is there any hope for our unit?

  1. Hello all, this will be long and I apologize in advance, but I need to get this off my mind.
    I work in a small rehab unit built off of a LTC facility. About a month ago, our manager was suddenly transferred to another outside position and we were told that her position was being "dissolved" due to lack of funds. Then we find out she is actually being replaced with a social worker who will be our new manager. How can a social worker be a nurse manager? Did I miss something?
    Since this happened, the morale on our unit has hit an all-time low. The DON and ADON of the facility have never helped us to begin with, and we don't know what to do when our current NM leaves. We get approx 2-5 admissions a day, mostly on PM shift when everyone leaves. We also average 2-3 discharges a day. There are only 2 nurses on each shift, sometimes only 1 on PM and MN. (I know because I did the floor myself last week with 15 patients. Day shift took it upon themselves to say I didn't need help because they didn't like the nurse who would have come in). I had two admissions that night. Three docs come in for rounds, families wanting to talk, pharmacy on the phone. One of the admits should have never left the hospital, after stat labs, stat EKG's, and an hour and half of my time with NO help, I have to send her back. I then came in the next day to catch an attitude from the nurses about some miniscule thing not being done. I about lost it.
    The floor nurses (there are only 7 who are staff) are all at each other's necks. One of the docs even commented on the unit the other day after he pulled me aside. I started having chest pain, and he spent about half an hour in a back room calming me down, doing an EKG, etc.
    I am sorry this is so long. I could write a novel about things that happen on this unit. There is so much bickering and backstabbing it is ridiculous. These nurses are my family. We are so close but at the same time can't stand each other at the moment. (Kind of like my real family at home!)
    We are all at our wit's end. We are scared about our unit being closed. We are tired of working alone or with agency or some staff nurses who don't have a clue and don't want to learn. We are tired of picking up the slack of those who are just there for the money. Our unit used to be (sometimes still is) full of laughter, and fun to work on. Even our docs loved to come to our unit for the laughs. We used to have birthday parties for everyone, and now some of the nurses won't participate, because our NM is leaving. I fell we should move on. I love my boss and all but our unit has to go on without her.
    Thank you to all who read this. I feel better getting this out in the open.
    Is there any hope for us?



    Heather
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  2. 5 Comments

  3. by   Rapheal
    Heather I would seriously be alarmed about your unit situation. One nurse on the floor for 15 patients-you may be putting your license in jeopardy. What if something happened-when you yell help-who is going to come? Is this fair to you? Is this fair to your patients?

    As much as we are human and become loyal to our institutions and co-workers-enough should be enough. If I were you I would leave. I wish you luck in any decision you make.
  4. by   gwenith
    Heather - one way to bring you all together - you and your co-workers think about this.

    Will a social worker be as brave as a nurse about short staffing a unit - especially when you make it plain that EVERY time you are understaffed SHE WILL be notified - in writing and therefor every adverse incident arising from lack of staff will be directly attributable to her. Nurses are used to shouldering the burden of responsibility but most other paramedical staff are not. Having someone who doesn't understand nursing as a manager may be to your advantage BECAUSE they do not understand nursing. We are often our own worst enemies (15 patients - BAH! in my day we looked after 95 AND ran the theatres and did all the cooking!)

    I am not saying your NM was a bad person but don't assume that the change will be for the worst.

    On a professional note - I am appalled that a nursing position went to a non-nurse and personally would give the new person grief exept that of course, I am too professional for that....
    Last edit by gwenith on Apr 25, '03
  5. by   Disablednurse
    I understand what you are feeling. I do not understand how a social worker can take the place of a nurse manager, but it is not unusual for there to be one nurse to 15 patients in LTC. Where I worked there were 30 patients to one nurse on the day and evening shifts and 60 patients to one nurse on night shift. Yes it is hard but it was done. Right now everything seems impossible because everyone is down and out due to all of the changes. If all of you were able to work as a group before then you will be able to do it now. If you cannot continue to work as a group, think what a let down it will be to your former nurse manager. I know it is hard, I have been there myself. Good luck.
  6. by   -jt
    <How can a social worker be a nurse manager? Did I miss something? ....... There is so much bickering and backstabbing it is ridiculous. >

    When people feel a loss of control, they turn on each other - probably cause thats the safest place to direct their frustration & anger. But someone has to get a hold of that and bring everyone together to redirect the concerns where they belong - to the administration. A meeting of the staff amongst themselves, whether it be at work, a coffee shop, or someones backyard to discuss the situation, their feelings, and clear the air would help. And then when everyone is on the same page, march into the DON's office together & demand that your concerns be heard - first and foremost, the unsafe staffing & the elimination of an RN as manager. Loudly voice your opposition to being managed by a non-RN - make them know this is not acceptable to you as professionals. Demand an RN manager be returned to your unit and also put them on notice that they will be holding the ball if safer staffing is not put into place. Let them know enough is enough now & they have pushed it too far. Make some noise in the administration offices. As long as youre killing each other but not giving the administration any trouble, you will be ignored. Instead, give them a headache over the whole thing - dont let it rest. You have rights, you have professional standards to maintain, you have power as a group force. You dont have to stand for the unacceptable. You just have to stand up together. Rising up and being a force to contend usually will achieve some of the changes you need, but even if it doesnt improve everything, at least you all got on the same side, took an action & made the administration take notice. Things may just change in response to that. But if you feel you still must leave, let the administration know exactly why you are all resigning.
    Last edit by -jt on Apr 25, '03
  7. by   passing thru
    EkgQueen: If I had the time, I'd list each of the problems you documented. You began with the SW as NM problem.
    But, nearly every statement after that included a new problem.

    As I see it, the SW as NM is the LEAST of the problems. It IS a rehab unit. A SW as NM sounds like someone has their thinking cap on and has made an excellent decision.

    List all of the problems you listed in your post. Analyze and evaluate them..
    Your social worker-manager is a wonderful idea. If you are aware of what managers do; you will understand that a SW can fill this position easily.

    The REAL PROBLEM/ QUESTION HERE IS: "What is the social worker going to do with seven bickering/backstabbing/angry/vindictive/immature nurses?"

    She's not exactly going to receive a Snow White welcome is she?

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