I am a proud graduate of the Altoona Hospital School of Nursing and was fortunate enough to have worked in the Critical Care Department at Altoona Hospital from 1994 until 2005.
Today, I speak as a patient with Parkinson's disease who has become dependent on the skills of our medical community. In my opinion, the facility that is now UPMC Altoona has done an outstanding job of assembling competent staff and training very specialized skill sets to enable delivery of high quality/cost effective health care.
I also want to assure you that the clinical and supportive staff at UPMC Altoona is second to none - a team that takes our health care very seriously, a team that you can feel comfortable with when you and your family are in need of medical services.
That said, maintaining the fine balance between cost effectiveness and quality of medical care has become more scrutinized than ever.
I do not pretend to know the solution to this nationwide issue. But I can tell you from personal experience that any thought of increasing the nurses' patient workload, or replacing the very people we entrust our lives to with new staff is a patient safety issue that does not reflect the atmosphere of professional care that Altoona Hospital trained me to live by.
We have the correct staff. Please do not complicate or minimize their work effort.
Our lives depend on them.