Nurses at Humble hospital go on strike to demand more PPE, better work conditions

Nurses at Humble rehabilitation hospital protest lack of COVID-19 PPE

HUMBLE, Texas – About 30 nurses and nurse technicians at an Humble rehabilitation hospital took to the picket line Monday to demand more personal protective equipment, hazard pay and better working conditions.

The nurses protested outside Encompass Health Rehabilitation Hospital as they marched along McKaye Avenue.

“I feel like they don’t care about our safety. I feel like they are doing what is best for the organization financially not for the staff,” said Allysia Cyprien, a Registered Nurse.

The nurses claim there are not enough nurses for all the patients and protective gear is not being made available.

“The patient ratios are critically high to the point where we are not able to provide quality care to the patients or safe care to the patients. The patients are asking me why am I not wearing what they would call a moon suit. They are asking me where is my equipment? I say ‘This is all they are giving me,‘” Cyprien said.

According to its website, Encompass Health Rehabilitation Hospital specializes in treatment for stroke, brain injuries, and other complex neurological conditions.

 Patients receive at least three hours of therapy, five days a week.

The nurses on strike say they are in constant close contact with patients and many patients also come from other facilities. As a result, nurses are always worried about possibly being exposed to coronavirus.

“We may not know where they’re coming from. We may not know if they are positive upon admission. We may find out later that they may have been exposed,” Cyprien said.

In response, hospital officials issued the following statement:

We are taking all appropriate safety precautions such as supplying proper personal protective equipment and adhering to a universal masking policy. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, we have provided additional support for our frontline healthcare workers by providing up to two weeks of additional paid time off. We will continue to ensure the safety of our staff as we provide safe and quality care to the patients we serve.”

The nurses say they won’t go back to work until a deal is reached with the hospital. They plan to be back on the picket line first thing Tuesday morning.