Management learns what its like to work 16 shifts

  1. Well, now Ive heard everything. The Hawaii Nurses Assoc has 1,400 RN members who are on strike right now. #1 issue - MANDATORY OT. The kicker: The hospital says it has to bring in scabs to cover the rest of the strike because nurse management is exhausted from working mandatory 16 hr shifts at the bedsides. Probably never entered their minds that what they are feeling right now is what the STAFF RNs are facing everyday. Management admits they are fatigued & cant work 16 hr shifts but they forced their staff RNs out on strike because it wants to keep them working 16 shifts. Youd think that after experinecing it themselves, management would be more agreeable to no one having to work 16 hr shifts. How about just banning it for everybody & settling the strike instead of looking for scabs to keep it going? I swear sometimes it seems like the whole world has lost its mind.

    Monday, December 9, 2002
    Nurses beginning 2nd week of strike

    Striking nurses at St. Francis Medical Center today marked their first week walking the picket line while hospital officials finalized arrangements to bring in 12 replacements to spell exhausted staffers.

    One replacement nurse is already working with patients needing kidney dialysis treatment and the rest are expected by the end of the week, said hospital spokeswoman Maggie Jarrett.

    Nurses at Kuakini Medical Center today also marked a week on the line.

    Over the weekend, St. Francis transferred one of its critically ill patients to The Queen's Medical Center, where about 800 nurses have been on strike since Tuesday. The patient was one of two people that hospitals officials had used in pleas last week to bring some nurses back under special circumstances.

    No negotiations are scheduled between nurses and management at any of the hospitals, said Sue Scheider, executive director of the Hawaii Nurses Association. In all, nearly 1,400 nurses are on strike.

    Scheider said the nurses have made it clear that they will return to negotiations "any day or any night."

    "The nurses will last as long as they have to," she said today. "It is really awe-inspiring to see how dedicated they are."

    At St. Francis, nurse managers have been pressed into service, but Jarrett said the hospital is concerned about fatigue. "Our management staff is really getting stretched," Jarrett said. "The 16-hour shifts are twice the normal shift." {no kidding.... its only the reason the staff RNs are out on strike in the first place --- duh!}

    St. Francis nurse Blaine Southward said the strikers gained new strength over the weekend after feeling "powerless" on Thursday and Friday. Now they have found inspiration in each other, he said.

    "I think we are dug in," he said today.

    The nurses had been walking the line for entire eight hour shifts but that was cut in half yesterday, Southward said.

    "People are still committed to the strike but the reality is they have to put food on the table so they are looking for part-time work," he said.

    Meanwhile, nurses voted late Saturday night to accept a contract offer from Kaiser Medical Center, averting the possibility of a strike there.

    The contract offers a 21 percent pay increase over three years, with additional benefits for more experienced nurses that kick in during the second and third years of the contract. It includes policies that give nurses more voice in staffing, and provides enhanced medical coverage when they retire. It also addresses pay inequities between nurses who work at the hospital and those who work in the clinics.

    That contract was ratified by a strong margin, according to the Hawai'i Nurses Association.

    Sue Scheider, the association's director of collective bargaining, said the contract represents real progress in several areas, including patient care and the need to recognize and retain experienced nurses.
    Last edit by -jt on Dec 13, '02
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  3. by   -jt
    Sunday, December 8, 2002

    By Sue Scheider, Director
    Hawaii Nurses' Association Collective Bargaining Organization

    HONOLULU - Oahu will soon enter the second week of the Registered Nurses' strikes at three of its five largest hospitals. In every case, nearly all of the hospitals' union nurses have stayed on the lines, refusing to report for business as usual. The hospitals are staffing with nurse managers who have, in most cases, not done direct patient care in years and whose minimal ranks have been supplemented, at Kuakini and Queen's, by temporary, highly-paid nurses flown in from the mainland. By now the issues that our striking nurses have been emphasizing are probably resonating very loudly and clearly with those probably fatigued nurse managers;

    1. Mandatory Overtime
    2. difficulties of providing safe patient care when insufficient, experienced nurses are available;
    3. the differences between care provided by a regular staff nurse familiar with a unit and its patients versus what an outside or temporary RN can do, and
    4. the need to retain a stable core group of staff nurses on every unit.

    We hope that these fatigued nurse managers might begin to add their voices to the message the picketing nurses have been conveying: the hospitals need to listen to the priorities staff nurses have set, to ensure that there will be enough competent, skilled nurses at the bedside to provide safe patient care.

