Dozens of nurses at Northern California hospital balk at wearing locators - page 9

About two dozen nurses at Eden Medical Center near San Jose, Calif., have turned in the personal locator devices the hospital had required them to wear. The hospital contends the devices help provide... Read More

  1. by   ZASHAGALKA
    For a mid-sized hospital, it costs a little more than a quarter million dollars to install this system. Cell phones would cost a tenth of that. This isn't about nurses locating nurses. That are far cheaper alternatives if that were the goal. No. Capital expenses of this magnitude have to be justified. These devices are justified as tools to maximize your efficiency. As if you weren't working hard enough.

    In fact, my former employer already had cell phones. Their rationale for installing the system was call bell complaints: it would protect the nurses from complaints by justifying that they were indeed being answered. It was for our protection.

    Excuse me? Since when do I have to justify that I'm working my tail to the bone. If you have any doubts, come and observe sometime!

    The flip side of 'justifying' my work is what happens when administrators - interpreting this data from afar and unaware of the critical thinking that goes into my prioritization - don't think my call bell answer time is justified? What happens when it takes me 15 min to get Mrs. Smith her water because I'm coding or near coding Mr. Jones?? Do you think, in 2 weeks, when the complaint letter comes, that you or administration will know or remember what you were doing during that 15 min?

    "Why didn't you answer her call button?!" - "I don't remember, but it must have been important, or I'd of answered it."

    I'm sorry, I never intend to have that conversation - at least not in terms of having to justify my time against some computer data that's going to be used as a reprimand because I thought Mr. Jone's V-tach was more important.

    But that's my point - this system encourages sequential care over priority care. Why? Because while it can't discriminate what is a priority, it certainly can tell how fast you moved to the next task - and because that is ALL it can measure, that will be the standard that counts. How horribly anti-patient advocate!

    To me, it's not only demeaning, it is a direct compromise of one of my primary roles: patient advocacy. My scope of practice simply doesn't take a back seat to management's efficiency priorities!

    If management doesn't trust the quality of my work, then they should find somebody that they DO trust, or do it themselves. But then, this isn't about quality, is it? It's about quantity.

    These systems are in 25% of hospitals today. They are coming, everywhere. If we don't stand up and make it difficult to implement these systems, then an essential element of our autonomy is going away. We've already lost a large measure of our ability to care - to spend just 10 minutes holding somebody's hand - in the interest of increased efficiency. How much more do we have to give? When is it enough?

    Let me tell you the rest of the story of the ICU where I used to work. When I left, I wasn't alone. Now the managers are routinely forced to work night shifts. Despite repeated threatening emails, the rest of the staff (on nights, anyway) have neglected to wear the trackers. Because they can't afford any more defections, those trackers lie useless in a box in the corner of the unit.

    Unfortunately, the other floors haven't stood up against these devices. But. We really do have power - if only we reach for it.

    Sorry so long.

    ~faith,
    Timothy.
    Last edit by ZASHAGALKA on Sep 28, '05
  2. by   sjb2005
    I am all for locators. I am against intrusion in the work place but I must admit, locators work for me. I have worked facilities with and without locators. I am constantly running on my feet trying to find help. I continually forget to manually shut off the call light before I leave the room. I think I need retraining.
    Last edit by sjb2005 on Sep 28, '05
  3. by   ZASHAGALKA
    Quote from shellyjellybelly
    I am all for locators. I am against intrusion in the work place but I must admit, locators work for me. I have worked facilities with and without locators. I am constantly running on my feet trying to find help. I continually forget to manually shut off the call light before I leave the room. I think I need retraining.
    Simply put, there are far cheaper, more nurse friendly, more patient friendly ways for you to be able to contact your co-workers for help.

    ~faith,
    Timothy.
  4. by   sjb2005
    Enlighten me. Tell me what would be an effective approach to get my employer to implement it. I am PROACTIVE not REACTIVE. What works? (Sometimes we all need guidance)
    Quote from ZASHAGALKA
    Simply put, there are far cheaper, more nurse friendly, more patient friendly ways for you to be able to contact your co-workers for help.

