It took a state audit to show what is obvious to every Public Health Nurse: the County’s systematic understaffing is impacting nurses and patients. A report released by the California State Auditor on July 26 determined that the County of San Diego could not support its claim that it has enough Public Health Nurses to keep the public safe. SEIU Local 221 member leaders approached State Sen. Ben Hueso about taking the issue to the Joint Legislative Audit Committee about a year ago because of staffing concerns.
“The County’s response to this audit is that it is still meeting ‘numerous measures,’ but this is something it is only able to do because Public Health Nurses are working overtime and not taking breaks,” said Vanessa Garcia, California Children’s Services Senior Public Health Nurse. “Rehiring retirees and stretching nurses to do more isn’t sustainable and leads to work injuries and burnout.”