By Lisa Gresci

WORCESTER (CBS) – Nurses at Saint Vincent Hospital have officially been on strike for 100 days as of Tuesday, but many of them say they want to go back to work.

“100 days is certainly, you know, a stressful number,” nurse Michelle McGrath told WBZ-TV.

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“It feels horrible. I want to be in there taking care of my patients. I just wish they’d come back to the table and negotiate,” said nurse Linda Hassett.

Saint Vincent, which is owned by Dallas-based Tenet Healthcare, called the strike “irresponsible” when it started March 8 in the middle of the pandemic.

The nurses cited staffing issues and unsafe working conditions that were putting patients at risk as their reasons for walking out.

“The floors are really, really hurting bad. They need that staffing that we are fighting so badly for,” Hassett said.

“I know they can’t go on the way they are going on. It’s got to be safe for them and safe for the patients,” McGrath said. “It’s the things nurses have nightmares about when we go home, like, ‘Oh my gosh. Did I do everything, did I see everything, did I look up every lab result, did I get a chance to check thoroughly and did I miss something?”

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The two sides have met several times to continue negotiations, but so far, no deal has been reached.

“It’s been weeks and the last time we talked we thought we were having good movement and then they said we feel that our last proposal was good so you should settle with that, and we couldn’t” nurse Carolyn Moore told WBZ.

The nurses say every floor needs the proper staffing.

“You have people detoxing, dementia, things like that – they need just as much care,” Moore said.

And until that happens, she said, they’ll be out here, “as long as it takes,” even if it’s another 100 days.

“It’s very empowering to be out here with my co-workers knowing we are all, we are fighting for the same thing and we are on the right side of this fight,” Hassett said.

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According to the Massachusetts Nurses Association, this is the longest strike nationally by nurses in more than a decade and it is set to become the second longest strike in Massachusetts history this weekend.

Lisa Gresci