph Medical Center are poised to go on strike if a set of proposals, ...

Joliet - Nurses at Presence St. Joseph Medical Center are poised to go on strike if a set of proposals, now under consideration, is not ironed out. According to Pat Meade, a member of the executive board of Presence Nurses Association and a staff Recovery Room Nurse, the strike has been put on hold while the nurse's consider a series of proposals to set guidelines for nurse to patient staffing ratios, a pay compensation package that recognizes a nurse's total years of experience, both within the Presence medical care system and their outside experience at other hospitals. "Currently, nurses who work here at Presence get recognized for the year's they've put in here at this hospital. They are not necessarily compensated for all of the experience they incurred at other hospitals."

The proposal now on the table would give recognition for outside experience, but the nurses would be required to have documentation. "If they worked at Michael Reese, for sample, which is now closed, that would be very hard to do."

Another key issue is the patient load that each nurse would be required to maintain. "If a nurse is a critical care nurse working in the intensive care unit, they may be required to handle only one or two patients at a time under the proposed guidelines. What we're trying to do is set some standards for not only patient loads, but breaks and mealtimes, so that nurses are doing their best work to ensure patient safety."

The issue of pay, of course, is paramount. "We want to give our nurses equitable pay, but we're also concerned that we don't want to put the hospital out of business. We understand that proper wages are vital for the nurses to take care of their families, but we also are aware of the fact that the hospital has to remain n viable financially as well. We're willing to strike a balance that is fair to everyone."