To the editor:
In response to today's 3A photo of the hayride sponsored by the Minnesota Nurses Association, the union representing our 76 registered nurses, it seems like a good moment to give the community an update on the status of negotiations between the hospital and the union on a new contract.
While it's commonplace for such demonstrations to take place around contract negotiations, the timing and content of yesterday's activities is puzzling as we have been in productive and respectful negotiations over the last several weeks. We have, in fact, reached tentative agreements in a number of areas and more talks are scheduled.
The hospital will continue to do everything it can to reach a new agreement with the union, one that's fair to both the hospital and to our RNs but one that also is true to our mission and our commitment to the community.
We will continue to negotiate in good faith with our nurses' union and I am hopeful that a new agreement can be reached before the contract expires in November.
We are very confident that our staffing ratios are appropriate to our patients' needs and to our commitment to best practices in patient care and safety. I'm also confident that all of us on the Avera Marshall team - every RN, every physician, every staff member - share a commitment to patient safety as our highest priority. I see proof of that every day in how we work together to serve our patients and their families. While we can never be satisfied that our efforts in this area are good enough, the community can be assured that our professionalism and our dedication in this area will never waver.
While we might disagree from time to time on the best ways to achieve those goals - at the bargaining table and elsewhere - there should never be a moment's doubt that we share complete agreement as to the goals themselves.
Our focus will remain where it should be: on making sure our patients have the best possible care and that their safety is always our highest priority.
President and CEO
of Avera Marshall