Everone complains about staffing what can you do?

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    Everyone is complaining about staffing....
    Staffing has been incredibly poor until recently on our Tele unit. You can't give good care if you don't have time to see them until 2 or three hrs into the shift.The staff constantly called the supervisors and director and nothing happened. We finally got fed up and started writhing incident reports every time we were dangerously short and threatened to quit in mass. What do you know staffing improved dramatically =)
    Does anyone have any suggestions or stories about solving staffing problems? Safe and effective staffing shouldn't be a sometimes thing. Correct me if I am rong but you alwas have the option of not accepting new admissions, you as an RN are responsable for evaluating your ability to give good care.
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    Everyone makes a great fuss about staffing, but there are other problems also. If I would complain about how busy I was my nurse manager would say, "but you only have six patients". My actually assignment at the beginning of the shift might be six but that does not take into consideration that I did three admissions, three discharges, sent two to the OR, a transfer or two in or out of the rehab, the psych unit or ICU. Then a death and a AMA would occur. All of this stuff involves tons of paper work, family and MD contact. It was not unusual for me to be taking care of six totally different patients at the end of the night. Would you believe we also got out-patients that were not counted on the roster, sometimes they getting blood or antibiotics but the administration told us they did not count because they were not very much work . Ha, I would have like to have seen what would happened if I sent one of them home without proper discharge teaching and documentation. Right in the middle of all this my supervisor would call and say would some one please go to ICU to help out they are swamped in there, or would someone please go to the ER and take a telemetry patient to CT they are swamped down there. Oh, by the way I was frequently on code team or fire team and had to drop everything to go to a code or a drill. The straw that broke the camels back was when they started to make the nursing staff go to closed down units to move beds around for the next day cycle cleaning. They laid off all the housekeeping people and did not have enough people to do those things. I could work circles around people half my age but I refused to be treated like a beast of burden.
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    Joe,
    I no longer work in a hospital setting. But I will tell you that when you began to refuse to do certain things, you need to have backup. I think it would be great that when an RN stands up for his or her team or unit and says, "we're no longer able to provide safe care," that the other staff (other RNs, LPNs, aides, unit clerks, techs, therapists, supervisors, patients, families, and even physicians) would back that person up verbally and in writing. Patient care is not done in a vacuum and therefore, we must acknowledge how we impact quality of administering care as a team. On that note, I'm going to write again, that some type of unionization is needed to offset some of the difficulties we encounter.


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