RELEASE: #NotSilenced, St. Francis Registered Nurses, Faith Leaders and Elected Officials Hold “Roselight Vigil” for Patient Care
Contact: Jeff Rogers, Communications Specialist
Jeff.Rogers@unacuhcp.org | 909-263-7230
LYNWOOD, CA —Dozens of registered nurses employed by St. Francis Medical Center held a “roselight vigil” tonight for patient care at the hospital. They faced St. Francis Medical Center together and prayed by the light of plastic red roses which lit up the dusk.
“Staffing is critically important to patient care," said Bill Rouse, Executive Director of UNAC/UHCP, and longtime chief negotiator for the St. Francis RNs. “As strong patient advocates, the nurses have said this to management many times. Over the years, they’ve fought for a voice in patient care at the hospital, and they haven’t been afraid to use it. They will not be silenced now. St. Francis is the only high-level trauma center serving a huge population of underserved communities in South Los Angeles. These communities deserve the best patient care, just like anyone else in LA County. Increased staffing at St. Francis will improve the patient care that this community receives. St. Francis RNs have consistently been strong advocates for their patients and community and will continue to do so.”
The St. Francis RNs, faith leaders, local government officials and other supporters gathered in Lynwood Park across from St. Francis Medical Center for a vigil and prayer ceremony to bless the nurses, their patients and the hospital. They carried the lighted red roses as a symbol of their patient advocacy. The St. Francis Registered Nurses are in negotiations for a new contract to improve the way patient care is delivered at the medical center.
Ana Bergeron, RN, who works in the Cath Lab at St. Francis and serves on the nurse bargaining team, was one of the nurses who addressed the crowd. “Many of our nurses live in this community or were raised in this community, and feel ownership,” she said. “I live here. One of our primary responsibilities is to serve as patient advocates. The St. Francis Registered Nurses have worked internally and through our regulatory agencies to ensure that excellent care is given. Please join us in prayer that eyes will see, ears will hear, and nurses will not be silenced.”
Lynwood City Councilwoman Aidé Castro told how her first two children were born at St. Francis. Then in 2011, when she was pregnant with twins, she went into early labor at twenty weeks. She was rushed to St. Francis, where the nurses helped save the pregnancy. “I was very scared,” she said. “In the ER, the nurses told me everything would be all right. I never introduced myself as councilwoman. But I got excellent care, even when they didn’t know who I was.”
“I am 100% committed,” Councilwoman Castro told the assembled St. Francis RNs. “I stand next to you. That hospital belongs to the city of Lynwood and its residents. We support you. We are with you. You are not alone. We love you.”
Other speakers included Bill Rouse, Scott Byington, RN, President of the St. Francis Registered Nurses Association and a nurse at St. Francis for xx years; and Rosa Carcamo, RN in the SFMC ER for xx years. The prayer was conducted by Nikki Smith, First Lady of the Travelers Rest Missionary Baptist Church.
United Nurses Associations of California/Union of Health Care Professionals (UNAC/UHCP) represents over 29,000 registered nurses and other health care professionals, including optometrists; pharmacists; physical, occupational and speech therapists; case managers; nurse midwives; social workers; clinical lab scientists; physician assistants and nurse practitioners. UNAC/UHCP is affiliated with the National Union of Hospital and Health Care Employees and the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees, AFL-CIO.