Nurses Fight Back! Why Some Hospitals are Despicable

We continue to read in the news about nurses being on the receiving end of “The Boot”, from getting dumped on with an overloaded assignment to being fired because, well, it costs too much to keep the experienced nurses around. The plethora of management’s reasons include funding and needs to reduce cost. Not only do these catastrophic management decisions create havoc in the work life of the nurse and place patients at risk, but can seriously damage the financial income of the hospital as well. Nurses General Nursing Article

Nurses Fight Back! Why Some Hospitals are Despicable

This article was written by a member on allnurses in response to reading the article

Hospitals Firing Seasoned Nurses: Nurses FIGHT Back! . Due to the controversial and emotionally charged nature of the article, she is afraid of retribution if her hospital administrative staff should read this article and link it back to her. So we offered to publish it for her anonymously. Please add your comments regarding this issue negatively impacting nurses and the healthcare system.

Sue, a new nurse three months into her first job, had a rough assignment, along with every nurse on the floor that day. A wing of 25 beds - and 24 of them filled, there were only 4 nurses - including the charge nurse. Sue barely had time to do an assessment more than open the door and check to see if her patient was breathing. If they talked - they were breathing - and that had to be good enough. The doctor was rounding and wanted to talk to her. Bed 8 needed pain meds and bed 10 needed to get off of the toilet. Would have been great if they had a tech working that day, but that is just fantasy. She still had not taken vital signs or opened her charts to see what meds were needed by 8 am.

Overhead, a Code blue was being called. As Sue ran to assist, she passed by room 11 and her patient screamed out that she had fallen out of bed. The IV pole was lying on the floor next to her and her iv site was bleeding...she was on a dopamine infusion. Sue stops in her tracks to help her patient, a 200-pound female who tried to move from the bed to the chair without calling for help but tripped on her IV tubing. Undecided if she should immediately restart the IV while her patient was still lying on the floor, or try to move her up to the chair without help, Sue wanted to scream in frustration. It was only 7:30 am.

Sadly, this is an example of nursing that should not ever be imposed on anyone, much less a new nurse who has no experience to draw on. Hospital administration who expect to have success by cutting corners and hanging the staff out to dry are at high risk for increased turnover rates, high morbidity/mortality, and disgruntled employees.

10 Reasons Nurses Believe Some Hospitals are Despicable

  1. Nurses are under...or not... appreciated.
  2. Equipment is outdated, broken, or non-existent.
  3. Doctors are coddled to and they are allowed to treat nurses disrespectfully.
  4. Improvement suggestions are ignored by management and are not appreciated.
  5. Understaffing units and placing nurse licenses at risk with a high/unsafe workload.
  6. Unit directors do not lend a hand to help out on the floor when everything is in chaos.
  7. Benefits are decreased, pay increases are decreased or not given, and retirement is bleak.
  8. The hospital takes better care of administration than it does the staff caring for the patients.
  9. Nurses have no support system within the hospital, do not have mentors, nor trust other nurses within their unit.
  10. Creating an environment of "us vs them". Nurses are written up by management for things beyond their control due to the heavy workload. Yet, management does little to ease the load of their staff.

Understanding why some hospitals are despicable paints a clear picture of how NOT to manage a hospital, and lends credence to creating a hospital workplace that succeeds. The comparison from one environment to another is striking. Hospitals that succeed place a lot of time and money into proper training of their nurses and value the staff. Take a look:

Anna was a graduate nurse who landed her first job at a local hospital. While waiting to take her board exam, Anna was started in a Pathway Program with other new nurses at the hospital that lasted 6 months. During the first week, the hospital prepared the graduates to take their NCLEX exam with an intensive review.

After the nurses passed their boards, they spent days in Pathway training in classroom training. This included going over hospital policies, safety issues, guidelines, and best practices for hospital patients. Over the next 6 months, they worked on different units with mentors, trained on medication administration, the computer programs used for patient charting, and completed the hospital computer education curriculum. The program instilled the hospital values and mission in the training. Nurses were not "eaten" by the staff, but supported and encouraged.

