Berkshire Medical nurses protest for patient safety, hospital accountability

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PITTSFIELD, Mass. (NEWS10) – Dozens of nurses lined the streets outside Berkshire Medical Center on Tuesday to fight for patient safety.

Protestors braved the rain. They said Mother Nature could not stop them from getting their point across.

They spoke from the heart. They cheered. They sang.

“We’ll be out here in the rain or the snow or whatever it takes to get our message out there,” Mark Brodeur said.

Brodeur has been a nurse at BMC for seven years.

“I never expected to be doing this,” he said.

Brodeur said he started nursing because he wanted to help others. On Tuesday, he joined his fellow nurses to ensure that they can.

Weeks ago, nurses at BMC went on strike. They were protesting for patient safety because they believed they were understaffed. The nurses feared that with little staffing, they couldn’t properly take care of patients.

Barbara Connor is a registered nurse.

“This is our community; it’s our community,” she said.

She’s been at the hospital for 17 years. She said it’s not about the nurses, but rather it’s about the people they help.

“Our patients are our family, our neighbors, our friends,” she said.

Now the nurses are asking that if there isn’t more staffing, the hospital needs to be held responsible for what happens to patients when they are understaffed.

“When patients are involved, it’s worth it, and we have to make that effort,” Brodeur said.

An early statement from the hospital said its focus is on making sure patients are properly cared for, but the protesting nurses disagree. Connor said they’re just getting started.

“This is how passionate the nurses are about the job they do that they’re willing to stand out in the pouring rain,” she said. “Whatever it takes. We’re not backing down from this.”

The nurses said there will be another protest at 11:30 a.m. Sunday.

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