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News Release
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Bend area ONA nurses meet with Oregon gubernatorial candidate Tina Kotek to share concerns (Photo) - 09/28/22

(BEND, Ore.) - Lack of staff, stress, burnout, and fear were a few of the themes discussed by ONA nurse leaders from St. Charles Health System during a conversation with Oregon gubernatorial candidate Tina Kotek this morning. They were joined by State Representative Jason Kropf of Bend. The nurses, representing multiple departments, expressed their anger and frustration over the lack of leadership shown by hospital management to fix these long-running problems. 

“Before COVID-19 our hospital struggled with short staffing and now, three years later, our staffing crisis is even worse. I’m tired of hearing hospitals say that labor costs are too high. It’s deceptive because for years management has had their eye on their bottomline and not patient care. They followed a lean organization model so they could pay millions in executive bonuses,” said Neysa Larson, RN at St. Charles – Bend. “Today I had the opportunity to talk with Oregon gubernatorial candidate Tina Kotek and tell her my story. As a nurse in one of Oregon’s fastest growing regions, it’s going to take a lot to fix the problem.”

Working 12-hour shifts, bedside nurses provide care and advocate for their patients but too often they work a whole day without a meal or rest break. Hospitals across the state have been running lean for years and, in many cases, disregard Oregon’s Hospital Nurse Staffing Law, putting nurses and patients at risk. With the added stress of the pandemic, nurses are leaving the profession in droves and the ones that remain are at a breaking point.

“Nurses must be at the table as work is being done to resolve the staffing crisis, and that’s what I told Tina Kotek,” said Dawn Mead, RN at St. Charles – Bend. “My nurse colleagues and I are experiencing serious workplace stress. We need our next governor to know that, without us, the healthcare system could not exist and that all hospitals should be penalized if they don’t adhere to safe staffing models. To have positive patient outcomes you must have a well-rested and respected workforce – and hospitals just aren’t doing that.” 

The Oregon Nurses Association (ONA) is proud to endorse Representative Tina Kotek in Oregon’s 2022 Gubernatorial Race. Kotek’s long history of supporting nurses, nursing issues, and health care policy make her the best choice for Oregon’s nurses. ONA is deeply grateful for the leadership she has provided on a number of policy issues of concern to nurses, including her passionate support of Oregon’s unique nurse staffing law, efforts to address workplace violence against nurses, and achieving payment parity for Nurse Practitioners.

Oregon Nurses Association (ONA) is the state’s largest and most influential nursing organization. We are a professional association and labor union which represents 15,000 nurses and allied health workers throughout the state. Our mission is to advocate for nursing, quality health care and healthy communities. For more information visit: www.OregonRN.org.

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