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Nurses at Saint Francis Hospital beg for help amid alleged poor work conditions and staffing issues

<i>WFSB</i><br/>Nurses at Saint Francis Hospital beg for help amid alleged poor work conditions and staffing issues.
Nurses at Saint Francis Hospital beg for help amid alleged poor work conditions and staffing issues.

By Dylan Fearon

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    HARTFORD, Connecticut (WFSB) — Nurses at Saint Francis Hospital are begging for help.

We’ve received more than a dozen calls in our newsroom from people who say they are current or former nurses.

They claim the working conditions are unacceptable and the hospital has major staffing issues.

“There would be urine, feces, blood on the wall, the floors. The equipment. Everything we use. It’s just disgusting,” said a nurse at the hospital.

We’re learning more about the alleged disastrous working conditions inside Saint Francis Hospital.

A current nurse gave us the exclusive, inside info.

“It’s a crisis and it’s a nightmare,” said the nurse.

Afraid he’ll lose his job if he speaks publicly, this brave nurse is revealing what he says is like working there, under the condition we don’t show his face or reveal his name.

We’ve also slightly altered his voice.

He claims nurses there are burnt out, and that staffing issues are causing the concerning work environment.

He said the conditions push workers away.

The American Nurses Association recommends a nurse-to-patient ratio of 1 to 4 for emergency departments.

According to veteran nurse Diane Hunter who worked at Saint Francis for 13 years, she said it’s nowhere near that.

“I recently heard that in the emergency room at Saint Francis, one nurse had 15 patients,” said Hunter.

Hunter left Saint Francis at the end of 2020.

The anonymous nurse speaking only to Channel 3 said it’s true.

“It’s absolutely true. I’ve seen it. I’ve heard it. It happens every day,” said the nurse.

He also claims the hospital laid off the majority of its housekeeping staff.

Now he said the rooms are filthy. He shared a picture with us, saying it’s blood left next to a hospital bed for hours.

He also gave us this video, showing nurses and doctors cleaning the rooms themselves.

“If we don’t like it we can go somewhere else,” said the nurse.

Nurses are calling on Trinity Health, which owns Saint Francis, to hire more workers.

Unionizing is also an option, but this whistleblower says it’s failed before.

“There’s a lot of talk of collective action,” the nurse said.

We heard from Trinity Health after specifically asking about allegations that housekeepers were fired and nurses are taking care of 10 of more patients at a time.

Trinity Health didn’t specifically address those claims, but did say:

We are deeply committed to ensuring we continue to provide high-quality, patient-centered care that is safe and efficient. Safety is a Core Value for Trinity Health Of New England and it is our top priority to provide a safe care environment for our patients and a safe working environment for all of our colleagues.

Health care systems are experiencing unprecedented staffing shortages nationally and regionally, exacerbated by the global COVID-19 pandemic. Saint Francis Hospital and Trinity Health Of New England understand these unforeseen challenges are real and we are committed to supporting our colleagues in every discipline, including our nursing colleagues.

We recognize the vital role of nurses at our hospital, and we believe their skill and compassion are unmatched. We are actively recruiting nursing colleagues, we continue to bring in contract labor when and where appropriate, and we have tapped into our national system’s resources to expand our internal float pool as an additional means to supplement staffing where possible.

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