The nurses union and other caregivers said Tuesday night that 98 percent — of the 1,547 nurses and caregivers who voted — expressed their opposition to the administration at Swedish and its parent organization, Providence.
Nurses and other caregivers at Swedish Health have voted overwhelmingly to express no confidence in the leadership of the health-care organization, saying morale and patient care continue to suffer.
At a gathering Tuesday night in Seattle where nurses described a range of concerns across Swedish campuses, their union announced that 98 percent — of the 1,547 nurses and caregivers who voted — expressed their opposition to the current administration at Swedish and its parent organization, Providence. The union represents about 8,100 workers.
“We’re here because we care,” said Diane Sosne, president of SEIU Healthcare 1199NW. “We know this institution can do better. And we want to be part of an institution that we can feel proud of.”
Swedish CEO Guy Hudson, who took over the top job earlier this year, expressed disappointment in the vote, calling it a union-negotiating tactic. He said in a statement he has been working in recent months to meet with caregivers and address their concerns.
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“We welcome constructive, data-driven conversations with our union partners,” Hudson said. “A disruptive approach and an us-vs.-them mentality benefits no one, certainly not our patients.”
Swedish has undergone substantial changes since a series of Seattle Times articles earlier this year exposed internal concerns about patient care at Swedish’s Cherry Hill facility. The organization’s CEO resigned, as did a top surgeon featured in the articles. Hudson changed surgical procedures to largely ban the practice of overlapping surgeries. He has vowed to change the organization’s culture to make it more collaborative and to restore trust between the administration and caregivers — calling it a “new day” at Swedish.
Nurses said they are still waiting for that change to happen. “It’s not a new day,” said Ron Cole, a float-pool nurse at the Cherry campus.
He said that while Hudson was a new leader and had laid out a positive vision for change, other administrators are still in charge, such as Rod Hochman, the CEO of Swedish’s parent organization, Providence. He said he has been at Cherry Hill for 20 years and only started noting a significant decline in the culture after Swedish merged under the Providence umbrella several years ago. He said the broader health system needs change.
Other nurses expressed concern about supply shortages and staff shortages, along with general efforts to save money. They talked about dangerous psychiatric issues made worse by staff inexperience and low morale that have continued to cause staff turnover. One nurse felt that while there has been attention on trying to fix issues at Cherry Hill, problems at other campuses have languished without attention.