    These priorities are all about safeguarding staffing and retaining the experienced and dedicated nursing workforce that is currently out in the street and taking their issues to the community. If the hospitals refuse to heed the message, they will lose not only their invaluable nurses, but also the support of the very community they exist to serve.

    For both nurses and the hospitals, this nurses' strike is over the key question of remaining faithful to the mission of the nursing profession and staying true to the community trust.

    With the market for skilled, experienced nurses as competitive as it has now grown, the three area hospitals that have not yet gotten the message had better listen to their nurses - if they indeed expect to have any when this is all over.

    Registered nurse turnover is incredibly expensive, wasteful, and disruptive. Recognizing the vital role retention plays in maintaining a stable core workforce of experienced nurses, the two hospitals that have settled their contracts have addressed their current nurses' concerns sufficiently to earn approval, for now, by that RN workforce.

    Kapiolani Hospital achieved this with a good wage package, including additional progression for senior nurses, by maintaining its strong staffing provisions, by addressing the contentious issue of floating to other units, and by the barest of beginnings in the hot-button issue of retiree medical benefits.

    The now-ratified Kaiser contract, which, by the way, garnered far greater approval from its nurses, made real, substantial progress on each and every one of the five priority issues the nurses had identified. The way to keep the nurses happy is to respond to their basic needs.

    We would certainly hope that the three hospitals whose administrators look out their windows day and night to see resolute lines of nurses and their supporters picketing their facilities would realize soon that if they refuse to respond to what their nurses need, they will soon not have a permanent nursing workforce.

    Not to mention the incredible short-term financial and human resource expenditures required to maintain their unrealistic positions. The striking nurses have already walked out to show their strength of purpose and so it is not a big stretch to realize that these nurses can walk on a little further - to a neighbor hospital that has or will be responsive to nurses' needs if their current employers continue to ignore their clear messages.

    Perhaps worse, younger nurses with fewer constraints to remain will be even more motivated to catch the next plane to the mainland where the cost of living is less and the compensation far greater. Anecdotal reports suggest this is already beginning to happen.

    Kuakini Hospital needs to deal seriously with its major staffing problems (especially mandatory overtime and cutting back hours) and provide employer-paid retiree medical insurance.

    St. Francis must stay at least relatively competitive in compensation, make a longer time commitment to nurses, and preserve adequate RN staffing. Queen's Medical Center must attend to its nurses' concerns about mandatory overtime, avoiding Paid Time Off (PTO), retirement benefits including medical, and a competitive wage package.

    It is a simple solution. If the hospitals do these things, nurses will stay. If the hospitals do not, they will lose the very nurses who ensure quality patient care and these hospitals will have betrayed their obligation to the community.>>>>

    Sunday, December 8, 2002
    Honolulu Advertiser
    (online edition)

    comments of support for the RNs may be sent at
    Last edit by -jt on Dec 13, '02
  4. by   -jt
    Sunday, December 8, 2002

    5 hospitals on Oahu - 2nd settled - 3 still on strike

    Nurses voted late last night to accept a contract offer from Kaiser Medical Center, averting a strike at another of O'ahu's Big Five medical facilities.

    The contract offers a 21 percent pay increase over three years, with additional benefits for more experienced nurses in the second and third years.

    Scott Foster, spokesman for the Hawai'i Nurses Association, said the contract was ratified by "a strong margin." No additional details were released.

    The agreement includes new staffing guidelines, a key issue for nurses across the state. Insufficient staffing results in an overworked nurses and poor patient care, the nurses have contended.

    The 646 nurses at Kaiser will also get improved retirement benefits under the new contract.

    Meanwhile, nurses at three other O'ahu hospitals-The Queen's Medical Center, Kuakini Medical Center and St. Francis Medical Center, remain on strike.

    At St. Francis Medical Center, management has contacted a Mainland agency and will bring in replacement nurses to care for its kidney dialysis patients.

    Hospital spokeswoman Maggie Jarrett announced the decision yesterday, after hospital officials met Friday night with a group of striking nurses in a failed attempt to bring the nurses off the picket lines to care for the patients.

    No contract talks have been scheduled at St. Francis or at the two other O'ahu medical centers-Queen's and Kuakini-where nurses also remained on strike yesterday.

    More than 1,400 nurses are maintaining picket lines at the three hospitals.

    Nurses at Kapi'olani Medical Center voted last week to accept a contract offer from employers at that facility, although many of the nurses said they were dissatisfied with the agreement.

