Registered Nurses Claim Patients Not Getting Proper Care

  1. brownsville - a group of intensive care nurses say they've been suspended, three of them were even fired for being vocal about under staffing at valley regional medical center.

    linda valdez, a registered nurse says she was suspended for refusing to be assigned the role of "charge nurse".
    it's a position she says takes away from the assigned patient load she already has in the icu.

    "if something does happen, in the unit, outside of the unit, or in another unit, patient gets sick to the point where they're calling for a rapid response or a patient is coding, they call for an icu nurse that has to respond.

    when we respond to those patients that need us because they're basically on the brink and may be in their last moments and we have to respond, we're having to leave our patients, our critically ill patients to other nurses that are already overwhelmed," she says.

    cleo vasquez faced the same problem. being terminated for her job for not wanting to assume the duty of a charge nurse.
    "as far as being a charge nurse and stepping away from the unit to respond to other issues going on at the hospital, it is to me a very unsafe assignments and that is what we are advocating, patient safety first," says vasquez....


    icu nurses voice patient safety issue -
    Last edit by brian on May 16, '11
  2. 34 Comments

  3. by   wantsthebest
    I feel sorry for those suspended and I agree about not getting proper care. ICU nurses have a hard job. They deserve to have enough people to do it.
  4. by   RN1980
    they have got to keep their voices in the public rhelm in order for the hospital to retract their stance on this issue. nothing changes a hospitals position faster than getting bad pr over saftey issues. what about the icu medical director... ours has a say over how the icu is staffed..he gets very anxious when they try to make us take low census days and have even called the hospital ceo over this issue. the icu is where the sickest of the sick goes to get the best and most intense care offered, to take the staff away from that makes the name "intensive care" a ruse.
  5. by   kcmylorn
    Just what are the grounds for dismissal of these nurses? So now there are 10 more nurses on the unemployment line!! Is it time to investigate these hospital systems yet??
    This needs to go to president Obama, not the Board of Nursing in Texas- perfect example of what's going on in our healthcare, why patients are as sick as they are, the near misses, sentinal events and repercussions for speaking out!! The powerlessness of the practicing bedside clinical nurse.
  6. by   tokmom
    They need a union.
  7. by   kcmylorn
    All 10 of these nurses should go to the nearest law school and present this case to a group of law prefessors and their eager beaver law students in a health care litigation class and have this case prosecuted in the Texas courts. They should file charges against the Nurse manager, the HR director, the hospital CEO and the Board of directors and sue all and don't forget to include the hospital. The Law students would probably take it on pro bono for the experience and the grade, with the law professor supervising the litigation.
    If that doesn't work -all 10 could take it to a lawyer together- one big law suit!!
    These nurses have a chance to make an example out of this hospital and send a powerful message out to the hospital administrations in this country- Nurses are not easy marks, we are not going to roll over and play dead anymore- It's part of our job and our licenses mandate it and hold us accountable to it.
    If the situation had an adverse outcome and one of these nurses left the unit to resspond to a rapid response or a code and something happened to one of their patients left to an already burdened other RN- both nurses would be liable and subject to loss of license and BON action.! The same should hold true for the hospital management and their poor management/staffing decisions.
    I would not go back to work there under any conditions- your lives will be made miserable- I know this first hand - I reported a physician for harassment. You are dead meat the minute you step foot back in the place, their teeth are just waiting to sink into you. I should have sued I and my career have regretted it ever since. These nurse are not just 1 but 10- there is strength in a lawyers office with numbers. Back in the hospital you will be divided up, some taken back, some not so you can not be a support cohesive group for each other. They will atack you one on one.
    Last edit by kcmylorn on May 14, '11
  8. by   NightNurse876
    Quote from tokmom
    They need a union.
    My hospital has a union and I have had 10patients before...6 is a walk in the park after all the overworking I've been through...sometimes you need a bit more than that. If you patient ratios are written in stone..if there is an empty bed they will fill it, whether the cancelled or floated a nurse or not!
  9. by   taalyn_1
    Reform for patient ratios and staffing is seriously needed. Acuity based staffing is not safe for pts or nurses. What to do??? Unions to start, then not promoting inexperienced nurses to management positions, then nurses need to speak up and refuse as these 10 did. Write legislators, BON, speak up, go to town hall meetings, write Obama, whatever we can to get things changed.

