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Fired nurses protest at Mesquite hospital-ICU ratio debated

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by pickledpepperRN pickledpepperRN (Member)

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Fired nurses protest at Mesquite hospital

Mesquite: Hospital defends action as ICU patient ratio debated

Three nurses who say they were fired from a Mesquite hospital after refusing what they believed was an unsafe patient load are trying to bring attention to what they consider dangerous understaffing.

Nurses Diana Sepeda, Nancy Friesen and Sandra Taylor said they were fired this month from Dallas Regional Medical Center - formerly the Medical Center of Mesquite. During a night shift in the hospital's ICU in May, each nurse refused to take on three patients because they did not think they could provide adequate care...

...Ms. Sepeda said that she was assigned to three patients that night in the ICU, including one who was recovering from open heart surgery and was far from the others.

"I could not see him," she said. "I could not monitor him safely."...

http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/news/localnews/stories/DN-nurses_16met.ART0.North.Edition1.439b37a.html

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BULLYDAWGRN has 10 years experience as a RN and specializes in ICU/ER/TRANSPORT.

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Now do people see what happens when you try to complain against the MAN... Sure we don't need no stinkin union..Bull Crap, bring the Unions on. Heck where is opra now? I'm sure she won't touch this one.

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sjt9721 is a BSN, RN and specializes in Emergency/Trauma/Education.

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I understand that these nurses were acting as patient advocates by declaring that the 3:1 ICU ratio was unsafe. Nurses in Texas can declare "safe harbor" in these instances. I've seen it done, and administrators respond to it. For non-Texas nurses, here's more information regarding Safe Harbor: http://www.bne.state.tx.us/practice/safe.html

My issue is that these nurses outright refused the assignments. By completely refusing the assignments, how did they contribute to the immediate safety of those patients? When they refused, the unit became 3 more nurses "in the hole". (this is said assuming that the article is complete...but also realizing that there's usually more than one side to a media story!)

These nurses do deserve to be supported. Lord knows they were doing what they felt was right. I think they just went about it the wrong way.

:sofahider Let the flames begin!

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439 Posts; 4,663 Profile Views

I did glance through the link you provided re: Safe Harbor. My question is, how is it invoked? It looks like a ream of paperwork needs to be filled out first??

If the nurse had invoked "Safe Harbor", does that mean that she is still obligated to care for the unsafe patient load? Please tell me there is protection for the nurse so if things go bad she doesn't lose her license.

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RN34TX has 17 years experience.

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I did glance through the link you provided re: Safe Harbor. My question is, how is it invoked? It looks like a ream of paperwork needs to be filled out first??

If the nurse had invoked "Safe Harbor", does that mean that she is still obligated to care for the unsafe patient load? Please tell me there is protection for the nurse so if things go bad she doesn't lose her license.

The form can be downloaded online on the TX BNE website and it really isn't a large amount to be filled out. It is invoked when the nurse notifies the administrator that he/she is invoking safe harbor and yes, he/she still must continue to go on caring for an unsafe patient load.

Safe Harbor protects the nurse from losing their license but continuing the unsafe assignment can set you up for future lawsuits if something gets missed or goes wrong during that unsafe shift and nothing, including Safe Harbor, can shield you from that. That's why I disagree with the poster that stated that the nurses went about it the wrong way because I think it's best to refuse the assignment in the first place. Otherwise you put yourself right in the line of fire.

No family of a dead patient is going to be greatful that you did the best you could with the patient load you were assigned. I'd rather they sue the hospital for failing to employ management/nursing administration in direct care roles during staffing crises who instead chose to just give out unsafe patient assignments to the staff nurses and stay in their offices.

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439 Posts; 4,663 Profile Views

RN34TX: agreed.

Much better to have your license intact rather than trying to defend inadequate care.

I bet GroupOne has a heyday with those 3 re: references.

They were set up to fail, and yet they have to pay the price of moronic decision-making by administration. Very sad.

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11 Posts; 936 Profile Views

This story makes me feel very fortunate to be a practicing RN in California where there's union protection and a state mandated ICU ratio. More power to these nurses.

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caroladybelle is a BSN, RN and specializes in Oncology/Haemetology/HIV.

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Declaring "Safe Harbor" is all well and nice, to save a nurse's license but what does it provide for the patient.

If a patient dies or gets harmed d/t understaffing, I may have covered my license but I still have a conscience and will have that on it for life.

The end game is what is good for the patient's outcome. How many patients get to die while lawyers charge nurses that invoke "safe harbor", then find they can't, charge hospitals and spend years in court.

Sorry, but I would refuse the assignment. I have to live with my conscience for the rest of my life.

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Kidrn911 has 12 years experience and specializes in Peds ED, Peds Stem Cell Transplant, Peds.

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Now do people see what happens when you try to complain against the MAN... Sure we don't need no stinkin union..Bull Crap, bring the Unions on. Heck where is opra now? I'm sure she won't touch this one.

I would quit before I ever work for a Union. They don't do anything but take money, to support their own agenda, they careless for the people.

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cardiacRN2006 is a ADN, RN and specializes in Cardiac.

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I would definitely refuse the assignment.

If you agree even once to an unsafe assingment, then they know it's ok to do it again.

I'd accept my 2, and tell the house supervisor to throw on some scrubs and pick up the others.

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337 Posts; 10,036 Profile Views

No family of a dead patient is going to be greatful that you did the best you could with the patient load you were assigned. I'd rather they sue the hospital for failing to employ management/nursing administration in direct care roles during staffing crises who instead chose to just give out unsafe patient assignments to the staff nurses and stay in their offices.

I am so loving this quote.:lol2: What, and get their white coats with the shiny gold magnet pins soiled? Wouldn't you love to see this scenario on court TV?

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