    St. Francis cares for 1,000 dialysis patients statewide. Jarrett said last night that she did not know how may nurses would be brought in.

    When negotiations began to break down and a strike seemed likely, the hospital announced it would not hire outside help, and would instead compensate for the lack of nurses by cutting each patient's dialysis time in half. {can you believe it??? CUT the pts dialysis rather than compromise with the staff RNs!!}

    Non-union nurses {management} worked 16 hour shifts to staff the shortened treatment schedules.

    Last week, Jarrett said, nephrologist Jared Sugihara, head of the Renal Institute of the Pacific at St. Francis told hospital officials that he had serious concerns about the physical and psychological impact the abbreviated treatment program could have on patients. {but still wont settle the strike, so how concerned are they really?}

    The Kidney Foundation had also expressed concerns.

    Dialysis patients on the abbreviated treatment schedules were told to go on emergency diets, restricting their intake of fluids, protein, salt and potassium. { this is outrageous! - playing with peoples lives just to avoid having to spend some money to improve the working conditions of their staff RNs!}

    In a court action and in a meeting Friday night, St. Francis tried to bring striking nurses off the picket lines to care for the dialysis patients.

    Hawai'i Nurses Association director Sue Scheider said the nurses had proposed two weeks before the strike that a Patients First Committee review life-threatening situations such as organ transplant surgeries on a case-by-case basis, and bring nurses in off the picket line when no one else could provide safe care.

    The nurses rejected the St. Francis proposal to bring picketers in to provide dialysis, saying the hospital should have made other arrangements. Scheider said the hospital cut the dialysis regime even when sufficient nurses were available to provide care.

    Because the Mainland nurses will be expensive, St. Francis will bring in only the number required to restore full dialysis treatments, Jarrett said.

    send comments to >>>>>

    1000 pts need dialysis, the hospital knew a strike was coming but made no other provisions for the pts to get their dialysis elsewhere, didnt even want to bring in scabs to do it because it didnt want to spend the money, and knowing they had all these pts & werent willing to make any other arrangements for them, they still did nothing to compromise with their own RNs to avert the strike. And at the same time theyre they say they are so concerned about the pts care, they have scheduled NO negotiations with their RNs to try to bring this to an agreeable end. If they are so concerned, they need to get back to the table - not telling dialysis pts to risk their lives just so they can avoid having to deal with their nurses work & safety issues.
    Last edit by -jt on Dec 13, '02
  5. by   911fltrn
    Im in Hawaii! The negotiations resume monday morning per the nurses request. The hospital is only going to lower their best and final offer from here on out! Ahoha
  6. by   oramar
    OH boy, this is interesting, thanks for clueing us in on what is going on.
  7. by   ?burntout
    Sometimes management REALLY DOES NOT HAVE A CLUE, do they????
  8. by   eltrip
    Thanks for keeping the rest of us informed. Thsi is, to say the very least, outrageous.
  9. by   sjoe
    "nurse management is exhausted from working mandatory 16 hr shifts at the bedsides."

    Ha ha ha ha ha. I love it. The poor babies.
  10. by   Stargazer
    This reminds me of when my old hospital was pulling the mandatory OT crap on us. We were all pulling 12- and 16-hour shifts at that point. We filled out unsafe staffing forms and called the on-call hospital administrator before every single shift to let them know we were dangerously short-staffed. One night this involved calling someone far removed from pt care at 0300 to let her know we would be critically short-staffed for day shift.

    This admin started complaining about being woken up because she was pregnant and "needed her sleep"! Oh, man, did the charge nurse give her a blistering earful!
  11. by   NurseGirlKaren
    Unbelievable. I hope the HI nurses are able to keep the faith. Sounds like they've got lots to fight for!!
  12. by   OC_An Khe
    You are forgetting that it the Nurse Managers that are doing doubles and NOT the administrators that have the power to make the concessions at the table.
    Justice will prevail in the end. To the RNs on strike remember you have to last one second more than the Administrators.
  13. by   -jt
    letters of support to the Hawaii Nurses Assoc RNs on strike can be sent at:
  14. by   gypsyangelrn
    I'm all for the nurses on's a sin to make us work mandatory OT...+ understaffed, etc. I don't feel sorry for the Managers working 16 hour shifts!

    I wish nurses would rise up throughout the country and form's well overdo.

    Lastly, I hope my fellow travel nurses don't jump into being scabs too quickly.......I feel it undermines the nurses on strike! I say let the hospitals sweat....and cook !!

    Hang in there sisters......this nursing shortage should be used to our advantage......:roll