‘They keep leaving’ SLU Hospital nurses picket, saying they continue to be short-staffed

Published: Jul. 19, 2023 at 10:16 PM CDT
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ST. LOUIS, Mo. (KMOV) - A group of nurses that work at St. Louis University Hospital/SSM Health picketed outside the facility Wednesday, seeking to push hospital administration to do more for their nurses.

“Over the last three years, we’ve hired enough nurses to staff this place twice. So where are they? They keep leaving, right!” said Sarah Dewilde, a nurse at SLU Hospital.

Dewilde said people are leaving faster than they can hire them, leaving people like her to do the job of two or three people.

“If my nurses have enough resources, if they have enough breaks, have enough time to be with their patients, that patient’s going to feel better faster,” said Dewidle.

The nurses, who are a part of the ‘National Nurses Organizing Committee’, joined in solidarity in a picket for three hours Wednesday.

They said their end goal is to help patients.

Kathie Holmes, another nurse at SLU, said if they have too many patients, or they’re even in a department they don’t specialize in, it hurts the vulnerable people they’re caring for.

“So they’re here all day by themselves, and they’re lucky to see their nurse maybe twice, maybe three times on a 12 hour shift and that is for the bare necessities,” said Holmes.

In a statement, SSM Health said they’re grateful for their entire staff and patients are always top of mind.

“Patient safety is our top priority, and we remain undeterred in our Mission to always provide exceptional health care services to our patients.”

One of those patients was Melanie McNamara’s son Blake.

The nurses helped save his life after cardiac arrest. He just got home a month ago.

“They were absolutely wonderful. I showed up today because I figured the least I could do is support them when they took such good care of our family,” said McNamara.

As for what they want - find ways to keep nurses at the hospital, using the hospital’s financial resources to make that happen one way or another.

“They should put that money exactly where it needs to be, retention and patient safety instead of, honestly, I don’t know where it goes right now,” said Dewilde.