MARQUETTE, Mich. (WLUC) -- Several hundred people held a protest of UP Health System - Marquette's staffing practices Aug. 1.
Nurses said they were spread too thin because the hospital was understaffed, and patient care was suffering because of it.
"Right now we're very understaffed. It's not a safe environment for our patients to be in," said Stephanie DePetro, chief grievance steward for the Michigan Nurses Association. "We need more nurses. We have nurses working 16+ hours. That's not safe."
Hospitals need a minimum number of nurses to keep certain departments open. In an understaffed hospital, that means nurses may need to work multiple shifts.
"Many times we're asked to work—or not even asked to work. We're made to stay over our shift," said RN Nichole Renee Neumann. "It's been happening for quite a few years now, so we're ready to put an end to it."
The protesters said as shifts get longer, quality of care declines.
"Overwork means over-stressed," Neumann said. "When you're over-stressed and in a serious situation, you can't care for a patient very safely because your brain has to be at 100 percent, 100 percent of the time."
The group walked from 3rd and Magnetic Sts. to the hospital, where they delivered a petition for different staffing policies. The petition got more than 3,700 signatures online.
UP Health System - Marquette released a statement:
UP Health System - Marquette takes very seriously our commitment to deliver high-quality, safe and compassionate care close to home, and we strive daily to create excellent workplaces for our employees.
In regard to today's events, we respect every person's right to assemble and speak freely, and we value the input of everyone in our community.
We are unable to comment further because we are currently negotiating with the Michigan Nurses Association union to develop a contract that meets the needs of our nursing staff and hospital.
The hospital currently in contract negotiations with the Michigan Nurses Association