EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — El Paso nurses held an “informational picket” session urging The Hospitals of Providence to invest more in patient safety and hire more nurses.

Registered nurses from Sierra, Memorial, and East Campuses picketed at Memorial Campus on Tuesday, Aug. 22.

They were protesting “the administration’s refusal to address RNs’ deep concerns about patient safety due to unsafe staffing and chronic problems with recruitment and retention of nurses,” according to the National Nurses Organizing Committee/National Nurses United (NNOC/NNU).

“The Hospitals of Providence are owned by Tenet Healthcare, one of the largest for-profit hospital operators in the United States. Nurses at three of the hospital’s El Paso campuses have been in negotiations since March for a new contract with little to no movement on key issues. According to Tenet records, since 2020, Memorial Campus has lost nearly one-third, and Sierra Campus close to one-fifth of its nursing staff,” the union said in a news release.

“Our hospital had more than 400 nurses before the pandemic and we are now around 300,” said Idali Cooper, an RN in the pediatric intensive care unit (PICU) at Memorial Campus. “This has dramatically reduced our ability to provide the safe patient care we want to give to our community.”

The informational picket lasted for about 90 minutes Tuesday morning.

National Nurses Organizing Committee represents more than 750 nurses at The Hospitals of Providence, according to the union.

The Hospitals of Providence sent us the following statement about the picketing.

“The labor union that represents some of our employees, National Nurses Organizing Committee (NNOC), is holding a picketing event today (Tuesday) outside of The Hospitals of Providence Memorial Campus. We are currently negotiating with the union, bargaining in good faith to reach an agreement on a contract.

“Our hospital is fully operational and our staff’s focus, as always, is on providing exceptional quality patient care.  We are grateful to our nursing staff and our entire team for their steadfast commitment to care for our patients and our community. 

“We continue to actively recruit and are offering generous sign-on bonuses to qualified candidates, along with employee referral bonuses to any employee who refers a qualified candidate that is hired.  We encourage any interested candidate to attend one of our numerous upcoming hiring events or to apply online at thehospitalsofprovidence.com.”