Anna, along with the others in her program, then graduated and started on the unit they were hired for full time. She had an assigned mentor who she could approach at any time if she had any concerns in caring for any of her patients. The workload at the hospital was acceptable and did not overburden the nurses. In the unit where she was assigned, she found the charge nurses started off the day without an assignment so that she/he could help the other nurses with discharges and admissions, and if need be, could take on a patient or two during the shift. Anna learned the value of teamwork.

Additionally, Anna found she could increase her hourly pay through ambition. Pay raises are attainable through yearly evaluations, gaining continued education certifications, and through continued college education degrees. A reimbursement program for continued education was available. Overtime bonuses and pay during "crisis" seasons when the hospital was overflowing was offered. The hospital gives back to their nurses through yearly bonuses, PTO, Nurse Appreciation Week, and recognition of achievements.

Anna asked her mentor, "Is everyone here this nice?" She also told one of her family, "It is really hard to get a job in this hospital, no one ever wants to leave and work someplace else."

This is true. When hospitals want to become great, administration must realize it is nurses who are the foundation of care, understand what it takes to move a nurse from a graduate nurse to a strong, experienced nurse, and what it takes to keep them.

Hospitals that succeed value those who can create a trusting relationship with patients; who have time to educate and provide quality care for them (decreasing readmission rates); and create positive outcomes -in many ways - even through death; and who have the power to define in action the value and mission of hope and healing many hospital's claim they have.

Nurses, let your voice be heard - stand up for what you believed in when you decided to become a nurse. Be the leader of change in your hospital, be the compassionate, caring, daring, brave nurse you know you are meant to be!

Share your comments here, and join the movement -


(Editorial Team / Admin)

Our mission is to Empower, Unite, and Advance our members by providing a community where they can grow and succeed in their career.

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Specializes in Peds, Med-Surg, Disaster Nsg, Parish Nsg.

Nurses are faced with so many hard decisions today.

Things have changed so much from when I started my nursing career......and many of those changes are not for the good.

Nurses....let us hear what is really bothering you about your work environment and suggestions for much-needed changes to make it a safer place for the healthcare team and most importantly, the patients who deserve safe and competent care.

Specializes in Education, FP, LNC, Forensics, ED, OB.

Excellent Article.

We must unite ... not divide ourselves in order to bring about change.

Specializes in OR.

I think the article pointed out a lot of what we all instinctively know. Treat people badly, they will go elsewhere (or stay and become very miserable people). For myself, I have never understood the "eating their young" aspect of nursing. Why chew on the new folk? They are the ones that will soon be taking call, etc. and easing the burden on me? With all of the ballyhooing about how hospital reimbursement being dependent on patient satisfaction scores, have these "despicable" places considered that reimbursement is in more than $$? By hiring, properly training and retaining good nurses and providing a non-threatening environment to work in, you keep those nurses that you invested in training and don't have to spend more $$ hiring and training replacements to cover those that left because they did not care to risk their licenses by working in a war zone. In the arena of for-profit medicine, I think that the almighty dollar has clouded the judgment of the folks at the top (many of whom, if they are nurses, haven't been near the bedside in a 'coon's age.) It is a sad fact that medicine is a business.

I dearly love what I do and feel that in terms of money, I am paid respectably. I think I would do it even if the money were not so decent. Sadly, I have encountered a number of "despicable" places in my career, none of which I have stayed at for very long. I don't mean to sound like I am whining, but no one, nurse or otherwise should be faced with reporting to work every day, in fear of being fired or shoved out of the way for someone's friend, or written up over advocating for your patient. There are many, many more things, too many to list here, that I have encountered that would qualify a place for the "despicable" workplace award. I fear most for the patients that do not see what goes on in these places and are entrusting their lives to the care of institutions that value money over human life.

On a positive note, I have had the pleasure of working in a place or two that was like the second hospital described in the article. One of my greatest regrets was thatI left it. Sometimes, the grass that looks greener from this side of the fence turns out to be only weeds and rocks. I am currently working in what can only be described as a "despicable" place. I pray that I won't be here very long either. Only time will tell and I hope it will tell me soon.

Sue's life sucks. That's awful. I would love to be in Anna's shoes.

