I need advice about a heated situation in my hospital. I am a L&D RN who also works the postpartum wing of our unit. Our hosptial has bought several area hospitals and closed one, resulting in overflow. We are seeing medical patients on our OB/Gyn floor and now we are even being pulled to Medical floors to cover. Problem #1: we are the only unit to take call because no "foreign" nurses can work L&D, other floors do not take call because it interferes with their "personal life" so in essence we are on call for the whole hospital. Problem #2: Administration thinks this is just fine, in fact our D.O.N. stated "if your not happy, quit, nurses are a dime a dozen." (I'd give him the dime if he'd get 12 for the other floors)
We feel like our hands are tied, what can we do. Has any one else had this type of situation?
Jul 6, '99
a meeting with administration, nurse managers, and staff has the following resolution: on a trial basis nurses in L&D postpartum will take call to cover L&D only on week days (no holidays)and will not be used for regular staffing (call will return to the original purpose only for L&D emergency) no new staff will be added to cover our short staff problem but a list of short shifts will be posted on our floor for our nurses on our floor to sign up for overtime. Unfortunatly, will still be pulled to other floor if need be, $15 per day is all we get for being "on call" for 12 hours (for some nurses this will not cover the expense of an "on call" babysitter) and we still have no guarentee that other hospital nurses will be offered to us if we have staffing problems (but we can still go to other floors!?)
any suggestions? we all love our job, but love our families too. we are dedicated to our patients and hospital and are looking for a win-win situation.
Jul 7, '99
I am a little unclear about something...your on-call schedule is now only for responding to L & D needs but you still may have to float to other areas on your regularly scheduled shifts Mon thru Friday???? If this is the case, you might want to negotiate for closed unit staffing...you dont give any help and you dont get any help (which is the situation now). The only problem with closed staffing is what happens your unit's work volume is way down and staff have to go home...is the use of benefitted time for low census shifts mandatory at your hospital?? If it is you may get into some trouble with us...Good luck and don't give up. I am a nursing administrator and I so appreciate when nursing staff is willing to sit down and work on issues with me. You have made some progress and that is a good sign.
Jul 8, '99
This may not be an immediate answer to your problem however:
Have you lodged incident forms every time you are found to be short staffed.
This ensures that you attempted to ensure safe staffing levels each shift.
Have you kept a journal of times staff are deployed from your unit especially when unable to be redeployed if your unit is suddenly overwhelmed. Incident forms should be lodged if you believe deployment is detrimental to your patients care.
Before lodging forms always ring personnel in charge of staff deployment or your charge sister and state your case using stats such as numbers considered to be minimal safe staffing.
I know how you feel many people are in the same boat as you in many parts of the world.
just remember always make it known at the time of the incidents that you object, document and get someone to witness your documentation where possible.
Document objectively naming those contacted and responses made by them and you.
It won't resolve things now but it may save your neck later.