TAMPA BAY, Fla. (WFLA) – Nurses protested Thursday across the Bay area to voice their concerns about a nurse shortage.

Dozens across the area picketed on sidewalks in front of various hospitals Thursday morning.

The Nurses Union representative said nurses want better working conditions.

They’re demanding better resources, better health care, competitive pay and nurse retention.

There’s a shortage at major hospitals across the Bay area.

“It’s important that we have these things and that’s what we’re advocating for,” said Rosel Stuart.

She’s been a nurse for 40 years. Stuart has spent the last 12 years at Northside Hospital.

Stuart said, nurses come and go.

“48% of the nurses have been there less than 18 months. 71% have been there less than three years and only 11% have been there greater than ten years,” she said.

Patsy Ernst works at Blake Medical Center in Bradenton.

“Well a lot of things happen when your short staffed nurses, patients don’t get taken care of in a timely manner. They may not get their medicines in a timely manner. Nurses may not get a lunch break. They may be forced to stay overtime,” said Ernst.

Union representatives said the hospitals have the funds. They’re in negotiations, hoping for a better outcome for all.
Officials said salary for nurses in Florida is below the national average.

“I do, I do love what I do and I’d just like to see it get better so we can give the best possible care to our patients,” said Stuart.

Contract negotiations continue Friday.