They Voted With Their Feet

  1. at an icu unit, about a dozen of the most experienced nurses left suddenly. these were nurses who had been in that unit for years, the "backbone" so to speak. they left because the doctors were so abusive. the nurse manager did her best to prevent the mass exodus--she sent written documentation of the doctors' behaviors up the chain of command. how sad--it was not taken seriously at the time.
    now she is staffing her unit with travelers and no one--not even new grads--wants to come to this unit, as the "bad word" has gotten out. now the administration is backing the nurse manager with zero tolerance for abusive doctors. the doctors' behavior has changed 180 degrees, and there is an atmosphere of respect and trust. unfortunately for this unit, the damage has been done and it will take years to undo the bad reputation and to repair the staffing.
    the point of my post is this--we nurses have enormous power--much more power than we know. we just need to stand united and not put up with abusive or unsafe working environments anymore.
    Last edit by VickyRN on Apr 23, '03
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  2. 15 Comments

  3. by   passing thru
    How about a hint -- the state-- where the nurses are so gutsy??
  4. by   canoehead
    Wonderful. We need to send that unit some flowers in support of their new policy.
  5. by   JedsMom
    How Awsome!!!
  6. by   SmilingBluEyes
    inspirational. good to see change CAN be effected by such action.
  7. by   llg
    Perhaps the nurse who left should now return -- to demonstrate that if hospitals fix the real problems, it would make a difference. Staying away sends the message to hospitals that fixing the real problem won't help the staffing.

    It would probably be emotionally difficult for those nurses to return -- but think what a statement that might make!

    llg
  8. by   ScarlettRN
    A hospital I worked for a few years ago had a mass exodus of nurses from it's OB unit after one of the nurses brough in her laptop computer and then proceeded to have entirely too much fun on it on company time. Apparently some porn and dirty messages were involved and a very uncomfortable male nursing superviser quit because he was being sexually harassed. The wrong nurse was called into the office of the HR director, and the nurse, who was actually innocent of wrong doing, was sandbagged by the HR guy, the director of nursing, and the nurse manager, who later quit over the incident too.
    The entire unit quit on the same day. The manager, who was a long time employee and a great advocate for her nurses, quit a week later when informed that SHE was responsible for either staffing or working all the empty shifts herself.
    A new DON came on board a few months later and started a policy of never rehiring a nurse who had left. She would get out their record and go over it with a fine tooth comb, then reject the returning nurse simply because she left once....sometimes more than once.
    Things took 2 years to recover from the loss of experienced OB nurses. One of the OB docs actually made the comment that maybe now the hospital would hire "young and thin" nurses to restaff the ward. One of the new hires was his newly graduated DAUGHTER.
    Never ever ever let them put you thru hell. There ARE more and better hospitals out there! Vote with them feet!
  9. by   altomga
    How I wish this type of unity could spread like wild fire....maybe..just maybe the "upper level" of management and administration would take nurses seriously and act upon the problems that are brought to their attention...
    One huge VOICE always gets more attention then the one lonely soft one!! The single voice is just "a trouble maker"

    Good going guys!!!
    I agree with the one post...the one nurse should return to show the adminstration that IF THEY FIX THE PROBLEM THE GOOD NURSES WILL RETURN!...
  10. by   renerian
    Good for the unit but bad the good nurses left...........maybe they would consider coming back based on the new policy?

    renerian
  11. by   VickyRN
    how about a hint -- the state-- where the nurses are so gutsy??
    as many of you probably already know, i am in beautiful north carolina.
    good for the unit but bad the good nurses left...........maybe they would consider coming back based on the new policy?
    unfortunately, once the mass exodus has occurred, most nurses will not come back no matter what. i know this from personal experience. nurses move on to other avenues, other opportunities (such as what i did in becoming a nurse educator), and really have no interest in "revisiting the past."
    so the hard-learned lesson here is that administration needs to take nursing complaints very, very seriously to prevent the nurses from leaving in the first place. "fix" those ugly docs or unsafe working conditions at the first hint of discontent--don't wait for the mass exodus to occur and then fix the problem. this is very foolish, expensive, and dangerous.
  12. by   SmilingBluEyes
    i doubt they will ever see the light across the board. too many nurses to recruit/steal from other countries yet. it's being done all over here. Nurses in many places are about as expendable the the disposable syringes/needles they use in their trade. It's sad but, In many cases, unless there is a union to protect you, you are considered VERY replaceable and a HUGE expense/liability to many hospitals..
  13. by   BrandyBSN
    Its sad they HAD to do that, but I understand... you just can't go to a job everyday that beats you up inside and out and be treated poorly. If words aren't load enough feet speak volumes.
  14. by   Jenny P
    Originally posted by SmilingBluEyes
    ... Nurses in many places are about as expendable the the disposable syringes/needles they use in their trade. It's sad but, In many cases, unless there is a union to protect you, you are considered VERY replaceable and a HUGE expense/liability to many hospitals..
    I read somewhere that it costs $60,000 to orient a nurse into ICU the first year. Maybe the hospital will have learned a lesson; albeit, a VERY expensive one! And then they'll blame NURSES for the shortage and costing the hospital so much, right?

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