By Shawnte Passmore

SACRAMENTO (CBS13) — The U.S. has faced a chronic nursing shortage for years.

Rosemary Amaral always considered nursing to not only be a career but a calling.

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“I just always wanted to help people,” Amaral said.

She’s a registered nurse at Emanuel Medical Center in Turlock and has more than 10 years of experience. On Wednesday, she’ll be one of many registered nurses raising awareness of understaffing and high turnover rates at hospitals operated by Tenet Healthcare Corporation.

While the California Nurses Association doesn’t call it a strike, it does portray a grim reality. The union claims the Doctors Medical Center in Modesto lost 160 registered nurses while Emanuel Medical Center lost nearly 100 nurses.

The shortage means missed breaks and meals.

Amaral claims the healthcare provider struggled to attract and retain nurses during the pandemic. The sentiment echoes a familiar scene when workers at Sutter Health facilities went on strike citing similar concerns earlier this month.

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Data shows California has the most severe registered nurse shortage. The projections show the state’s demand easily outpaces supply in 2030.

This fallout means it could impact quality patient care. If work conditions don’t change, nurses are concerned patient care will also be impacted by workplace injuries and medical errors.

A Tenet spokesperson told CBS13 that the corporation is negotiating with the union.

“Like many hospitals across the country, we have been facing staffing challenges exacerbated by the pandemic, and we remain committed to doing everything possible to stay well-staffed,” said Krista Deans of Tenet. “To support our care teams, we have been exercising all options available to us. We are working with our staffing agency to bring traveler nurses on board and we are continuously working to recruit additional nurses.”

But the clock is ticking for some like Amaral.

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“I have considered leaving the hospital because it’s very morally distressing to know you’re going into these issues day in and day out,” she said.

Shawnte Passmore