    The reason I say not promoting inexperienced nurses to mgt. is that they do not really know how the floor is ran, they also do not have the ...backbone (?) to stand up to administrators who just want to save a buck so they can get their bonuses. My facility has a DON who has only been a nurse for 1 year and was promoted to DON after 3 months employment, a nurse unit manager who has only been a nurse for 6 months!! How are they really going to know anything about proper staffing and how to tell administrators no????

    I am not a nurse yet, I am still in school, but when I get out and on the floor I want to be safe and have safe patients. It really worries me about the improper staffing at these facilities. I'd love to see things change for the better, and soon!
  10. by   herring_RN
    Quote from NightNurse876
    My hospital has a union and I have had 10patients before...6 is a walk in the park after all the overworking I've been through...sometimes you need a bit more than that. If you patient ratios are written in stone..if there is an empty bed they will fill it, whether the cancelled or floated a nurse or not!
    In 2011 patients well enough for an RN to be assigned six to ten patients are not in the hospital.

    The maximum number of patients should be "set in stone".
    And they need to add staff as needed for high acuity patients.

    This hospital was asking an RN to be assigned to critical care patients in the ICU. And be the rapid response nurse, code team nurse, and charge nurse.
    Who is taking care of her patients in the ICU while she is responding to an emergency on another unit?
    Shame on that hospital!
    Last edit by herring_RN on May 16, '11
  11. by   CapeCodMermaid
    "Reform for patient ratios and staffing is seriously needed. Acuity based staffing is not safe for pts or nurses." The ONLY way we should be staffing is based on acuity whether one works in acute care or long term care. I, too, have been 'spoken to' for suggesting we needed to increase staffing on the unit. It's not about the number of heads in the beds. It should be about how sick those 'heads' are.
  12. by   southtexaspaloma
    The bedside nurse is the last line of defense a patient has. The role of being a patient advocate is at the core of our job descriptions and a duty to our patients. When a hospital does not staff according to their own staffing grids, the patient, the bedside nurse, the unit director, the CNO, and the hospital are all at risk. The patient runs the MOST risk This hospital is really out on a limb if it thinks and advertises patient safety is on their list of concerns. Their action of terminating these RN's speaks volumes!! a UNION and established patient ratios is what this hospital needs (and all hospitals like it). It's "criminal' when the almighty DOLLAR is more important than human lives!
  13. by   CCRNDiva
    I am currently going through this. I work as a charge RN in the CV/ICU of a level II trauma center and this past week I have had 2-3 while being in charge. I am also expected to be the code blue and rapid assessment team responder. I've had to leave my patient's bedside to assist a less seasoned nurse admit and stabilize a hemorrhaging post-partum patient. Sat. morning, we had 22 patients with 8 RNs on the schedule for days and 7 on the schedule for nights. I called my unit director for her assistance and she told me she was not coming in because she can't work every day. She also told me she would worry about staffing the night shift later. I couldn't believe it. She wanted to mandate staff to stay but most of the staff were coming back in 12 hrs. I believe the house supervisor called her and she then agreed to come in. I've never felt so unsafe as a nurse in my entire career. At times, I couldn't even remember my patients' names.

    Administration eliminated float pay so all but one our critical care floats have left the float team. They are now hiring new grads for float team positions. The floats who remain are not trained in critical care yet they are assigned our patients. We are now expected to pick up our "fair share" (just a politically correct term for mandating) of call time to staff the unit and we're expected to fill our own staffing holes. They no longer pay overtime for working more than 12 hrs so they can make us work 16 hrs straight without paying overtime. We've had several RNs leave without their positions being posted.

    I don't want to work as a charge RN anymore. I don't feel it is worth the risk of losing my license or making an irreversible error while caring for my patients. I have worried what this decision means for my career. I don't want to be perceived as not being a team player or a quitter but I don't want to put myself or patients at risk again. I know they would hang me out to dry if something were to go wrong.
  14. by   herring_RN
    with the increasing sophistication and complexity of medical technology allowing patients' lives to be saved and maintained which previously would have been lost, the 1:2 ratio standard needs to become the minimum ratio for critical care units in every state.
    many patients in those units require staffing at 1:1 and even 2:1.
    this needs to be at all times. when a nurse goes to lunch or must respond to a rapid response or code blue call her patients are still critically ill.