Sacramento, CA (February 4, 2021) — California nurses and healthcare workers who are members of the Service Employees International Union (SEIU) in California celebrated the end of unsafe state “waivers” that for months have allowed hospitals to recklessly elude safe staffing standards. The California Department of Public Health on Monday ordered hospitals to comply with nurse-to-patient staffing rules, ending pandemic waivers that have left hospital workers spread too thinly to provide the level of care patients require and left nurses burned out and traumatized. SEIU Local 121RN President Dr. Nina Wells, DNP, RN, a member of SEIU California’s Executive Board, said: 

“Nurses and healthcare workers have achieved what hospitals refused to do: protect patient safety and ensure our workforce stays strong through this pandemic by ending the unsafe exceptions to staffing standards.  

“Nurses and other health care workers have been battling a relentless virus for more than a year now, surrounded by death and grief. We will bear the emotional scars of COVID-19 for the rest of our lives. When hospitals abuse staffing waivers, nurses are too overwhelmed to deliver the care each patient deserves. We go home exhausted and stressed; our children and families suffer, too.  

“We are proud to have secured the commitment of the Newsom Administration to end staffing waivers and to enforce the rules that keep patients safe and healthcare workers strong. The next pandemic is not an ‘if’ but ‘when;’ that’s why we will fight for legislation to ensure hospitals can never again cut corners when so many lives are on the line. Health care workers must be a meaningful part of the conversation before hospitals ask to bend the rules again.”