June 17, 2024

St. Charles nurses in Bend begin countdown on strike

Nurses say working conditions have grown unsafe for staff and patients

Nurses at St. Charles Health System Bend — the largest health provider and employer in Central Oregon — announced on Friday they intend to strike, having submitted a legally required 10-day notice to the hospital.

The announcement is the culmination of simmering tensions between the hospital’s frontline staff and its administrators. Nearly 1,000 nurses at the hospital could go on strike if no agreement is reached.

Nurses have said there are not enough staff to meet patient demand, which they say is leading to potentially dangerous conditions.

“Your nurse may not be able to prioritize your hygiene, your medications, your pain medications, getting you to a test that you need to go to, because they simply cannot be in too many places at the same time,” said Erin Harrington, a nurse at the hospital.