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OSU nurses: Hospital cutting nurse/patient ratio amid record profits

Is patient care being put at risk by budget cuts at one of central Ohio's best-known hospitals? Ohio State nurses say yes.

Is patient care being put at risk by budget cuts at one of central Ohio's best-known hospitals? Ohio State nurses say yes.

They are going public with their concerns, saying patients have a right to know.

"We are here as patient advocates because that is what we do as nurses. We advocate for our patients and we protect them," said Mallory Samczak. "We are here because it's become unsafe, and we want to make it safe again."

Samczak and approximately 30 other nurses from the Ohio State Wexner Medical Center gathered Wednesday to speak out against staffing cuts there.

They, along with the Ohio Nurses Association, say OSU recently implemented a new ratio of four patients to one nurse on their unit, up from the previous three patients to one nurse.

"We work on an ICU step-down, which means patients are very sick, which means they require more care and they require more one-on-one nursing," said Samczak. "So when you cut staffing and you expect a nurse to care for multiple ICU patients, you're jeopardizing our ability to safely protect them and get them the care they need in a timely manner."

She added, "I'm saying that I am not able to safely protect my patients at this point with the resources that we are being given."

Last month OSU President Michael Drake announced record-breaking profits for the medical center. With $3.41 billion in revenue, the hospital turned a $302 million profit. Drake called it OSU's best year ever.

"They had record-breaking profits, and they cut staffing at the bedside, where it impacts patients directly. So that's very concerning," said nurse Rick Lucas.

The nurses of OSU's Progressive Care Unit filed a grievance over the new ratio, and Wednesday had a closed-door hearing with hospital leadership.

10TV asked Lucas is patients should be concerned about the quality of care at OSU.

"In light of the ratios being changed, I would be very concerned."

"I love being an OSU nurse, and I love being a nurse," said Samczak. "So this is not about money. This is not about getting even with anybody. At the end of the day, this is about the patients."

OSU Wexner Medical Center released this statement to 10TV:

"Patient safety is always our number one priority. The Wexner Medical Center is widely recognized as one of the best health systems in the nation for quality of care. Our operational models are under continuous review, and we staff to the type of patient being treated, not to budget. We value and take seriously the feedback from our bedside staff on how we can best meet the needs of our patients. We are dedicated to transparency in working with our nursing staff and organizational leadership to resolve all issues, and will remain actively engaged."