The following Letter to the Editor was printed in the Asheville Citizen-Times on Saturday, March 7.
The North Carolina Nurses Association has watched, with growing concern, the situation at Mission Hospital. As we all know, health outcomes are already worse in rural areas than urban centers, and western North Carolina cannot afford to suffer the consequences of this situation at its only major hospital any longer.
There have been troubling reports of unsafe staffing levels and a nurse burnout crisis, which will make recruiting new nurses that much harder, especially since North Carolina is already facing a statewide nursing shortage. This is a patient safety issue for Asheville and surrounding areas that will only be exacerbated without drastic improvement.
To the new owners of Mission: You still have a chance to fix this and we sincerely hope you take the opportunity to make things right with both the staff you inherited when you took over and the people they are duty-bound to provide care for. NCNA is not a union. We aren’t going to set up a picket line outside of your facilities. In actuality, it is exceedingly rare that we get involved in any hospital or health system’s affairs, so we hope the fact that we feel compelled to speak up now will give some indication to the gravity of the situation.
As members of the most trusted profession in the country, we take pride in honesty. HCA Healthcare appears to have broken the trust of many North Carolinians, and it is running out of time to fix that relationship.
Dennis Taylor, M.Ed., MBA, DNP, PhD, ACNP-BC, FCCM
President, North Carolina Nurses Association