Concern after dozens of layoffs at Saint Mary’s

Published: Apr. 26, 2021 at 11:57 PM PDT
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RENO, Nev. (KOLO) - Changes at a local hospital are creating concerns for staff and patients. Saint Mary’s Regional Medical Center employees claim that dozens of layoffs happened earlier this month.

“The entire hospital just feels unsettled.”

Katie Dawson, Critical Care Nurse at Saint Mary's, Nurse Representative with National Nurses United

After an already difficult year for healthcare workers, nurses at Saint Mary’s are now feeling more uncertainty.

“It has, very clearly, affected 100% of the staff and immediately affected patient safety,” Katie Dawson, Critical Care Nurse at Saint Mary’s and Nurse Representative with National Nurses United said.

KOLO 8 News Now received a number of messages claiming dozens of nurse supervisors across all units at the hospital were laid off with no warning.

Dawson added, “They are the people that have made the hospital work. I was supported 100% of the way by my supervisors and they’re not there anymore.”

Dawson said the move creates a heavier workload and understaffing issues, which is something they have already been dealing with during the pandemic.

“Nurses have stepped up in all different kinds of ways and people working seven days a week, picking up extra shifts, missing their breaks, and missing their lunches,” Dawson said.

The hospital released the following statement on its decision:

“Saint Mary’s has remained financially viable throughout the COVID-19 pandemic. To continue to meet the needs of the community, like many health care organizations throughout the country, we continually review operational structures for efficiency and effectiveness. Part of this review process includes restructuring and aligning our workforce. The result of this review means that in some areas of our network we are expanding workforce, and in other areas, we are adjusting roles and responsibilities. Those areas where staff roles are changing represents less than 3% of the overall Saint Mary’s staff. For those employees impacted, Saint Mary’s has ensured there are other positions available for them within our organization.”

Dawson added, “What that translates to is that they have chosen over and over again to make finances their number one priority and not their staff and not their patients.”

She said in order to continue the critical, life-saving work nurses do, the staff needs to be supported by its leadership.

“We would love to work together to move forward in a way that best takes care of our patients and this community.”

Katie Dawson, Critical Care Nurse at Saint Mary's, Nurse Representative with National Nurses United

Saint Mary’s Human Resources/Chief Nursing Officer has agreed to have a 30-minute phone conversation with the nurses union to discuss the changes. That’s set to happen on Tuesday, April 27, 2021, sometime in the afternoon.

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