New Report States Poor Conditions at EMMC, Hospital Officials Disagree

The ink is barely dry on the contract between the Nursing Union and Eastern Maine Medical Center, but just four months later, they are facing another disagreement.

Registered Nurse at EMMC, Steven Ackerly, said it takes a special kind of person to be a nurse. “It’s more than a job, it’s a calling. We do it because it’s who we are.”

While Ackerly loves his job, he doesn’t love the working conditions. He, along with past patients, and the Worker Rights Board of Eastern Maine released a 30 page report on patient care at EMMC.

“We talk about it every month at our practice committee, about staffing levels and we give suggestions. It goes on deaf ears,” said Ackerly.

Administrators at EMMC disagree. Chief Nursing Officer at EMMC, Jodi Gali, said “When we do our rounds with [the nurses] we actually ask for their input. They have a very strong voice here.”

Staffing issues seem to be one of the biggest concerns in the report, but hospital officials explained that they’re actually adding staff.

“We’ve added a net increase of 38 nurses and 28 other staff who directly work with the nurses,” said Greg Howat, Vice President of Human Resources at EMMC.

Howat and Gali said they base staffing off of national statistics and patient volume, “We always provide our staffing with safe and quality care for the patients at every level of service.”

Ackerly said the patients are still not getting the care they need. “If you’re sitting in a bed and the nurse has to take care of seven patients, you’re not getting proper care. You’re not getting your money’s worth.”

The nurses at EMMC will stay in their current contract until May of 2015.

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