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Changes because of Covid

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by NurseinER NurseinER (New) New Nurse

Specializes in ER. Has 34 years experience.

I work in an ER with 22 beds, We usually have 3 RN's at 7am with 1 Tech.  We are an RN at 11, 12 and 1pm.  We add a Tech at 11am and 1pm.  Then night shift is 7p to 7a.  We were recently told that due to Covid we will start the day with 2 RN's and 1 Tech, keep in mind that most of the time our tech is pulled to other departments because they don't have the staffing. 

1. Has anyone else had these changes in staffing? We all feel this is a dangerous practice and when something drastic happens are they going to stand behind us?

2. Usually this time of year we get a cost of living increase "Market Adjustment".  We have been told that we are not getting this due to Covid cost and they do not have the money to give this increase.   Has anyone else lost a cost of living "Market Adjustment" increase due to Covid?

3.  If there is an open shift and we sign up for it we would get $7.00 an hour to be "on call" and if we are called in we get paid time and a half.  This has also been taken away from us. So if we sign up for a hole in the schedule (on our days off) we are paid straight pay.

Just curious to see what others are going through as far as changes due to Covid.

londonflo

Specializes in oncology. Has 44 years experience.

I live in a city with 2 hospitals. Both have furloughed about 10% of the hospital staff or had their positions eliminated. RNs who gamely worked extra shifts and extra hours are now a "drain" on a hospital with developing financial problems. I have sent one message to the ANA that this is an issue they need to address (I won't hold my breath waiting for an answer.) Why isn't the ANA addressing this issue (from hero to zero pay) for their membership who pays high dues and high fees for certification? The ANA has performed poorly during this pandemic. Where was their outrage at the shortage of PPE? (I forgot they boasted they wrote letters and developed webinars giving information on how to reduce stress). Where are they now?

NurseinER

Specializes in ER. Has 34 years experience.

Thanks londonflo for the response. 

We are definitely HERO TO ZERO.

I also forgot to mention that as a corporation they received $10 million from the government for Covid, not including the incentive they get for each insurance claim with Covid on it

londonflo

Specializes in oncology. Has 44 years experience.

15 minutes ago, NurseinER said:

 I also forgot to mention that as a corporation they received $10 million from the government for Covid, not including the incentive they get for each insurance claim with Covid on it

Great point. I am a retired instructor but I worked at one of the hospitals for 20 years and did another 18 years continuing to use that hospital as a clinical site. There are so many ways they could use nurses (these are experienced nurses..many 30s and older) in very productive ways. It is a faith-based institution - they sometimes have health care assessment of the homeless. Set up clinics at the library where the homeless are.What about having their input in new RN orientation program? (oops = that won't work, they furloughed the nurse educators), develop webinars for learning (CBLs are so boring and repetitive) and the hospital has a college of nursing - have these RNs help the nursing students practice skills and give feedback for improvement. - maybe even have them create low fidelity simulations for quick practice of assessment skills - skills that are actual skills the RNs use every day. Sorry I wrote a book but there is so much the furloughed nurses could do until the normal census is restored.

On 8/27/2020 at 12:23 PM, NurseinER said:

1. Has anyone else had these changes in staffing? We all feel this is a dangerous practice and when something drastic happens are they going to stand behind us?

Here's the thing. Even as someone severely disappointed in hospitals and their often-abusive business plans...I know that the above train of thought rarely...almost never...achieves anything. You do run the risk of damaging your argument when it isn't more nuanced than that.

Rather than driving yourself mad with fear and feelings of insult, I think the best thing to do is give it a whirl but have a low threshold for refusing any additional BS. I can tell you that after seeing how they make decisions with impunity and then disparage their staff for "complaining," I would definitely not be caught dead complaining about this. The only thing that happens when nurses complain about things like this is that they are disparaged as complainers and used as scapegoats when things don't go well. So put your head down, get to work and don't complain.

But. Don't kill yourself accepting responsibility for everything that must be de-prioritized when nurses are spread as thin as hospitals think they can get away with. If this is the choice your hospital wants to make, then the results are solidly on them.

Call your manager and house supervisor the instant there is an actually dangerous scenario, such as not being able to attend to truly urgent or emergent needs of patients. When you call, say, "We need you to come down." If they begin wasting time you don't have by trying to "assess" the situation over the phone, say, "I can't talk, come find me when you get down here."

On 8/27/2020 at 12:23 PM, NurseinER said:

3.  If there is an open shift and we sign up for it we would get $7.00 an hour to be "on call" and if we are called in we get paid time and a half.  This has also been taken away from us. So if we sign up for a hole in the schedule (on our days off) we are paid straight pay.

You have options. Don't sign up for open shifts. Don't agree to be on-call for free or for pennies on the dollar (something I never do). They can say whatever they want and they can refuse to offer their usual premiums and incentives...but they must pay OT if OT is worked, period. That is the law.

So don't worry about this too much either.

You need to get into a different mindset, and that is: You (hospital) will make your decisions and I will make mine accordingly.

Don't complain, just act. Remain a professional, refused to be provoked.