Unsafe Assignment & Pt Abandonment

  1. 0
    Good Morning Everyone

    I work in the ED for a hospital in Michigan, and like many other hospitals these days, mine has been forcing nurses to work under-staffed for quite some time. Not every day, but often enough that I'm sick of letting it continue and I'm trying to figure out how to effectively protest while doing what I can to protect my license and my job.

    I've been trying to get information about my rights to refuse an unsafe patient assignment, and what constitutes patient abandonment. If I worked on the floor I wouldn't have a problem, but working in the ED makes me less certain of how these two issues work.

    I called the Bureau of Health Professions this morning, and the short version of my story is that since Michigan has no NPA, they couldn't help me. The person that I spoke with referred me to an individual that licenses hospitals, thinking that he could give me some answers, but I had to leave a VM for that person and haven't heard back from him yet.

    Do any of you know the answers to my questions or where I can get this information?

    Thanks.
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  3. 13 Comments so far...

  4. 0
    I don't think there is any way to not accept a pt load once you are on the clock. When it happens on my unit we either suck it up, or one RN submits an SRM report to cover herself. I have been hit with 9 pts on a surgical unit and it was not something I would deal with on a regular basis. I don't understand how nurse mgrs will only staff for the amount of pts at the beginning of a shift and feel no responsibility to cover staff for the admits that arrive after that.
  5. 0
    Quote from Nurseinprocess
    I don't think there is any way to not accept a pt load once you are on the clock. When it happens on my unit we either suck it up, or one RN submits an SRM report to cover herself. I have been hit with 9 pts on a surgical unit and it was not something I would deal with on a regular basis. I don't understand how nurse mgrs will only staff for the amount of pts at the beginning of a shift and feel no responsibility to cover staff for the admits that arrive after that.

    I agree, it's become the norm and it's way out of control.

    Others have posted on this board that they have refused a patient assignment after clocking in once they found what their assignment was but before taking report from the nurse handing off the patients. I'm just not sure that would work in the ED.

    I have considered not punching in until I find out if we are staffed appropriately, but because the census continuously changes in the ED, I just don't know if I can do that.
  6. 0
    Seriously you most effective way to protest is with your feet. Go some place else. It's your choice if you continue to stay in an supposedly unsafe environment. If you dont want to leave then find out the cause of why there are not enough nurses and do something about it, be part of the solution and not part of the problem. For example if you facility needs nurses help recruit, I know mine is always looking for staff on the night shift, and even then thats not forever- I have nurses with 2 years in dept on afternoons and mid-days.
  7. 0
    Quote from rjflyn
    Seriously you most effective way to protest is with your feet. Go some place else. It's your choice if you continue to stay in an supposedly unsafe environment. If you dont want to leave then find out the cause of why there are not enough nurses and do something about it, be part of the solution and not part of the problem. For example if you facility needs nurses help recruit, I know mine is always looking for staff on the night shift, and even then thats not forever- I have nurses with 2 years in dept on afternoons and mid-days.

    The problem with leaving is that the next place may not be any better. And that's assuming that I can find another job in my area.

    We do need to fill one or two openings, but it isn't as if I can just go recruit and problem solved. Management already has several resumes in hand, or so I'm told. I can't force them to hire someone, and even when they do, it takes time to get them ready to assume the position on their own.

    One of the problems that we have had is that all the nurses they have hired recently have been new grads with no experience in nursing, let alone in the ED. So when I"m charge, I have to be concerned with 3-4 out of 7 (when fully staffed) nurses per shift who don't always know what they are doing. Those of us who are experienced and see the danger in this have protested in all of the ways that are available to us, but we are told that the grievance process takes time.

    Another issue that we are dealing with is nurses calling in sick. That is not something that I have any power to address, and management has not done it for some unknown reason.

    You seem to suggest that by refusing an assignment I am part of the problem. I am certainaly not unaware of the possible ramifications of this action. But when all other avenues have seemingly failed, sometimes you are left with the choice of drawing a line in the sand and standing for your rights.
  8. 0
    I would suppose your best bet is to ask the Michigan Nurses Association for advice. MNA is active in ensuring that nurses who are the forefront of bedside nursing care are protected from unsafe staffing. They actually broke off from the national association (ANA) years ago to pursue a more active political stance against unfair labor practices involving nurses. You have to be careful when you proceed with things like this, you are an at-will employee of the hospital, you could easily get targeted as a troublemaker if your employer finds out that you are questioning their practices. I am not saying this because I am a member of MNA as I'm actually not in Michigan anymore. I am now working in a state where there are mandated nurse-patient staffing ratios and hospital nurses are part of a collective bargaining unit.
  9. 0
    Quote from juan de la cruz
    I would suppose your best bet is to ask the Michigan Nurses Association for advice. MNA is active in ensuring that nurses who are the forefront of bedside nursing care are protected from unsafe staffing. They actually broke off from the national association (ANA) years ago to pursue a more active political stance against unfair labor practices involving nurses. You have to be careful when you proceed with things like this, you are an at-will employee of the hospital, you could easily get targeted as a troublemaker if your employer finds out that you are questioning their practices. I am not saying this because I am a member of MNA as I'm actually not in Michigan anymore. I am now working in a state where there are mandated nurse-patient staffing ratios and hospital nurses are part of a collective bargaining unit.

    I work for a union hospital and I'm a member of MNA. They have been addressing the issue but the grievance process is so slow, and the hospital continues it's non-contractual practices in the meantime. I don't want to go into details here, but a patient came extremely close to being harmed a couple of days ago because of it, and it can be directly related to the staffing issue that we have been complaining about. If that incident doesn't cause them to make some changes, then nothing will.
  10. 0
    Quote from GM2RN
    I work for a union hospital and I'm a member of MNA. They have been addressing the issue but the grievance process is so slow, and the hospital continues it's non-contractual practices in the meantime. I don't want to go into details here, but a patient came extremely close to being harmed a couple of days ago because of it, and it can be directly related to the staffing issue that we have been complaining about. If that incident doesn't cause them to make some changes, then nothing will.
    Can you contact the law firm for the hospital? They would be the ones advising TPTB on what they could defend if something goes to court....
  11. 0
    Quote from morte
    Can you contact the law firm for the hospital? They would be the ones advising TPTB on what they could defend if something goes to court....

    I don't know if I can contact the law firm or not. I'll have to find out.

    What's TPTB?
  12. 0
    The Powers That Be.....


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