The bargaining staffing and salary proposals of frontline nurses at Kalispell Regional Healthcare (KRH) are reasonable and critically necessary to seriously support both our community’s essential nurses and the care they provide to us. The nurses formed a union in order to have a stronger voice in how staffing decisions are made for bedside care and transparency in wages and respect.
Prior to KRH’s restructuring in 2019, the staffing model was similar to what the nurses are proposing. As a retired nurse, I know first-hand the value of a charge RN who can lend a hand, resulting in excellent patient care and staff retention as nurses feel backed up. This improvement increases the likelihood of better discharge planning and teaching for home care. Fall rates and infection rates were less with charge nurses. Safe staffing levels are priceless!
The KRH management wage scale offered falls short of what hospitals in Billings, Helena, Bozeman and Missoula offer. If KRH is truly invested in nurses and its community, the wages and benefits need to be at least commensurate with similar regional hospitals in Montana. Nurses also need to have their voices heard in a Nurse Staffing Committee, as a respected part of management. As a community, I encourage all of us to make our voices heard to KRH management. KRH must do the right thing by their employees and patients.
Margie Strainer, retired RN
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