JOLIET, Ill. —Several nurses say security escorted them out of Ascension St. Joseph Medical Center in Joliet Friday after they raised concerns about a nursing shortage.

Emergency room and ICU nurses claim patient care is suffering because of a lack in staffing.

These nurses said they do not have enough support to care for patients. They’re demanding staff requirements they say are outlined in their contract to be fully met.

On Saturday night nurses, leaders with the Illinois Nurses Association and community members gathered outside the hospital for a rally.

On Friday night Illinois Nurses Association executive director Julia Bartmes said there were only four emergency room nurses scheduled. 

“They’re supposed to have 14 nurses. There were four scheduled to work and one was a charge nurse who is not supposed to have a patient assignment,” she said.

According to INA leaders, the nurses asked management for additional support, but didn’t get it.

“The hospital escorted the nurses out with security and locked them out for the remainder of their shift,” Bartmes said.

John Fitzgerald, a staff representative for the INA said when those nurses returned to work Friday, the head of labor relations said they would be suspended.

“They are in the process of suspending them, effectively illegally locking them out,” he said.

Those in the fight for more support say dangerously low staff is ultimately comes down to hurting patients. 

Former INA president and current board member Pat Meade said nurses from other cities are being offered triple time pay to help staff the ascension ER Saturday night.

WGN News reached out to Ascension St. Joseph Medical Center for a comment, but have not yet heard back.