A planned walkout by Prince George's General Hospital intensive care nurses in Cheverly was averted yesterday when hospital administrators informally negotiated a settlement following nurse complaints that the hospital's special care unit was understaffed.
According to a nursing staff source, the strike had been scheduled for 3 p.m. yesterday, but was called off following the offer on the part of the hospital administration to add additional personnel and to close down one of the hospital's two eight-bed ICU facilities until aditional staff was available.
Joan Nolan, the vice president of administration for the hospital, said yesterday that seven nurses are currently being trained "to alleviate their situation."
"Nurses were not aware of some of the things we have done," according to Nolan.
Nolan said, "Generally speaking there are no shortages of nurses here. . . . no more than any other hospital would experience at this time of year." She said there is a particularly high turnover rate of nurses during the summer.
"We have made a special effort to hire nurses for the ICU (intensive care unit) facility, but as soon as we hire one, another one leaves."
The 35 nurses in the unit, according to Nolan, "are highly dedicated" and were only concerned about the facility's operation.
According to Nolan, the special orientatation program for the ICU nurses takes two weeks to complete.