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Nurses Rally To Protest Staffing And Compensation At Research Medical Center

Alex Smith

Dozens of registered nurses and supporters marched and chanted outside of Research Medical Center in Kansas City on Thursday evening to draw attention to labor issues.

The picketers, who were organized by the National Nurses United union, say the hospital is failing to comply with its own staffing plan and the resulting staffing shortage is affecting patient care.

“This hospital is where patients come to get good care, and what we’re doing today is advocating for them, not only to get good care but get above and beyond good care,” said Bessie Grey, a Research nurse.

The picketers also said higher wages were needed to recruit and retain quality staff.

Christine Hamele, a spokeswoman for the hospital, dismissed the protesters' complaints.

“We are always focused on staffing to appropriately meet our patients’ needs,” she said in a statement.

Hamele also pointed to the hospital's quality and safety rankings from national organizations, including the Joint Commission and The Leapfrog Group. 

Research nurses are currently negotiating a new contract. The previous contract expired on May 31, according to the union.

National Nurses United organized a similar protest at Menorah Medical Center in Overland Park in July.

Both Research Medical Center and Menorah are owned and operated by HCA Midwest Health.

Alex Smith is a reporter for KCUR, a partner in the Heartland Health Monitor team.

As a health care reporter, I aim to empower my audience to take steps to improve health care and make informed decisions as consumers and voters. I tell human stories augmented with research and data to explain how our health care system works and sometimes fails us. Email me at alexs@kcur.org.
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