Candle Light Vigil Held for EMMC Patients 

A candlelight vigil was held in Cascade Park in Bangor Sunday evening.Some members of the nurses union at Eastern Maine Medical Center gathered in support of their patients and profession.Organizers of the candlelight vigil say they are upset that hospital administration has not agreed to talk to them about patient staffing guidelines.”We are in contract negotiations. But I want to make it clear that our staffing issues are not something that just happened today, yesterday, last month, this year or because we have a contract open. Our staffing issues have been here right along.”Judy Brown, president of the nurses union at EMMC, says it’s important for their concerns to be voiced.”Part of it is how many patients each nurse takes, part of it is mandatory overtime. And another part is also charge nurses taking assignments. So that means the person who’s supposed to be the leader of the shift is so involved with his or her assignment that they’re not there to be the resource person to help the others.”Nurse Manager, Mary McCarthy, says she thinks this is an unfortunate situation.McCarthy says it’s a small number of nurses attempting to represent a larger body of nurses.”We are not all part of the unionized membership here at EMMC. I’m a nurse but I’m also a nurse manager. And the feelings that are being represented during the candlelight vigil, during news conferences is not one I feel is on everyone’s agenda.”McCarthy doesn’t feel the demands are necessary.”We don’t need something written on paper to dictate how we take care of our patients. Our patients are taken care of so well here at EMMC. They get the very best care. If you look at any of our quality indicators, we are above national average.”Connie Brown works as a charge nurse at EMMC. She was at the candlelight vigil and says they need to be allowed more time with their patients.”It’s difficult to continue to take great care of our patients with the way it is. We just seem to have more patients with high acuity and it’s a challenge day in and day out. Nurses are very frustrated and our hearts bleed for our patients.”Kristin Cyr is a nurse manager. She says they currently staff using a national quality staffing ratio.She believes it works just fine.”I have the utmost professional respect and trust for the nursing staff here on three surgical. They provide excellent care for our patients and they’re right on the ball. They’ll tell us if they need more staffing. They personally let myself know. They let me know what they need for help and support and that’s provided to them.”