NewsTeam 10 Investigates


Kaiser nurses concerned about staffing and patient safety

Several nurses said they are short-staffed
Posted at 5:11 PM, Aug 10, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-11 09:28:13-04

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) -- Multiple Kaiser Permanente nurses told ABC 10News' Team 10 they are extremely short-staffed and concerned about patient safety.

Team 10 spoke to three nurses who work at the San Diego-area Kaiser hospitals. They did not want to use their names for fear of retaliation, but they said the situation is frustrating, disheartening, and exhausting.

The nurses say they are so short-staffed that they often do not have a charge nurse, which is a nurse that typically oversees a unit. An extra resource nurse who typically helps when they take breaks is also often not available.

“It’s taxing,” one nurse said. “We feel like we have no help.”

Another nurse told Team 10 that “because of the nurse deficit, units are working at minimal levels of staffing which feels very unsafe.”

A third nurse agreed. “100 thousand percent. It’s affecting patient safety,” he said.

The hospital recently offered incentive pay for those who pick up extra shifts, but the nurses said other hospital systems have offered better benefits. On top of that, they said they are already overworked.”

“Without the appropriate number of staff, anything can go wrong at any minute. Even the smallest thing can turn into a serious problem,” one nurse said.

A Kaiser spokesperson released this statement to Team 10:

“The safety and well-being of our patients and staff is our top priority. Kaiser Permanente continues to deliver high-quality and compassionate care to its members in San Diego. Any allegations of insufficient staffing ratios are false. In addition to excellent wages and benefits, each Kaiser Permanente employee received bonus payouts of 100 percent or more in recognition of their invaluable contributions to providing care in 2020 during the pandemic. Kaiser Permanente is committed to continuing to provide our staff with highly competitive compensation and benefits.”

The hospital system is also expanding. In December, Kaiser broke ground on a new hospital in San Marcos. The facility plans to house more than 200 patient rooms.

“It’s kind of like a slap in the face that you won’t hire people, but you’re building a hospital,” one nurse said.

The nurses confirmed they are in the middle of contract negotiations. A union spokesperson said they could not comment at this time.