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W.Va. hospitals overloading nurses, union rep says

BECKLEY, W.Va. — Although local hospitals reported shortages of registered nurses in September, a representative with National Nurses United said there is no such shortage.

“There is no shortage of RNs in the U.S.,” Michelle Mahon said. “There is a shortage of nurses willing to work in the deplorable conditions that exist in our hospitals, especially in West Virginia.”

Mahon, an RN for over 20 years, said hospitals are expecting nurses to take care of too many patients at once, causing emotional and physical stress for nurses, as well as dangerous conditions for patients.

“In West Virginia hospitals, it’s particularly dangerous.”

She said research shows that for every patient over four in a typical hospital ward (not including intensive care or obstetrics), the risk of mortality increases by 7 percent.

In West Virginia hospitals, Mahon said nurses on medical/surgical floors are sometimes required to carry up to 15 patients at a time, causing a real risk of harm to patients.

She points the finger of blame at for-profit hospitals that are trying to cut costs to maximize profits…

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