Nurses at Berkshire Medical Center in Pittsfield are rallying on Thursday to bring awareness to patient safety concerns. According to the Massachusetts Nurses Association, BMC nurses have to this point filed more 509 unsafe staffing forms between October 2015 and April 2018.

The MNA says this is an unfortunate milestone and evidence of the need for the improvements to patient care conditions that nurses have been seeking for years. Nurses will discuss their experiences at a ‘Rally for Patient Safety’ outside Berkshire Medical Center at 725 North Street in Pittsfield.

The unsafe staffing forms are a tool used by nurses to document to hospital management any time they are confronted with care conditions that in their professional judgment are inconsistent with appropriate patient care.

RN Alex Neary, Co-Chair of the MNA BMC Bargaining Committee says that its unacceptable that these incidents continue unabated…

Each form represents a time when nurses did not have the time and resources to safely care for their patients. Our patients and community deserve better. We should strive for safe patient care 100 percent of the time and that is why our nurses are advocating now for staffing improvements.

The nearly 800 BMC nurses have been negotiating a new contract since September 2016. Nurses held a one-day strike on October 3rd and were then locked out of the hospital by BMC management for four additional days. A second 24-hour strike had been scheduled for Tuesday, February 27th but was postponed by the MNA BMC Bargaining Committee, as bargaining continued.

The next negotiating date is May 25th.

The local rally will take place beginning at 4:30pm on Thursday. The rally is happening as National Nurses Week is observed this week.