    ~faith,
    Timothy.
  5. by   BamaBound2bRN
    IF you are able to gain acceptance to a nursing program and IF you are able to complete same you just might find that there are reasons for what you characterize as paranoid behavior.
    Oh, I am so sorry, since I am only a "Pre-Nursing Student" and have a different opinion than you, I am obviously NOT as intelligent as you and probably won't succeed as a nurse. :angryfire Well, I will probably get warned or even banned from AllNurses, but frankly at this point who cares...................... :angryfire :angryfire :angryfire :angryfire :angryfire
  6. by   UM Review RN
    Quote from BamaBound2bRN
    Oh, I am so sorry, since I am only a "Pre-Nursing Student" and have a different opinion than you, I am obviously NOT as intelligent as you and probably won't succeed as a nurse. :angryfire Well, I will probably get warned or even banned from AllNurses, but frankly at this point who cares...................... :angryfire :angryfire :angryfire :angryfire :angryfire
    Don't be silly, BB, he wasn't commenting on your intelligence or your capabilities. He was merely suggesting that you might see things a little differently after you're actually working as a nurse.

    As far as the warning or banning goes, I'm sure you're intelligent enough to figure out how to say what you want to say without offending anyone. If you can't, you truly might rethink your career decision. Nurses have to say a lot of things and do a lot of things that are done for the sake of political correctness on the job, whereas here, the TOS are more in line with common courtesy and respect for one another.
  7. by   UM Review RN
    PS My hospital uses cell phones to communicate with everyone. IMO, locators do nothing for the nurses or the patients. If I have a patient crashing, I can at least alert the other nurses, my charge, and my AOD by placing a call.

    If management started using locators, I'd have to put up with it. After all, it's just a job. The hospital will be there long after I've moved on to a better place, and they have a great track record for mucking up patient care when they start impinging on the nurse's duties.

    Because if you look at history, this has all been done before, with disastrous results.
  8. by   NRSKarenRN
    from 2001 ana article:

    [color=#3366cc]
    [color=#3366cc]tool or weapon? nurses talk about being 'tracked'
    http://www.nursingworld.org/tan/01marapr/tracked.htm

    loved this key point from joy roberts, msn, rn:

    "it devalues nurses because it implies that they are not doing their work. physicians would never tolerate it."

    imho: if a tracking system is installed all employees should wear it from engineering, security, housekeeping, respiratory, nurses,inhouse physician's and management.
    Last edit by NRSKarenRN on Sep 28, '05
  9. by   UM Review RN
    Thanks for the article, Karen. I found it very interesting.

    For the nurses who preferred the locator system, I was left wondering why they simply didn't prefer to call other nurses directly from their cell phone, or why, if disrupting the quiet was an issue, they could not simply put the cell phone on vibrate, rather than have a third party (notifying two people now) call into the room on the overhead (making more noise than a vibrating phone)?

    But like I said, I work for them, not the other way around. I'm not in a unionized state, and I don't make management decisions, no matter how costly or ineffective those might prove to be.

    I would hope, however, that if management insists on having a locator on nurses, that an experienced floor nurse would interpret the data to them. They simply have never believed what we do in the course of a shift, and this is once again, another fruitless effort to try to cut nursing staff, IMO.

    I'm certainly not worried about lacking work when they once again create a nursing shortage based on mythical results from the latest management cost-cutting fad.
  10. by   BamaBound2bRN
    Thank you NRSKaren- that was a very insightful article. I have drawn my conclusion that some people love the idea and some can't stand the idea. I also believe, that not IF, but WHEN I complete my schooling and get into the hospital, that the idea would be a welcomed tool that I would gladly wear.
  11. by   teeituptom
    I just think its funny someone reactivated this old thread from way back
  12. by   USA987
    I, too, have first hand experience with these locators. I have to say, Zash is right on!

    Believe it or not, they even referred to your "stats" on your evaluation. Very interesting I thought for a device that was advertised to me when I started at the facility as a "personal safety device".

    One of my closest coworkers was actually written up for "spending too much time in some pts. rooms"s!!!!

    Needless to say, I didn't work there for too long. :uhoh21:
  13. by   ZASHAGALKA
    Quote from teeituptom
    I just think its funny someone reactivated this old thread from way back
    I rebumped it.

    In the intervening 3 yrs, these things have quietly infiltrated 25% of hospitals.

    Where are our Professional Organizations standing up for Nurses? Where is the ANA on this? Where is Amer Assoc of Critical Care Nurses?

    This is the most anti-nurse thing to come down the pike since the concept of flexing up/down staff to ensure that nurses are always at their peak ratios.

    It is so anti patient advocate. It is such a demeaning device. IS IT NO WONDER NURSES ARE LEAVING THE BEDSIDE IN DROVES. I love working at the bedside, but I will not wear a dog collar. The day is coming when this overtakes all of us. That day will be my last at the bedside.

    ~faith,
    Timothy.
    Last edit by ZASHAGALKA on Sep 29, '05

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