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Registered nurses at Alta Bates Summit Medical Center are holding a five-day strike this week in response to high turnover rates and alleged workplace violence issues.

Starting Monday, members of the California Nurses Association and National Nurses United are calling on Sutter Health to provide a workplace violence prevention plan in each unit and give resources workers need to do their jobs properly, in efforts to combat the “mass exodus” of nurses the medical center is facing.

“I am seeing nurses leave the medical center for other nursing positions on a regular basis. We have nurses working overtime, and even double shifts day after day to keep the hospital running,” said Mike Hill, a nurse in the center’s intesive care unit. “Sutter must create working conditions to enhance patient care while also providing a safe work environment that retains nurses.”

Nurses planned daily pickets at the medical center’s Oakland and Berkeley campuses, starting at 7 a.m.

“This is not how you grow the next generation of nurses or how to take care of a community.”

Ann Gaebler, Sutter Health registered nurse

Ann Gaebler, registered nurse of over 40 years, said she has never seen Sutter “act this disrespectfully” towards nurses, and it’s causing experienced health care providers to leave.

“Without proper mentorship, we see young nurses suffering the moral injury and the moral distress of having to care for patients without the support they need, and so they leave,” Gaebler said in a statement. “This is not how you grow the next generation of nurses or how to take care of a community. We need Sutter to step up to address our concerns about retention, so we can continue to provide excellent care to our patients.”

A Sutter Health spokesperson said earlier this month that the health care provider is “disappointed” in union members for choosing to “disregard” their patients.

“Regardless of the union’s actions, ABSMC’s commitment to providing the community with critical services and high-quality, safe patient care during a strike and into the future remains unchanged,” said a Sutter Health spokesperson.