Wed., September 8, 2010 3:35pm (EDT)

VA Nurses Picket Over Staffing Shortage
By Noel Brown
Updated: 4 years ago

AUGUSTA, Ga.  —  
Nurses picket outside the Charlie Norwood VA Medical Center in downtown Augusta. (Photo by Noel Brown)
Nurses picket outside the Charlie Norwood VA Medical Center in downtown Augusta. (Photo by Noel Brown)
Members of a local nurses union carried picket signs and chanted slogans outside the Charlie Norwood VA Medical center in downtown Augusta.

The protest comes after the hospital cut registered nurse positions and caused what union officials say are unsafe conditions for veterans.

Kathy Billeter is a nurse who works at the VA center. She says she and her co-workers are stretched too thin.

"Nurses are working 16 hours, some voluntarily but a lot are being mandated, and studies have shown that when nurses work over 12 and a half hours that incidents increase: accidents, errors and deaths," said Billeter. "So for the patient’s safety you don’t want nurses working 16 hours. "

VA officials say they have slowly begun adding to their nursing staff.