In December 2010, I was forced to retire from nursing after 35 years, due to my deteriorating health, and now receive SSDI. I worked in the NICU for 31 years. When I left, we had 85 Level III beds.
The staffing situation has gotten so much worse since I had to stop working. The month after I left the hospital made drastic cuts in staff hours & benefits. They changed many positions from full to part-time. These changes were presented to the staff in a series of meetings with the Nursing Director, the CEO, and other members of Administration. I watched one of the taped meetings.
Staff members in the audience looked stunned. They were crying, asking questions, and offering multiple possible alternatives to what they were being told by the CEO. All were denied.
I think what upset me the most was the way that the information was passed on to staff. Starkly, brutally, with no advance notice. No compassion, no understanding of what these decisions meant to families. That it was putting some employees in an impossible situation. That staff would be forced to quit if they could not adjust their schedules or live on the decreased income. Administration just DID NOT CARE, and it showed.
Within 6 months, our hospital lost over 200 nurses. The NICU where I had worked initially lost 40 nurses. Many of them were senior nurses. For this note, I will define senior RNs as those with >10 years NICU experience. Over the past 2 years, an additional 15+ senior nurses have resigned
Many of staff lost in that period were replaced with new graduates with BSN degrees. I don't have anything against working with a new graduate in the NICU. I have done so multiple times over the years, & enjoyed precepting them. I had actually precepted both the current Nursing Director and Clinical Instructor in our NICU. I love to teach. But it got scary when the most senior staff member on the NICU on a particular shift had 2 years experience, & was expected to precept new employees.
I watch the show "Undercover Boss" every week, and I want someone to work undercover in our NICU, and in various units throughout the hospital, for a week each. I badly want this. Because the hospital is suffering. Staff morale is down. Stress is sky high.
During an appointment with my Internal Medicine doctor 6 months ago, he stated that he no longer sends patients to our hospital. In his words "________hospital's reputation is in the toilet." It just breaks my heart.