KISSIMMEE, Fla. — Nurses and other staff members at Osceola Regional Medical Center hit sidewalks in Kissimmee on Monday morning, calling for action after they say the hospital left them short on staff and supplies during the pandemic.

What You Need To Know

  • Nurses and staff members are protesting working conditions at Osceola Regional Medical Center

  • The medical center is owned by HCA Healthcare, which nurses say is valuing profits over patients

  • Hospital and company officials have not responded to Spectrum News 13's request for comment

Nurses told Spectrum News 13 that HCA Healthcare, the company that owns Osceola Regional Medical Center, is putting profits over patients when it comes to safety. 

Marissa Lee, a labor and delivery registered nurse the hospital, said she came out to picket after a 12-hour overnight shift to help make people aware of the problems she and her coworkers face daily.

She said they don’t have the gowns, gloves and masks they need and are dangerously understaffed, and hospital leaders won't act.

“I want the community to realize what’s going on because we have begged, pleaded and have been telling them this is what we need. And we’re not asking for much, we’re not asking for much," Lee said. "We just want to be safe and we want our patients to be safe. And since they’re not listening to us, that’s why we’re out here.” 

Spectrum News 13 reached out to Osceola Regional Medical Center and HCA Healthcare about the protest, but as of Monday afternoon they had not responded to requests for comment. 

However, Osceola Regional Medical Center sent out this statement early Monday evening.

“Supporting our caregivers and providing superior patient care are connected priorities. Our team continues to work diligently to provide the level of staffing needed to support our growing community. Those needs span beyond our response to the pandemic which has presented its own unique challenges to healthcare in combination with the U.S. nursing shortage impacting hospitals nationwide. Despite these factors, our staffing levels are appropriate and reflect nursing and clinical association guidance, as well as patient acuity and provider skill mix.

"Early on in the pandemic, we took multiple steps to protect our colleagues and patients. We implemented universal masking before it was recommended by the CDC, launched extensive and successful efforts to acquire PPE to keep our colleagues protected, and assigned a PPE steward at our hospital in an effort to ensure our colleagues were properly fitted with the necessary protection. Additionally, at a time when hundreds of hospitals and healthcare systems were laying off or furloughing colleagues, we did not lay off or furlough a single employee due to the pandemic.

"It is our focus to keep our colleagues safe, and continue to recruit, train and promote our clinical teams, specifically the more than 1,100 nurses we employ at Osceola Regional Medical Center. Our frontline caregivers have shown unwavering commitment throughout the pandemic, and no one takes the health and safety of our caregivers more seriously than we do. While this labor union continues to attack hospitals across the country, we remain focused on the important job of protecting our colleagues, caring for our community, and providing high-quality, compassionate care for patients across our area.”