• Fri. Mar 24th, 2023

UCSD Well being ER nurses name out overcrowding as hospital sees ‘unprecedented’ demand


Mar 17, 2023

Emergency room nurses at UC San Diego Well being’s La Jolla hospital held a rally to level out what they mentioned are unsafe and overcrowded situations, because the well being system offers with a spike in affected person quantity.

UCSD Well being nurses with the California Nurses Affiliation made a plea for extra employees and assets Thursday exterior the emergency room on the Jacobs Medical Heart.

“This isn’t the care we would like for our sufferers or for our personal households,” mentioned Estefania Urbano, an ER nurse with UCSD Well being.

Urbano mentioned she worries about lengthy wait instances and treating sufferers in hallways, particularly people who is likely to be immunocompromised.

“That is humiliating for sufferers, and most significantly an infectious danger to others,” Urbano mentioned.

UCSD Well being officers mentioned they have been very busy — seeing traditionally excessive numbers of sufferers.

“Like hospitals all through California, UC San Diego Well being is presently experiencing unprecedented demand for its medical and surgical care — a necessity which is outpacing obtainable hospital beds,” mentioned a press release from a UCSD spokesperson despatched by way of electronic mail. “The affect is most seen in our Emergency Departments.”

The assertion additionally mentioned the hospital system is taking each measure potential to look after sufferers, which generally means utilizing overflow areas and even diverting ambulances due to demand.

“I’ve not seen something like this,” mentioned Jocelyn Belleza, a UCSD Well being ER nurse who has been with the system for 20 years. “It has been progressively getting worse to the purpose that now we have to rise up and request extra consideration.”

Belleza and others mentioned the scenario will not be sustainable.

“There’s a excessive improve in burnout when you haven’t any help and there’s a variety of low morale among the many employees,” Belleza mentioned.

March has been notably busy at UCSD Well being’s La Jolla campus. There have been two situations the place an “inside catastrophe” was declared, which suggests ambulances usually are not ready to herald sufferers. San Diego County officers mentioned the interior catastrophe declarations occurred on March 2 for about 22 hours and on March 7 for 18 hours.

ER nurses, and the union representing them, are calling for extra nurses and different help employees. They mentioned administration has introduced in some additional assist, however it has not been sufficient.

“All my coworkers and the employees are doing our greatest to do our job however on the identical time we’d like the house, we’d like the tools — all of the help we will get from administration,” mentioned Maria Tan, UCSD Well being nurse and union consultant.

UCSD Well being will not be the one hospital system that has busy emergency departments. Scripps Well being officers mentioned they’re coping with a better variety of emergency room sufferers and lately opened a brief 16-bed facility at Scripps Mercy in Chula Vista to handle the demand.

“We’d like the county’s assist with putting our sufferers in expert nursing services and behavioral well being step-down services, in addition to reducing ambulance visitors from emergency rooms to different care websites for sufferers who don’t want the excessive degree of care supplied on the ER,” mentioned Dr. Ghazala Sharieff, chief medical officer with Scripps Well being.

Sharieff mentioned these strikes would assist switch sufferers from the emergency room to different areas within the hospital and thus cut back the stress. Sharp HealthCare officers additionally mentioned their emergency departments have seen a rise in sufferers.

“Each walk-ins and sufferers that arrive by medics,” mentioned John Cihomsky, a spokesperson with Sharp. “Whereas this improve has burdened San Diego’s EMS (emergency medical providers) techniques, Sharp has maintained established high quality and security requirements and acceptable nurse-to-patient ratios to guarantee high-quality emergency care.”

Kaiser Permanente San Diego officers mentioned up to now this yr affected person quantity is up about 7% in comparison with final yr.

“Wait instances are — typically talking — the identical with (the) overwhelming majority of sufferers being seen inside one hour,” mentioned Jennifer Dailard, spokesperson with Kaiser San Diego.

UCSD Well being officers mentioned when potential, they add extra nurses to alleviate stress. Additionally they need to remind the general public that minor well being points might be dealt with with same-day visits to pressing care and even telehealth conferences.