This place has given me a place to vent my frustrations about nursing issues, It has also given me the time and strength to gather my thoughts and share it in another arena besides nursing. Please dont discourage either avenue for anyone. Going to 20/20 or state rep or government relations is a personal choice, not all of us are ready or willing to do that.
Not wanting to offend anyone but willing to stand up and take that chance that I will offend all.
Mar 23, '99
Deanna, I am wondering why you feel 'not willing or ready' to also vent your frustrations constructively to the legislator that WANT to hear from the public that they represent. They count on us to inform them otherwise, they will focus their energies on topcis that are less significant. I don't feel 'offended' with your concerns, but disappointed that you don't seem to be willng to put in the small amount of effort necessary to improve the conditions that you (and all of us) complain about. Remember, we are doing this for the PATIENTS as well as ourselves. They count on us to keep them safe, and this is another route we can take to help the whole situation. Please don't worry about getting 'busted' for speaking up, because all complaints can be filed annomously. Sophie
Mar 23, '99
PLEASE e-mail me. I have some important issues to discuss with you!
Thanks in advance!!
I ditto Sophie's response. Venting is good for the soul, but documenting unsafe conditions here (no names please--must maintain pt./facility confidentiality) and writing to the appropriate associations is good for problem-solving. No offense taken. Your opinions are as valid as anyone elses!
Mar 23, '99
I kind of feel the same way as iamme. I do believe that we have a problem here but am not ready to commit to rock the boat so to speak. I honestly can not say that any of our patients have been in danger due to the decrease in staffing. They could certainly get alot better care than they do now!! My unit is a 32 bed med/surg unit that also handles all oncology in house pts. We are very busy at all times!! We used to have 6 nurses (CN does not take pts normally on day or evenings) so basically we had 5 nurses spliting 32 pts with 4 nurses aides. Then we went to 4 nurses taking pts and 4 aides.
Now we have been cut to only 3 aides for 32 pts and they are really stressed and of course that causes the nurses to have to answer more call lights, etc.... We never leave on time. Administration wants the accuties turned in, but what are you going to do when you hit the floor running? Are you going to fill in the dots or take care of your pt. I am sure you can guess what does not get done. OH, I only spoke for day shift. 3-11 shift gets 5 nurses and only 2 aides and 11-7 shift gets 4 nurses (CN takes a full load of pts) and 2 aides. There is a strong potential for harm, but so far we have been lucky I guess. For instance, a nurse started a VP 16 one hour infusion and did not get back into the room to properly observe the site. The chemo infiltrated and we had to inject the anecdote and apply heat. Thank God it was not a vesicant, but bad enough. That is harm but not something that caused severe harm. Hell I am talking in circles now!! I think you get my idea. We are overworked and stressed.
[This message has been edited by Miss RNC (edited March 23, 1999).]
Mar 23, '99
Miss RNC, If you haven't seen patient safety compromised due to short staffing, you are one of the lucky few. Sophie and I worked together almost 7 years and too often we have seen dangerous situations due to losing experienced staff and using float nurses barely out of school with no critical experience having to take pt.s on vents because the more experienced nurses esp. those with IABP/CABG experience would have to take those or the more critically ill patients. Managed care has managed to make healthcare a profit driven venture where the bottom line is all that counts. You don't have to do anything bold, go to the site barton found @ Policy.com. Thanks to barton I found a site where I can e-mail my federal and state leglislators. When you get to the site click on "Interact" and your zip code and it will give you directions on various ways to communicate your concerns. Nobody has to know who you are. And as for "rocking the boat", that person receiving poor care could be you or a loved one.
If Ya' Don't Love The Blues, Ya' Got A Hole In Your Soul
Mar 24, '99
Thank you bluesboyj. It takes very little time to potentially do a lot of good ( a simple e-mail)!
At what point do you think it advisable to initiate change for better patient care: NOW, when conditions are bad but not dangerous, or later, when conditions ARE dangerous?
