WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) – The newly unionized nurses at Ascension Via Christi St. Francis in Wichita took their first steps this week and addressed safety at the hospital. This follows this month’s delivery of a gun on the pediatric floor of Ascension Via Christi St. Francis.
National Nurses United (NNU), which represents the unionized nurses at Via Christi St Francis, said it wanted to know more about the hospital’s response plan to situations like the shooting to better protect patients and staff.
After that there were no injuries The only shot was fired on November 7th in the secured pediatric ward of Ascension Via Christi, and the hospital said it was evaluating additional safety measures. On Tuesday, nurses from the union requested a meeting with hospital management.
In a statement from the hospital, Via Christi said the union nurses did not follow the correct process for requesting the meeting.
“On Tuesday, union nurses from Ascension Via Christi St. Francis attempted to circumvent the negotiation process by attempting to schedule a meeting without a union representative present. We informed the NNU that it would be unlawful for us to meet with individuals without a union representative present. We hope the Nurses Union will comply with the law going forward as we intend to negotiate in good faith to reach an agreement that is in the best interests of our staff, patients and the community,” the statement said .
A member of the nurses’ union said the meeting was a priority, not because of an exchange of gunfire but because it was important to make sure patients felt safe.
“[It’s]very important to have a safe place for our patients and our nurses,” said Ascension Via Christi St. Francis ER nurse Shelly Rader, RN. “Given what is going on, we look forward to meeting with management around the table to initiate plans for our patents and our people.”
It’s not just nurses who are seeking more information about the shooting in the hospital’s pediatric ward. Britani Wade was in the hospital when the shot was fired. She said she was with her son in the secured children’s ward when the bullet went through the wall and into his patient’s room.
“We were in the bathroom and heard a really loud noise. I thought it sounded like something really heavy had fallen from above,” Wade said.
She said the hospital staff’s immediate response left her frustrated and with questions, as Wade felt they didn’t have a clear protocol for what to do.
“When you go to the hospital, you want to make sure you’re safe,” Wade said. “You’re already super vulnerable, it’s probably traumatic. And it makes me angry that things like this can happen.”
The next day, Wade said she went back to the hospital and met with management.
“They were really upset that it happened,” Wade said. “They seemed to take my concerns seriously, but when I asked them, ‘What is your gun policy,’ they said, ‘No guns in the hospital.'”
Wade said she’s trying to learn more about the specific policies and procedures to prevent these things from happening at the hospital. The nurses’ union expressed hope that the hospital would address their concerns.
In its continued response to the Nurses Union, Ascension Via Christi said it places safety at the top of its game: “The safety of staff and patients is always a top priority. For this reason, our security team is led by a former Wichita Police Department Captain, and we have armed security personnel alongside the Wichita Police Department to respond to any type of security threat. For this reason, we offer all employees online and in-person occupational safety training to help them recognize and respond appropriately to conflicts or threats to their well-being. At Ascension Via Christi St. Joseph, we also have a 25-person mental health protection team who are trained to de-escalate situations when needed. We have added fencing and installed additional video cameras in the parking areas, units, hallways and entrances of our hospitals and clinics, which are monitored by security.”
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