Letter: Stop demeaning nurses, and reach fair contract

Posted
To the editor:

Since November of 2016, the nurses and management of Berkshire Medical Center have been in tense contract negotiations. Recently, management at BMC unveiled its "best and final offer" in an Eagle article printed on Wednesday, May 3. Interestingly, the tone and attitude set forth by this article, as well as the many publications and letters penned by the senior staff and addressed to their "BHS family," have been wholly divisive, demonizing the very individuals that they call family.

Despite what the PR team at BMC says, there is a very real connection between patient outcome and staffing ratio. According to an article in American Nurse Today, the official journal of the American Nurses Association, "for each additional patient assigned to a given nurse, the patient has a seven percent increase in the likelihood of dying within 30 days of admission and a seven percent increase of failure to rescue." And while all the accolades and awards accumulated by Berkshire Medical Center is impressive, evidence based practice shows that there are many underreported incidents and near misses: the nurses at BMC have documented more than 400 unsafe conditions in which nurses or other staff were unable to provide safe and effective care. These were reported on staffing forms delivered to both David Phelps, CEO and Diane Kelly, COO.

As a registered nurse in Berkshire County, I stand with the 560 nurses from BMC who have signed a petition calling on management to settle a fair contract. And I am asking you to do the same. Our nurses deserve it. Our community deserves it.

Helen Moon, RN, BSN,

Pittsfield



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