Hello everyone! It has been a long time since I perused this website - I was a nursing student then! It has been 10 years since then, and for the past 5 years I have been working in a surgical hospital that was a dream to work for when I first started. About 2 years ago they brought in a new CNO, who has made it her goal to increase the bottom line at the expense of everyone's sanity. At first we had a meeting where we were told that we needed to cut back on overtime and missed meals. Well, nobody wants to work overtime, so that was not such a bad thing. After the first few months, we had brought those expenses down to about 10 % of what it used to be - not bad, right? But that wasn't enough - now it has come to the point where we rarely have any help while our workload has increased because they are trying to save money by not making the techs work more than 6 hours a day. The number of RN's in the unit has been severely restricted. For a load of 15 surgeries we have 3 or 4 RN's, and often, by the time patients come out of surgery, either one or two are at lunch or ready to go home. God forbid we get an isolation patient - then we are down one more nurse who has to stay with that patient. More and more often, surgeries end much later than expected, so by the time we finally get busy, the techs are gone, and we are left to discharge patients, transport inpatients in those heavy beds from our floor to their rooms, setting up ortho machines, running back and forth for water, towels, blankets, medications etc.
I work in PACU, and we are not supposed to have more than 2 patients at a time. Although our patients are more acute than ever (supposedly we are not allowed to treat patients with an ASA more than 3, yeah right!), increasingly we find ourselves with three patients, and more coming out of surgery. There are times where we do a kind of triage - the less "needy" patients just lay there hooked up to the monitor while we take care of the ones who need pain meds or whatever, and sometimes we don't get to them for 20 min to half an hour! In the middle of the afternoon, the CNO walks in and sends nurses home when we are all totally exhausted, because there are "too many nurses". The remaining RN's just have to work that much harder. We don't have a lounge, no place to sit for a minute and catch our breath. If we sit down at the nurse's station, we are considered lazy. One of our techs was asked to sit with a patient for an hour and a half to watch the monitor for heart irregularities while the nurse took care of her other patients.
We are all completely exhausted. People are getting hurt and having hypertensive crises because there is no time to recover. Work is non-stop and excruciating. It is neither safe for the patients nor for us. I know, "wah-wah-wah" ......
Do we have any recourse at all, or is that the way things will be from now on?