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Opinion >  Letters

Thank you, Spokane

Many of us have struggled this past year from the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. Those of us on the front lines at MultiCare Deaconess and Valley Hospitals have worked tirelessly to care for our patients. Unfortunately, we are also working short-staffed, creating potentially unsafe conditions for ourselves and our patients. As we have tackled the virus head-on while trying to protect ourselves, our families, and our town, we have been told by hospital management that we are heroes. However, we have not felt like such when we are losing staff to other local facilities with higher wages and safer work conditions.

We have been meeting with management at MultiCare Deaconess and Valley Hospitals since November to help ensure the safe care our community deserves. To date we have spent over 180 hours in virtual sit-downs where the same management teams that call us heroes are now telling us they would like to keep the “status quo” on almost everything. It’s defeating to be told that unsafe conditions are acceptable, to watch caregivers leave for other facilities at a rapid rate, leaving us with even fewer staff. We know and to know that we are not being paid comparably to our counterparts at other local hospitals—or to workers at Amazon and Costco.

I thank the Spokane community for recognizing and standing with healthcare workers in both hospitals this past year, and for continued support as we continue to negotiate with MultiCare to win comparable wages and safe staffing that our patients deserve.

Charity Turpen, Registered Respiratory Therapist

Spokane Valley

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