Just a little background about my unit first! I work in a Level 2 NICU. Our normal staffing is 4 RN's and 1 LPN per night shift. This is to cover our level 2, level 1, and well baby nursery as well as transport services to pick up NB's at other community hospitals. Between December and May of this year we have lost 5 RN's on night shift, right now we have 2 RN new grad orientees on the unit for nights. We have been covering our unit, with overtime, float pool, and PRN---- as well as working short staffed and having to call our NM to help cover the unit at times.
Well, in the last 2 weeks our census has dropped in the nursery. The rest of the hospital's census has picked up now. Sooooo, someone made the bright idea to reopen a wing of the hospital and staff it with nurses from other units. the patients are fresh admits from ER and post-ops. Guess who they start trying to pull
The other day thay had a nursery RN and LPN and an ICU stepdown RN to staff this 'unit'. To make a long story short, the RN's on night shift requested in writing to be removed from the schedules for ALL overtime, because we cannot safely provide care to adults (especially in a unit that was closed because there is no staff to work it!!!), and we refuse to work Overtime to provide Rn's for the hospital to use whereever they feel like pulling us to! The supervisors were letting the Overtime people come in to work the nursery (minimum staff of 3 RN's) and pulling the regularly scheduled staff to work this 'overflow unit'.
Our NM was on vacation so this letter was given to the NM covering for her, and our staff coordinator. We were removed from the master schedule but have agreed to come in and work if our unit needs it on the overtime days---"However, we are not willing to work any overtime for any other unit in this hospital." This letter was passed along in nursing admin. and we got a letter back
that day. The letter is almost threatening--- 'this works both ways', you will want your hours and a full paycheck, but the census may not support it'--- if you continue with a low census we all may be scrambling to get our hours, etc.
I am furious that they missed the entire point of our requests, and are trying to threaten us. At this point I would love to have a conference with those in admin who wrote this letter. Oh, and copies were sent to the CEO and DON. I can't wait to see our NM. I kinda feel sorry that she is gonna get caught in the middle of this-- she is the best NM that we have had and is supportive of us.
Sorry this is so long, but I am mad now. I have spent a lot of time reading the posts on this board, but don't normally reply. I feel that y'all listen and understand though!
Oct 14, '02
A few years back when I worked L&D, they tried to do the same thing to us, floating us out of the L&D unit when we didn't have any (or many) in labor, and they needed us for census in the rest of the hospital. One of their more stupid tricks was floating us out, then half-way through the shift when L&D got busy, pulling us back to the unit!!!!
We finally got their policy reversed by screaming loudly about infection control issues. The idea being that it really isn't cool for a nurse one day to be messing with MRSA and the next day handling a premie or scrubbing for a C-section. It was a long fight, though. Good luck to you. Stick to your guns, but research out some basis and "rationale" for your refusal to float, including no cross-training, infection control, sudden full-moon mass deliveries, etc. What you've got on your side is that experienced specialty area nurses aren't very easy to find. They can't fire you all, so stick together. The suits have to wise-up that you just can't plug any nurse into your area and have them suddenly knowledgeable about reading early d-cells, fetal distress, on strips, and suddenly know what doctors use what size of gloves, etc., etc.
Speaking of the docs, tell the OB docs what is happening. They may have a few words for the suits, too!
Last edit by Youda on Oct 14, '02