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Nurse Hours Won't Be Cut

March 23, 1992

Regarding "Hospitals Feel the Pain of Recession" in the Valley Business section of The Times (Feb. 25):

First, although St. Joseph Medical Center is working to meet the demands of a very tough health care marketplace, we are not considering cutting nursing hours. The remarks made by our assistant administrator for human resources were in a conversation about a complex subject called skill mix.

Rather than cutting nursing hours, such a program calls for reassigning registered nurses, licensed vocational nurses and nurse assistants so that their skills are used in situations that give the patient the highest value for the nursing time spent with them.

An example is assigning nursing assistants to doing data input for the extensive records we keep for each patient. This gives more time for the RN to spend in working with the patient, rather than being bogged down in paperwork.

Second, our volunteers are an incredibly important part of our medical center. Last year, our 400 volunteers gave more than 50,000 hours to this hospital and its patients. They feed patients, read and write for them, help us greet and make welcome our patients and their visitors, and help with answering phones, filing and typing.

Our volunteers are essential and we all value them beyond measure.

JAMES E. SAUER JR. Sauer is administrator of St. Joseph Medical Center in Burbank .

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