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Mission Nurses’ Union Calls for Public Protest, Citing Patient Safety

[Sept. 1] The labor union representing registered nurses at Mission Hospital said nurses will stage a protest Thursday morning to call attention what it called “patient safety and unsafe working conditions” at Asheville’s flagship hospital system.

Among other complaints, the National Nurses Organizing Committee of National Nurses United asserted that HCA Healthcare-owned Mission Hospital scheduled symptomatic, COVID-positive nurses to work at the hospital, and failed to provide nurses with adequate masks, gowns, gloves and other personal protective equipment.

In a statement, Hannah Drummond, a registered nurse in Mission’s emergency department, said hospital administrators have ignored “months” of staff complaints about safety standards, including staffing. “We have a duty to the Asheville community to provide optimal care, and we will continue our advocacy until Mission is a safe place for our patients,” she said.

“We’re disappointed that the labor union would attempt to pull people away from patient care for a rally during COVID and not follow the mutually agreed upon process that they requested as recently as July,” JC Sadler, Vice President for Communications and Community Strategy at the North Carolina Division of HCA Healthcare, said when asked by Asheville Watchdog for a response to the union’s statement. “Caring for our patients and employees safely is our priority. We have ample PPE for our colleagues, require universal masking, and follow CDC protocols for returning employees to work.”

The protest is scheduled for 8 a.m. Sept. 2 at the corner of Biltmore Avenue and Hospital Drive.  — P.L.

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