Why does Nursing put up with short staffing? - page 6

I am wanting to get a little feedback as to why Nursing (in general) allows short staffing to be an issue? I am on our research committee at work and would like to get an idea of where to take my... Read More

  1. by   JaxiaKiley
    It's hard to balance leaving your co-workers even more short staffed, and refusing to work in an unsafe situation.
  2. by   wooh
    Quote from JaxiaKiley
    It's hard to balance leaving your co-workers even more short staffed, and refusing to work in an unsafe situation.
    **I** am not leaving my coworkers even more short staffed, the hospital is. My coworkers are just as capable of refusing an unsafe assignment as I am. Until we all stick together and refuse unsafe assignments, the hospital has no incentive to quit short staffing us. As long as someone will take the extra 2,3 (or for you LTC folks 20) extra patients, the hospital is saving tons of money! Make them pay someone the big bucks it takes to work an extra shift on a regular basis, and they'll start losing money. Until they're losing money, nothing will change.
    Last edit by wooh on Feb 6, '07 : Reason: clarity
  3. by   interleukin
    "**I** am not leaving my coworkers even more short staffed, the hospital is."


    Right on!

    It's vital to focus on those who support the inequities and not fall for these lame and tired attempts at guilt transference.

  4. by   tracey1968
    I have worked the gammet of nursing jobs, same BS different facility. The problem with short staffing does indeed boil down to one thing and one thing only MONEY. Yes, we go to nursing school to help others and make a difference and feel better about ourselves, at least some of us do.( For others it's the amount of money you can make in this field. ) Regardless of why we become nurses, this is who we are. The facilities on the other hand are in it because it is a business, bottom line, they are in it to make money. Health care is a multi billion INDUSTRY. Yes, INDUSTRY. They are in it to make money and believe me they are making it hand over fist. So think of it as just that, a business. I am not saying that it is right, but that's the truth of it. Ask any nursing home administrator what their job is, they will tell you (if they're honest) their job is to cut expenses and to save the facility money. At what cost? Yours, mine, and the patient. The corporations that operate these facilities (hospitals included) are in this business because there is money in it. Don't believe the advertisements that say "We care about your loved ones" BULL. What it should say is "We want your money". I know there are places out there though few and far between that put on a good show, but again its all about the money. My solution? I have become an independent provider of nursing service, I am self employed, I work cases I want to work, the hours I agree to work and I get paid nicely. I enjoy what I do, but I have taken on the responsibility of directing my own future. I would not ever consider going back to work for a facility again. I agree that nurses need to join forces and do something to stop the short staffing "ABUSE" that they are subject to, there is strength in numbers, but you have to get hundreds or thousands of women, and men to agree on this and make that change. One more note, I have been in touch with the BON, in Ohio they send out a bimonthly news magazine. If you read it carefully you will see that the BON is set up to protect the patients, NOT the nurses. They are responsible for regulating the practice, the punishments of malpractice etc, but they advocate for the patient, not the nurses. They will hand out punishment if found negligent, but will not help you the nurse out if an employer is negligent. SO, if you are not happy with what you have going on in your work environment, make a change. I am certainly glad I did.
  5. by   ambil
    Quote from elfinM
    I am wanting to get a little feedback as to why Nursing (in general) allows short staffing to be an issue? I am on our research committee at work and would like to get an idea of where to take my project. I would like to find an answer to the problem and not just more complaints. Thanks in advance for any insight.

    Hello,
    I've been working in the german system for quite a few years now. When I first started here the staffing situation was tolerable, realistic at least. Over the last several years it has turned into the nightmare that we are all experiencing. Why do we put up with it? I think for the most part simply because we have to. I, as one person don't know what to do to change it. Especially when every sane person knows that it's a major problem. It all has to to with money and costs, easy as that. Nursing changed in essence when hospitals and medical care turned into big business. The human issue has transpired into a budget issue. It all has to do with keeping costs down. The answer is easy in my opinion, it's just getting things changed in the right direction what's hard. The big power and decision making is being done way up the ladder.
    Take care, Ambil
  6. by   wjf00
    Quote from sdmurfy
    Most shortages are caused by nurses - sick calls, absences, no shows, and of course, vacations. NOT saying nurses shouldn't call in sick or take vacations (I have no tolerance for no shows - and yes, it happens far too often) but it does stress sometimes limited resources. If you have 7 nurses for one shift and one is on vacation, you have six left. If possible, you get a nurse to cover that vacation shift. Then you have 3 of the 6 or 7 nurses call in sick, where are you supposed to get nurses to replace them?
    I am sorry for the stressful situation you are in, but it is not the staff nurses responsibility to staff the unit. Can I as a staff nurse hire? Increase pay/benefits?bring in registry? transfer patients? Authorize OT? Float nurses? Bring in management to work a short staffed unit? Make ER hold patients until the unit is staffed? Send patients out to other hospitals? Management has the authority and ABSOLOUTE responsibility to provide adequat staff. If I take an unsafe assignment the BRN will hold me accountable for adverse outcomes NOT my manager. If the unit is short staffed the only way to hold the manager accountable is to refuse the unsafe assignment.
  7. by   cosadorn
    I was promoted to manager of an ortho ASC 3.5 yrs ago. At the time I had had no management experience and saw the world "through the eyes of a nurse", ie. we have to stand up to administration because "they" will never understand us.
    I have learned two things: 1) insurance companies and Medicare drive healthcare. It's not "what's best for the patient". It's the Almighty Dollar. If we're ever going to provide for safe and proper staffing of nurses, nurses as a whole need to become more politically active and create a voice to be heard in legislative arenas -- and begin the near impossible task of taking the control away from the insurance dictatorship. 2) Somehow, in the last 2 months, I have convinced my administator and Board to allow me to function with proper staffing levels. The lesson I learned is this: now that the nurses have enough staff, they have come up with a whole new list to b... about. No kidding! I can't believe it. Why do nurses b... so much?! My point is that constant complaining undermines credibility.
    Administration "will never understand us" because of the messages we send. As a whole I would like to see nurses act the professionals that they are!