You CAN remain anonymous in a lot of e-mails, right? Let's take care of our patients!
Mar 29, '99
Thank you everyone for your responses, this issue of patient safety is such a slow change thing that it is hard to see if there really is a problem especially if you are fairly new to nursing..each year you can handle more. but there does come a time that patient care is an issue. How is that defined? do we as staff nurses really know? How do we not jeapordize our jobs and still deal with these issues?
Please if anyone can give us some specifics and not just a site to access and look at a lot of political lingo and a lot of legal lingo...please do some talking in here. Define it in our terms, we have to do that on a daily basis for our patients and I think we deserve the same in return.
I think that the public needs to know and be more informed of what is really going on in the hospitals. How about the hopitals that hire 6 months before JCAHO visits just to be compliant with staffing issues...only to be sited again in 6 months after a big layoff.
Mar 29, '99
OK Sophie and Barton, I never did say that "I" did not file an issue complaint. I just was acting as an advocate of the nurses that dont know if this is enough of an issue to even say anything, and tried to create an arena to discuss this part of the "Is this an issue big enough to report or not" patient care is suffering theme. I work as a nurse in Critical Care and have for a while. These issues will always be there and nurses will always be questioning if they are really capable of dealing with the workload.
Are we truly the patient advocate? are we tough enough for this as a career. The new nurses need the support and the direction as well as do most of the ones who have been here for years.
Thanks for your concerns
Mar 31, '99
COMPLACENCY is the attitude that has lead this profession right into the hole. Accepting the bigger workloads with shorter staffing and higher acuity has sent a very powerful message to management. the message we are sending them by allowing these conditions to exist is that it doesn't really matter how difficult it is we'll do it anyway and we do and then we just complain about it instead of taking action which is very scary to them so they keep us down by installing fear of lay-offs or even better they create disension among co-workers by encouraging write-ups. It's a very sick game (and by the way they are winning). Now, don't misunderstand me lay-offs are very real, especially when you have a family to feed but collectively we are a stronger and larger group and remember they get layed-off too! they are concerned with meeting their budget each month. they are given bonus incentives for it! If they get away with it once you think they wont try again! give 'em an inch they'll take a mile and the miles are all over us!
Mar 31, '99
I am new to this discussion, therefore I do not know some of what has been discussed prior to March. I note that elle encourages taking action because we (nursing) are a collective voice. In that context, in addition to contacting legislatures, some verbal / written interaction with nursing's representative bodies might help demonstrate the collective force we as nurses present. They, e.g. ANA and other nursing organizations, pay persons who are actively involved in Washington to make our voices heard about issues that impact us. Let them know what you are experiencing and your perception of the impact on patient care / safety. If enough nurses get involved, they will have to take action. Strength lies in numbers and remember the squeaky wheel gets oiled.
Mar 31, '99
Thanks for your input, and if you will read the other posts under this Forum, you will see that great efforts have been made by many of the writers on this BB in contacting the ANA, legislators, etc.. You will also find info about how to contact them, as well as Sylvia Johnson at ABC's 20/20----We have been a very active group and I hope you'll join in our efforts----PLEASE READ the posts and topics under THIS forum for some great info!
[This message has been edited by barton (edited April 02, 1999).]
Apr 2, '99
SORRY! Opened mouth and spoke too soon. BAD IDEA! May I ask -- is there some way to get an abbreviated update on this forum? There are MANY posts here, and may seem redundant (like my post). I am hesitant to ask since it appears that so many have put forth so much effort, but is it / would it be possible to get the crux of the discussion, perhaps with an opening statement from the moderator without spending lots of time reading through several different forums / discussion boards?
Apr 2, '99
I have worked less than 1 year as a Telemetry
nurse and my complaints are the same as others with the staffing problems. To be brief, yes I have contacted 20/20 and am in the process of contacting my legislators. When others say "document" the dangers, etc of staffing, would this be to keep a journal with dates, times, management I spoke to etc?
I just want to do this properly and professionally. Thank you for any input!
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