Hello! I am new here and am learning a lot. The hospital I work at has 200 beds. We are experiencing major changes in our little world. I have been looking on the internet only occasionally and do realize that this is going on everywhere. We are one of the last areas to get managed care, although I don't think that is the only reason for our changes (I feel that my hospital is taking advantage of that as an excuse to make a lot of changes and cost-cutting). In the last two years we have had a mass-exodus from our cardiac unit. It is frightening the way I have to work. We are staffed for only 6 patients and most days we have 8 or 9. If we do have another person extra on the schedule, they are usually floated to a "more" needy area than ours. The nurse
atient ratio is 1:2 or 1:3, with the cn being one of the nurses. When I type it it doesn't sound any different from the things I've been reading and I'm sure it isn't. But, critical care patients require more nursing care than less acute patients, they pay for it and deserve to get what they pay for. I can usually fit all the technical stuff in my 12 hour shift, although it may be late, but I don't even have time to be an advocate to the patient, or the counselor/teacher they need, let alone chart what I've done (that's usually why I stay over late to get down on paper what I remember). Or have breaks away from the floor or real lunch breaks, you must go get your food and bring it back. It is a 12 bed CCU, on the same floor with a 36 bed PCU. The administration has brought in a consulting firm and they have decided how we can best restructure our hospital's critical care beds. (I'm not sure if the consulting firm or administration wanted CCU/PCU combination or CCU/ICU combination, but we're getting CCU/PCU restructuring.) Each unit is separate at the moment with a cn each. In two months we will be one unit with one cn. There will only be 29 beds total, all private. And ventilator patients (with who knows what else) in the PCU area, which are regular rooms with no way to visually see the patients unless you are at the door or in the room. There are plans to train these PCU nurses in these two months to care for these patients (although they went through the same training I did, I just have more experience).
Have any of you went through similar major upheavals in your hospitals? We are told that the ones of us who will tough it out will be much happier by the end of the year. I have been very receptive to all the changes, although reluctantly. I have been dumped on one too many times and have applied for another position. I realize the grass isn't really greener over there, just a different shade.
Also, some nurses on my floor have asked about unions. I have found the websites for OPEIU and Teamsters. Have any of you tried these? Know of any more? We did have a union at our hospital early in the 90's, it didn't work out (they went on strike, never got a contract, were replaced, and some felt that those in union positions sold the union out) and was dissolved - can't remember the name of it, but then the rn's weren't allowed in it because there was a vote among ALL professionals (ancillary departments included) and the vote didn't pass for us. It was more a factory based union and that just doesn't work for a hospital. I can't get to the point where I can not feel an obligation to go in to care for my patients . Although, there are days when I would just love to call in sick because I dread the day soooooo much. How can nurses go on strike and not go in to work? The only thing that comes to my mind is an informational picket, where I can meet my moral obligations and feel I am doing everything I can to care for the patients, but letting my voice be heard. Does anything like that ever work with unions? I am planning to post, in my unit, the addresses of legislatures for my area, and encourage letters to them for legislation for safe staffing levels. I am also going to post this web-site and others, as more of us are computer-able. Any advice, comments would be greatly appreciated.
I have been a nurse for several years, and can't imagine working like this for another 30-40 years (I know they'll raise the retirement age again, before I get there). Know of any job that makes comparable wages ($17/hr)? I am tired of ******** to my co-workers, because I realize that doesn't get any of us anywhere. And, I am looking for any information I can get to get us, at my facility, on a more productive track. Thank you!!!!!!
[This message has been edited by justanurse (edited January 08, 2000).]