Trumbull Memorial Hospital considers replacing LPNs - WFMJ.com News weather sports for Youngstown-Warren Ohio

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Trumbull Memorial Hospital considers replacing LPNs

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WARREN, Ohio -

Nurses play a critical role at Valley health care facilities, but licensed practical nurses at Trumbull Memorial Hospital are concerned about what the hospital could be prescribing for their future.

Anthony Caldwell, a spokesperson with the Service Employees International Union District 1199 tells 21 News, "If ValleyCare moves forward with it's proposal to eliminate the LPNs at Trumbull Memorial Hospital, that would mean 47 people would lose their jobs who are currently serving as LPNs."

ValleyCare spokesperson Trish Hrina issued a statement on Friday saying that back in May, the hospital initiated discussions with the Service Employees International Union District 1199 regarding plans to transition to a nurse staffing model that uses registered nurses and nursing assistants.

The statement says that the model uses RNs to provide most of the patient care.  The hospital says it offered to work with the union to help transition licensed practical nurses who will be impacted by the change.   However, the nurse's union has concerns that implementing the plan would mean a drastic change to the current delivery of care provided to patients.

"We've seen this playout in other hospitals where they eliminate the LPNs, put additional responsibilities on the RNs and then hire a few nurses assistants to cover the work load.  But really what suffers in the end is the quality care the people who go to the hospital receive," Caldwell said.   

ValleyCare maintains it is committed to providing the highest quality care for patients.

But according to the union, LPNs care for the sick, injured, convalescent and disabled performing wide range of duties including, preparing and administering medications, injections, IV antibiotics, and inserting and monitoring IV's, applying dressings, wound care, calling and implementing doctors' orders, pre and post-operative care and education of diagnoses such as diabetes, congestive heart failure, stroke, and heart anomalies, and monitor patients for adverse reactions to medications or treatments.

The union also says that the change would be considered a violation of the current contract between ValleyCare and the SEIU, which is in place until 2016.

The SEIU threatens to file an unfair labor practice charge if the changes take place before the end of the year.

As of now, there have been no layoffs or layoff notices issued by the hospital.

SEIU District 1199 represents approximately 250 workers at Trumbull Memorial Hospital and over 600 in the ValleyCare Health System.

Dr. Nancy Wagner, the Chairperson of Youngstown State's Department of Nursing says, acute care hospitals in the area are moving towards the trend of hiring more registered nurses.

"They're definitely going toward more of an RN model.  There is definitely a role for the LPN in healthcare, but that role has been more for long term care, possibly home care."

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