I am writing in support of the nurses at Peacehealth St. Joseph Medical Center and their on going negotiations. As a previous employee of the hospital, I am well aware of the strides that PeaceHealth is continuing to make toward becoming the largest medical center north of Seattle. They also want to continue to receive National Awards for Excellence in patient care and be on the cutting edge in technology. Unfortunately, I believe they tend to overlook who is providing the excellence in patient care every hour of every day, the nursing staff. The hospital can not continue to reduce benefits to any employees who make a difference in providing outstanding care in our community.
Yes, we as a community are extremely fortunate to now have our own cancer care center, and the previous addition of the cardiology and heart surgery departments. However, these expansions, and the future expansions in Skagit and Island counties, should not be at the expense of the nursing staff or any other employees at PeaceHealth. I believe that if they continue this mind set, they will lose valuable and dedicated personnel. If they have funds to continue to expand, they should be able to allocate funds for salary and benefits. I know it will be said that the expansion budget is different from salary and benefits, but when in comes right down to it, what is more important?