Local care best; support nurses

To the Journal editor:

For over 2 years, my wife has been battling cancer, entailing chemotherapy, radiation, and surgery. We have both Medicare and private insurance through my employer, Cliffs Natural Resources and decided from day one to stay local and not migrate to Green Bay/Appleton or beyond.

If we desired, my employer would pay for our travel and hotel expenses to any approved Center of Excellence in the continental United States. The point being, we are not locked into U.P. Health System by economics.

We have never regretted the decision to stay local — the physicians, surgeons and nursing staff of the Oncology, Radiation Oncology, Emergency Departments and nurses on the sixth and eighth floors have treated my wife in a professional manner with dignity and compassion.

But, I must single out the nursing staff and care aides for special mention. What a wonderful group of men and women who perform daily, above and beyond, when it comes to the welfare of their patients. They are truly a credit to their profession.

Nurses are literally the face of the hospital to each patient. They deserve nothing less than consistent and unyielding support from the management team to create and maintain an environment which at a minimum provides staffing levels that allow them to ply their skills in such a manner that benefits the patients and encourages job satisfaction.

There is a lot of “hot air” that gets blown around when the subject of quality care is mentioned. Sending people to “Culture Days” may well be helping, telling people to smile and answer call buttons promptly are laudable goals, but it’s hard to smile and answer call buttons promptly if you are understaffed.

UPHS must make a special effort to give its nursing staff the tools they need to do their job and the respect they deserve — and the out-migration to other medical facilities will be significantly reduced.

Ron Lovel

Ishpeming