Hospitals Firing Seasoned Nurses: Nurses FIGHT Back!
Facilities are firing seasoned, higher paid nurses and utilizing younger less experienced nurses. This cost-cutting measure is putting patients at risk, working nursing and support staff to the point of exhaustion, and causing staff to leave the profession. How can we get administrators to see that these measures are not effective and can cost lives?
This article was written by a member on allnurses. Due to the controversial and emotionally charged nature of the article, the member wanted the topic out in the open so nurses could discuss it. Because she is afraid of retribution if any of her hospital administrative staff should read this article and link it back to her, we offered to publish it for her anonymously. Please add your comments regarding this issue negatively impacting nurses and the healthcare system.
An Open Letter to Hospital Administrators
I am an experienced nurse that has watched many of my very talented colleagues leave the bedside due to the changes that have taken place in healthcare as of late. I have seen staff cut to the minimum, while patient acuity and nurse to patient ratios increase. I have seen support staff break down in tears because they have not been able to do their jobs properly. I have seen staff pushed to their breaking point, all the while administration stays in their offices, or in the meetings, determining yet more ways they can cut our resources. I see your salaries raised to ridiculous amounts, while we are denied cost of living increases, housekeeping is cut at night, and our benefits cost more, while the services are decreased.
I see our retirement cut while at the same time, the amount matched continues to be diminished or non-existent.
I see ways in which we are constantly blamed for declining patient satisfaction, increased patient falls, late medication administration, all the while we are asked to do more with less. I have seen you fire experienced staff and hire less experienced, cheaper, staff. I have seen that new staff break down because they have no resources, no experience to draw from and I have seen patients suffer from that inexperience. I have seen codes increase, inappropriate admissions to floors, transfers to higher levels of care, all because no one was there initially to advocate for a higher level of care for the patient to begin with.
I still see you in your office. I do not see you on the floor. I see you with your graphs, your pie charts, your questions about readmission rates, when I had already advocated for that patient to stay longer but was simply laughed off by doctors and not supported by you. Yet, somehow, I need to be on a committee to fix the problem.
I am now required to work extra shifts, because staff are getting sick due to stress, or leaving completely because they are tired of dealing with things. I see you develop a culture of fear, where our jobs are at stake, and threatened at every turn. Yet, you still look to me for solutions.
“How can we do more with what we have?” I am asked.
My answer: There is no way to do more. We are at our limit. You are losing nurses as fast as you are gaining them, at a time when we need to be building up our profession, when the baby boomers are just starting to become a factor in our healthcare environment.
My answer to this is simple. It is time to get real and start valuing your employees. If you want to be reimbursed for patient satisfaction, increase your services. Staff departments with what they need - enough nurses, enough aids, monitor techs, secretaries, ED techs, whatever. Then you will see positive results. Falls will decrease. Medication errors will decrease and medications will be given on time. Patients will get the treatment they deserve and patient satisfaction scores will improve. Your reimbursement will improve and you will stop losing money. Everyone wins: most importantly, the patients.
We need to stop the assembly-line mentality of medicine and return to the service mentality.
Yes we are a business. But any business that has ever done well has not done well by decreasing the services to people or by mistreating its staff. Otherwise, healthcare facilities are going to see more of the same, and suffer more financial penalties, less high-quality staff, and patients will suffer.
I was talking with several of my colleagues just the other day. All of us had many years of experience. Many had been at the bedside for over 20+ years. Many are leaving the bedside due to the unsafe conditions they are seeing. They just don’t want to be a part of it. Perhaps this does not scare you, but it should. You must not be a patient yet.
For a follow up article, please go to Nurses Fight Back! Why Some Hospitals are DespicableLast edit by Joe V on Oct 20, '17
Jan 22, '15Quote from inshallamiamiBut other nurses care what you think. The Ebola crisis showed that nurses have power in numbers.Perfectly said. I agree 100% but hospital administrators do not care what you think.
What can we do to fight back?Jan 22, '15An RN I worked with told me something I think we all "know" but it was still shocking to hear it affirmed: tactics they use to get experienced (expensive) RN's out the door. One included a former nurse manager that confirmed she was told to "give substandard employee reviews" to RN's--even if they were performing at or exceeding expectations. The goal being to get them so discouraged they'd leave of their own accord.Jan 22, '15Hi anonymous. This topic was just discussed last week by a popular Phila. radio talk show host. A nurse had called in the show and talked about how area hospitals are hiring only nurses with higher degrees but with no experience and inadequate clinical education to prepare them for working on the floors. I contacted the host shortly after and told him of how our most competent nurses with 20+ years and certifications that demonstrate proficiency in specialty areas are being shunned and forced out to hire young, naive inexperienced nurses at the bottom of the pay scale. And because they have large student loan debts, they are less likely to speak up about unsafe patient loads for fear of termination. In other words, they are more easily controlled by management.
I am going to forward your article to him as I'm sure he will revisit the topic soon; I will push to have it talked about on the air again. And you're right, patient care has been increasingly suffering due to the loss of the very nurses we would want to have mentor the new nurses.
I am very happy to see more nurses stepping up and talking about this. And to all you nurse managers, administrative lackeys and HR phonies who turn a blind eye to this; be on notice. People like me are not afraid to speak up. And when prospective patients hear of the unsafe conditions at your facilities and are deterred from going there,; we'll see how long you can keep your jobs. You see, I experienced this nonsense myself at one of my first and know the only way to change things is to hit these people where it hurts; in their purse-strings.Jan 22, '15It has been my opinion that meetings among administrators and managers should be required to have a third-party present to take down minutes and those minutes should be dispersed to staff members once the meeting is over.
Just one idea to start to facilitate accountability and transparency.Jan 22, '15I recently told an administrator that it was only a matter of time before a patient dies and their family sues the hospital. We have had several near misses these last few months and most of it is directly related to them not having enough nurses. They are trying to save money by running off seasoned nurses, etc. No one seems to care. I hate going to work. I've seriously gotta find somewhere else but when I read these comments, I think this is taking place at the majority of hospitals here in America.
Regarding your comment on falls in the opening paragraph, at the last count we've had fifteen since the first week of December.Last edit by tacomaster on Jan 22, '15 : Reason: add more infoJan 22, '15Quote from inshallamiamiIts unfortunately the truth. Bottom line is that healthcare is a business and if someone younger can be replaced for less to do the same job, then it will happen. Age discrimination is alive and well, its just disguised much better these days. Negative public opinion, lawsuits, and increases in morbidity/mortality can change policies...Perfectly said. I agree 100% but hospital administrators do not care what you think.Jan 22, '15Quote from resqbugThis is a big reason why I have zero interest in a management position, at least where I work. I've been in those meetings while acting as manager, back in the days when I actually felt it was an honor to be asked to cover the position. Well, the meetings are really just one big long ***** session where everything and everybody is discussed and nothing is accomplished. It's amazing how much time management can waste just complaining about whoever the manager was that didn't make the meeting.It has been my opinion that meetings among administrators and managers should be required to have a third-party present to take down minutes and those minutes should be dispersed to staff members once the meeting is over.
Just one idea to start to facilitate accountability and transparency.
And yes, they do spend an inordinate amount of time looking for ways to place blame on the floor staff for every complaint that is addressed. I use to wonder how often my name came up in those meetings, now I find I just really don't care. If they want to find a way to get rid of me because I've been there too long, they'll find a way.
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