Hospital Cannot Require RNs to Remove Button Stating Demand for 'Safe Staffing' - page 4

Hospital Cannot Require RNs to Remove Button Stating Demand for 'Safe Staffing' Labor Relations Week Apirl 14, 2005 A Washington state hospital's requirement that nurses remove a union... Read More

  1. by   Marie_LPN, RN
    (Maybe less patronizing behavior--and more well-earned professional RESPECT-- from their supervisor would be a START.)
    This should come from fellow co-workers and nurses as well.
  2. by   Tweety
    Very thoughtful posts indeed. I'm still not ready to inform my patients that they are unsafe under my care.

    Our hospital is under serious investigation because on a locked unit they left only one nurse without an aide (for only two patients) and one of them died in restraints. I doubt it will help the med-surg staffing levels, but it got them thinking. The hospital and five staff memebers are being sued. Of course the nurse who accepted the assignment isn't going to have any defense.
  3. by   SmilingBluEyes
    Quote from stevierae
    There was a San Diego RN on one of the threads a while back who thought it was perfectly acceptable for her nursing assistants to be caring for up to, I believe, 38 people at a time!!!!! Unreal. I cannot recall if they gave meds or not--I thought they did. Her rationale for her supposedly having a happy crew, with no complaints, is that she brought in coffee and bagels (or donuts) at leas once a week and also let them plan their own Christmas party, at the place of their choice. Gee, that makes it all worthwhile, huh? :uhoh21:

    .)
    See you hit on part of the problem. We also had another nurse who stated she was able to (and routinely did) give total care to more than 12 med-surg patients BY HERSELF. (no aides, no LPNs, she was a one-woman workhorse team).

    When challenged as to the time element and what her definition of "total care" would be, she got VERY defensive and angry. Most of us argued it was impossible to give that level of care to 12 med-surge patients; No one questioned her integrity or nursing capability, but she failed to see our point, remaining very defensive and angry.

    See, that is part of the problem. NURSES WHO ACCEPT THESE CONDITIONS and THEN BERATE THE REST OF US WHO WILL NOT. She acted like a "super nurse" in her defensive remarks, basically insinuating the rest of us were incompetent, lazy, or wasted time, in our lack of ability to do what she could. And "she gave damn good care to each one", was one thing I remember her saying. How?????

    That is the problem------we have our own colleagues accepting such ridiculous and dangerous working conditions and ratios and saying the rest of us are lazy if we don't. The suits have got to just love this. The way I see it, a huge part of the fix is convincing our colleagues it's ok to fight for better ratios and more help. Not just for us, but more importantly, for the well-being of our PATIENTS! :stone

    Lastly, I agree part of the solution is spelled out in the other thread. High time hospitals/LTC's be called to account. Reporting infection/incident rates and ratios and other facts pertinent to safe patient care delivery is a step, at least, in the positive direction. Getting that done, well---- that will take some convincing of the politicians in their back pockets. Just look at the battle to get decent ratios has become in just one state. I can see where people would resort to wearing buttons in the face of all that.
    Last edit by SmilingBluEyes on Apr 23, '05
  4. by   pickledpepperRN
    We wear "Patients are my Special Interest" butons.

    Our work is proof we mean it.
    BUT then we don't accept unsafe assignments.
    We do not refuse. We document in triplicate, keeping a copy and giving one to the manager or supervisor who gives the assignment.
    THUS safe staffing. Of course the LAW is on our side

    I learned in class to say, "I would if I could, but I can't because to do so would place my patients in jeopardy."
    then accept the third patient (in ICU) under protest. Make an incident report. In writing let management AND risk management know that any late med or treatment, and missed documentation is the responsibility of the facility, NOT the nurse.

    Guess what? Somehow they get the needed help.

