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How UVM's nurses strike is affecting one young patient

Burlington, VT. - Claira Dustin, age 9, has had the same nurses, day in and day out, since she entered the pediatric intensive care unit at UVM Medical Center three weeks ago. 

Now, her mother says, there's not a familiar face in sight. As one UVM nurse leaves, another contingency nurse fills in.

Even though the 48-hour nurses strike is scheduled to end at 7 a.m. Saturday, Dustin said she was uneasy when she woke up Thursday morning to learn that the nurses had walked off the job. And so was her daughter.

"This has been a very traumatic event for her, causing a lot of anxiety," Dustin said. "So having new people doesn't help. So it was stressful, it added a lot more stress to what we've been through." 

Isabelle Desjardins, chief medical officer at UVM Medical Center, says patient safety is the hospital's top priority during the nurses walkout. She says the hospital tries to foster a culture that empowers patients and families to be knowledgeable about their treatment.

"I want to reassure that all the clinicians have their eye on the patient and our finger on the pulse and we are making sure that we communicate the status and the current state of our patients," Desjardins said.



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