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Nurses in El Paso hold picket line for patient care

SalmaPaola Baca
The Hospitals of Providence Memorial Campus.

During the harsh cold month of January, more than 7,000 union nurses from the New York State Nurses Association (NYSNA) picked up their picket signs and engulfed the streets creating an explosive start to the New Year.  

This was a combined effort to protest the levels of staff, resulting in two of NYC’s most prominent non-profit hospital systems enhancing staffing ratios. 

Throughout history hospital staff members have protested for better work conditions but now in 2023 it has sparked rapid movement for the idea of change. An “informational” picket was recently conducted at the Hospital of Providence Memorial campus Tuesday, Aug. 22, in El Paso, Texas. 

The picket lasted for 90 minutes, with nurses from Memorial, Sierra and East campuses all protesting the hospital’s administration’s failure to address retention and recruitment of nurses, which can create problems with patient safety.

Providence Hospital located at 2001 N Oregon St. (SalmaPaola Baca)

In a press release by the National Nurses Committee/National Nurses United (NNOC/NNU), the union addressed the core problems Aug. 18, at hand within the Hospitals of Providence.  

 “Nurses at three of the hospital’s El Paso campuses have been in negotiations since March for a new contract with little to no movement on key issues,” NNC and NNU said. “According to Tenet records, since 2020, Memorial Campus has lost nearly one-third, and Sierra Campus close to one-fifth of its nursing staff.”  

Current nursing UTEP student Savannah Garcia speaks on how having an abundance of patients for a low staff can be detrimental to patient care. 

“I think that having more staff, the units would be more beneficial for patient care,” Garcia said. “When the nurses are overloaded with too many patients, it is more difficult to provide more individualized care to each patient.”  

Garcia speaks how there is only so much a nurse can do within the small amount of time they are given for each patient, an aspect that can be improved significantly if hospitals addressed those issues.  

“It can become overwhelming because a lot of these patients have a lot of problems, and the nurses do their best to take care of each patient, but it is a lot of work,” Garcia said. “They do a great job at doing what they do, and there are still a lot of people coming in and out.”  

Another UTEP nursing student, Iris Lerma, comments on the impact this would have on nurses and the hospitals being attended to. 

“We do need more nurses in a hospital setting because there’s so many patients,” Lerma said. “Having five patients to one nurse, there’s always more patients that are more demanding.”  

Lerma went on to say that hospitals should have more nurses and that it would be more efficient for patient care and the hospital’s reputation.  

“You can have one emergency, then another right way, and having more nurses would be more beneficial to hospitals so that more patients can go, not getting bad reviews because nurses did not help them,” Lerma said. 

H. Catching Marginot is a staff reporter and may be reached at [email protected]

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About the Contributors
H. Catching Marginot
H. Catching Marginot, Contributor/Writer
Henry Catching Marginot is a junior at the University of Texas at El Paso majoring in multimedia journalism and minoring in English: rhetorical studies. He is a contributor at The Prospector and freelances. He plans to pursue writing in the future.
SalmaPaola Baca
SalmaPaola Baca, Photographer
SalmaPaola Baca is a senior at UTEP majoring in engineering innovation and leadership with a concentration and minor in civil engineering and an emphasis in computer science. Her passion for photography enables her to be photographer at The Prospector. While a full-time student, she freelances while planning to grow her platform through travel photography. After graduating, she wants to pursue a master’s degree in architecture while working on her photography simultaneously.
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