    If you are tempted to believe "We tried everything. We couldn't find anyone" remember what happens every year - JCAHO. How is the staffing then?
  5. by   Overland1
    Quote from SmilingBluEyes
    See you hit on part of the problem. We also had another nurse who stated she was able to (and routinely did) give total care to more than 12 med-surg patients BY HERSELF. (no aides, no LPNs, she was a one-woman workhorse team). ................
    I recall a few nurses like that back when I started... they would say similar stuff (i.e.,, "back when I started here, I had fifteen patients, all of them post-op, and I had to be in charge, etc."). These are probably the same ones who walked fifteen miles each way to school and it was uphill both ways..... and they liked it .

    As for the wearing of buttons, if they are the least bit political (intentional or otherwise, as are so many of them), they should not be worn while working. At one hospital where I worked, there was a statewide ad campaign which used a logo in black with red printing that read, "Some Cuts Never Heal" - this referred to alleged budget cuts that were not really cuts, but were proposed reductions in the amount of state aid to certain programs at a time when the state had been near bankruptcy. Had Bill Engvall been around, he would have handed them the sign that he often refers to . Imagine seeing that big red & black sign as you enter the hospital for a surgical procedure ...... hardly a message that instills confidence in the staff at a time when many thought poorly of this hospital to begin with.
    Last edit by Overland1 on Apr 26, '05
  6. by   SmilingBluEyes
    Quote from Jerry Falletta
    I recall a few nurses like that back when I started... they would say similar stuff (i.e.,, "back when I started here, I had fifteen patients, all of them post-op, and I had to be in charge, etc."). These are probably the same ones who walked fifteen miles each way to school and it was uphill both ways..... and they likedit .

    .
    These would the saintly martyrs who think whatever bones tossed our way as nurses should be "good enough" and those of in it "for the money" are the ones who are evil. Sigh............................ nursing has a LONG way to go ,still.
  7. by   Marie_LPN, RN
    Imagine seeing that big red & black sign as you enter the hospital for a surgical procedure ...... hardly a message that instills confidence in the staff at a time when many thought poorly of this hospital to begin with
    EXACTLY
  8. by   stevierae
    Quote from Marie_LPN
    EXACTLY
    That's the whole point! If patients get savvy and choose to have their surgeries ELSEWHERE--at places where they can be assured of safe staffing--then it will FINALLY hit hospital administration and nursing management where it hurts--their (hospital administration's) pocketbooks; trickling down to their (nursing administration's) bonuses.

    If that doesn't make them get their sorry heads out of the sand, nothing will. It works. Trust me.
  9. by   Marie_LPN, RN
    I get the point, i still do not feel the buttons are workplace-appropriate.
  10. by   OC_An Khe
    Marie,
    Guess we will just have to agree to disagree. Being a patient advocate doesn't stop when you enter the hospital nor any other work environment. In some states, by law, you have to be a patient advocate even if it is not in the best interests of your employer.
  11. by   pickledpepperRN
    Quote from Tweety
    Very thoughtful posts indeed. I'm still not ready to inform my patients that they are unsafe under my care.

    Our hospital is under serious investigation because on a locked unit they left only one nurse without an aide (for only two patients) and one of them died in restraints. I doubt it will help the med-surg staffing levels, but it got them thinking. The hospital and five staff memebers are being sued. Of course the nurse who accepted the assignment isn't going to have any defense.
    I remember on this forum a report of a nurse who was killed by a patient she was admitting on the night shift. he was the only nurse.
    People should be afraid of dying unattended in restraints!
    We need to be more afraid of the suffering and dying caused by unsafe staffing than the "appropriateness" of wearing a sticker or button.

    That said we must not "cry wolf" either.

    Systematic consistant unsafe staffing IS unsafe. I never again want a preventable death on my shift or on yours.
  12. by   Overland1
    The odd thing about the hospital that had the red & black signs and buttons was that the care there was generally quite good, but they pretty much ensured that potential new business would likely be scared away. Now they are not financially very well off, and I wonder if this was a contributing factor.

    We need to leave the politics and media junk (i.e., most of what the media feds us) out of the hospital, and just concentrate on the best possible patient (and family) care, as well as caring for ourselves.

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