Bismarck nurses and CHI St. Alexius Health Bismarck Medical Center have agreed on a contract after months of negotiation. Nurses negotiated the right to adjust patient assignments, the ability to pause new patient admissions to a unit if nurses feel they need time to catch up and minimum staffing levels in the emergency department, according to a news release from the Minnesota Nurses Association.
"Finally, nurses will be able to act when staffing isn't meeting patient needs," Rachel Heintz, a nurse at CHI St. Alexius, said. "This way patients can be assured that nurses will always be there for them, able to deliver the highest quality care."
The contract also has a wage scale that includes steps, or pay increases, for experience.
"We are happy to announce that a tentative agreement has been reached with the Minnesota Nurses Association," CHI St. Alexius spokesperson Chelsey Kralicek said in an email. "We appreciate working with our nurses to continue to provide top quality, safe care to our community."
A group of nurses picketed outside CHI St. Alexius in June to draw attention to low wages and staffing shortages. Nurses were also concerned that high staff turnover created a lack of institutional knowledge that would affect patient outcomes.