Union: Haley VA has critical nursing shortage

  1. Army Staff Sgt. Alex Dillmann, his spine severely wounded by an explosion in Afghanistan, said his nurses at the James A. Haley VA Medical Center were horribly overworked and short-staffed.
    He said his wound dressing wasn't changed often enough nor would he get pain medication promptly. If he soiled himself, Dillmann said, it could take 40 minutes for a nurse to answer a call button.

    His wife started doing some of the nurse's work herself out of necessity, the couple said. Finally, Dillmann asked the Army to send him to another hospital. In September 2012, he transferred to a private Atlanta facility.

    "Things were just being overlooked," said Dillmann, 27, of Tampa, who is now out of the hospital. "You feel powerless to do anything about it. I got out. But I know there are soldiers still dealing with the same problems."

    Haley, one of the nation's busiest veterans hospitals and one of just five with a polytrauma center for the most critically wounded troops, has a severe nursing shortage that is endangering patients, according to the facility's nursing union, National Nurses United.

    In February, the union filed a grievance against Haley saying the Department of Veterans Affairs facility wasn't following its own policy on maintaining adequate nurse staffing levels.
    The facility needs to hire at least 200 nurses, and probably much more, to alleviate a shortage that impacts critically ill patients most, said Irma Westmoreland, the national chairwoman of NNU's VA unit.

    "The nurses are working hundreds of hours of overtime," Westmoreland said. "They're exhausted and stressed out. There aren't enough hands to touch patients. It's very unsafe to have these folks do every single thing they're being asked to do." ...

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  3. by   laborer
    War presidents, Bush Jr. Bush Sr.and DARLING REAGAN were the cause of these problems. Now it's up to Obama to fix the VA.

    Last edit by Esme12 on Mar 27, '13
  4. by   tewdles
    Of course, the sequester will further harm these vets...as those programs will feel the sting of the austerity being forced upon us in a difficult time.
  5. by   Esme12
    Sounds like they have been short staffed for a long time.....long before the sequester. Why would the VA be exempt from the corporate greed that has spread to every aspect of corporate America and that includes the government....BOTH SIDES.

    These self imposed "nursing shortages" is just flat out not hiring nurses to maintain profit margins. I'd be curious to know how many nurses they have forced on early retirement, fired, or laid off.

    I'll be watching this to see what the NNU does.