    "Nurses are always shooting themselves in the foot by not working together. I can't stand the infighting within our profession. It gets in the way of promoting our profession and nurse-driven healthcare policy." -- Mother Jones, RN, at Nurse Ratched's Place
  8. by   interleukin
    "The lesson I learned is this: now that the nurses have enough staff, they have come up with a whole new list to b... about."

    If their complaints are legitimate, then you must pursue them. If they are hollow and without merit, tell them so. When they know legit issues will be addressed, but nonsense will be dismissed, they will get the message and you will have a group whose self-worth will be elevated.

    Those who don't or won't--for whatever reason--will be marginalized and labeled for what they are...unhappy people.
  9. by   Sheri257
    Quote from wjf00
    I am sorry for the stressful situation you are in, but it is not the staff nurses responsibility to staff the unit. Can I as a staff nurse hire? Increase pay/benefits?bring in registry? transfer patients? Authorize OT? Float nurses? Bring in management to work a short staffed unit? Make ER hold patients until the unit is staffed? Send patients out to other hospitals? Management has the authority and ABSOLOUTE responsibility to provide adequat staff. If I take an unsafe assignment the BRN will hold me accountable for adverse outcomes NOT my manager. If the unit is short staffed the only way to hold the manager accountable is to refuse the unsafe assignment.
    I agree. Granted, I am not an RN yet but, when I worked as an aide I actually worked sick so they wouldn't be short staffed (even though I know I shouldn't have.) But, I was worried about getting written up for calling out sick because that's what happened to others.

    As it turned out, I got written up anyway because they gave me an impossible run with too many patients and too many total cares where, duh ... it was impossible for me to get everything done. I wasn't taking breaks and I wasn't eating lunch, even but, it didn't matter. I quit shortly thereafter.

    Next time: it's going to management's problem, not mine. I learned that the hard way.

    :typing
  10. by   interleukin
    If there was one thing, and only one thing, I could get nurses to do, collectively and without reserve, it would be to make them stay home when they're sick.

    Nothing bothers me more than hearing these stories of going in sick because of this or that or some other guilt-ridden justification.

    For god sakes, stay home when you're sick! If there is no staff to take your place, it's not your fault, nor is it your problem.

    STOP PERPETUATING THE NURSE-AS-MARTYR SYNDROME!!!!!!!!!

    and maybe, just maybe, they'll get the message and staff properly.

    But please stop this throw-myself-on-a-sharp-stick behavior!
  11. by   General E. Speaking, RN
    hope this isn't hijacking the thread... Our hospital was offering a $50 bonus and double bonus ($100) for extra shifts that we picked up. Recently, this was stopped because administration figured they had paid $30,000 in bonus money. Most of the staff isn't happy and refuses to pick up extra. It's not the $50 you understand, it is more about the principle. However, we still have agency nurses when we are short. Seems ridiculous to me to refuse a $50 bonus to a regular staff member who is willing to come in on their day off but willing to pay an agency nurse (who has never been at our facility) three times as much. My manager says that "the people who crunch the numbers understand. Anyway, agency pay comes from a different budget"
  12. by   interleukin
    That's always a great situation...

    They'll pay someone from an agency who has no allegiance or dedication or history to the facility rather than pay someone who has been there years the bonus to work extra. Really gives me that fluffy warm feeling.

    Sooner or later, you'll understand that...until you start writing letters and standing up politically for what you know is right, you are warm widget on a spread sheet.
  13. by   sayitgirl
    :roll
    Nursing puts up with short staffing because a large percentage of the time they are the reason the staffing is short. They chase away the nurses that they hire by "eating their young". And everyone knows what I am talking about; workplace violence.
    Many a nurse have left jobs because of it.umpiron:

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