I agree with so many things in this article. In NC, where I started, there are a lot of Annas and not so many Sues. But, as I've traveled across the country, I feel like I see a Sue in almost every other facility I've been in.

It's pretty scary. I wouldn't be a patient in some of the hospitals I've worked in.

I really think any change is going to have to come from the nurses. Facilities obviously aren't going to do it by themselves without a reason.

Specializes in pediatrics, occupational health.

We really need to figure out how to create change in hospitals that are crushing their nurses! I think it has to come from within the administration with nurses pushing for change. What is the answer????

Specializes in OR.

"Doctors are coddled to" - oh YES! That is definitely true for me. I'm in the OR and the surgeons are pretty much allowed to treat others however they want, including techs, residents, and students. Most of the docs are great, but there are a few that are awful on purpose. I understand that some surgeries are higher stress than others (i.e., thoracic vs. lap chole lol), but sometimes the attitude is completely unnecessary. I'm very glad I don't work on a unit like the one in this article. Yikes!

Specializes in NICU.

It's all been said before. But when you go to work and there are 22 "well" babies with 2 nurses, which is against national guidelines, and you somehow manage to get through the shift(12 hours of hell and tears)because the 2 nurses are literally super nurses, management expects you can do it AGAIN.

These 2 nurses didn't do anyone in our profession any favors.

I have gotten phenomenal results calling the corporate hotline. The hospital has to address the charges.

Seriously I have successfully changed things with that method and anonymous

letters to JCHAO work wonders.

Fight this way and we may win the battle.

I have won many and have seen lots of changes as a result.

I think we should be supportive of all oppressed hospital staff not just nurses. Oh and yes, Doctors get a pass because they generate profits for the hospital, in this darn age that type of favoritism is sickening.

Specializes in NICU.

It's all been said before. But when you go to work and there are 22 "well" babies with 2 nurses, which is against national guidelines, and you somehow manage to get through the shift(12 hours of hell and tears)because the 2 nurses are literally super nurses, management expects you can do it AGAIN.

These 2 nurses didn't do anyone in our profession any favors.

I have gotten phenomenal results calling the corporate hotline. The hospital has to address the charges.

Seriously I have successfully changed things with that method and anonymous

letters to JCHAO work wonders.

Fight this way and we may win the battle.

I have won many and have seen lots of changes as a result.

Specializes in ICU, LTACH, Internal Medicine.

Anna asked her mentor "is everybody nice here?"

And her mentor answered "YES"


I went through the program which was just so described and the brand shiny new as well. Everybody was just so nice, I was assigned to a mentor who was supposed to be available like 24/7, lots of classroom time, monthly meetings with seasoned nurses so that concerns might be voiced.

The only one problem was that it was, at least for me, just one big lie. Mentor was sitting at the station playing phone and gossiping most of the time, back biting, cliquing and everything up to and including open ethnic discrimination and harrassment - that how my first year of nursing turned out to be. Sorry, not at all fairy tale like Anna's.

If nurses are going to "fight back", it means that in quite some places a lot of **** is going to get up floating from the bottom where it was supposed to be kept. So many of these disgusting and unsafe things, from admitting patients who are not belonging to the units (as described: patient on dopamine going apparently into peripheral vein because otherwise it would be screaming and a puddle of blood... in apparently med-surg unit?!) and to new grads harassment, nurses and nursing administration do themselves and with whole group approval. And, IMH (umble) opinion, this is where we out to begin: from themselves. The moment any of us helps a fellow nurse, takes a new grad under wing, stays up to evil and malignancy, good things start to happen.

Hospital administration is mostly comprised of business majors who are trained to generate profit and have no practical healthcare knowledge,... It's about numbers for them.... During orientation the ceo of our hospital said "I could never do what u people do." Yea understatement of the year.... And he makes six figures and we get what??? A free pen???? I felt like it was really ironic for him to say that.... And the other hospital in our community is the same way... I've also been told, by nurses who have worked in other sates, that the healthcare in my particular state is severely lacking due to the aging population and lack of healthcare resources to accommodate .... All the more reason to ensure the staff has administrative support... How can we change the culture in our hospitals? How do we make them see our side?