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Tempted to Break Contract Over Unsafe Staffing

Nurse Beth   (195 Views | 0 Replies)
by Nurse Beth Nurse Beth, MSN (Columnist) Educator Writer Innovator Expert Nurse

Nurse Beth has 30 years experience as a MSN and specializes in Med Surg, Tele, ICU, Ortho.

18 Followers; 103 Articles; 234,757 Profile Views; 2,059 Posts

Dear Nurse Beth,

I'm a new grad icu nurse graduated in may 2018. I work for the same hospital I used to be a cna in, but now work in the icu. I was inspired to go there because i loved the icu nurses there and i wanted to learn from them. However, about 6 months into my contract we moved into a higher number of beds in our icu and our staffing has been a disaster.

At least three people are tripled with icu patients every day and there is no end in sight to this trend. Everyone ive come to know and appreciate is now leaving the bedside, saying this environment is not safe for patients and i have to agree. I am very tempted to break my 2 year contract and go somewhere else, because i dont think anyone should have to put up with such unsafe staffing.

However, i know if i leave i know i will not be allowed to be hired back in this hospital’s parent company - which is one of the largest hospital networks in the country. I want to stick it out and learn and finish my contract, but every day i come in just to be tripled makes me feel scared and unsafe to practice nursing. What should i do? Thank you.

Dear Tempted to Break Contract,

Is it possible to transfer to another unit with better staffing ratios in the facility to honor your contract? 

I am against breaking new grad contracts because of the amount of resources the hospital invests in a new grad to get them up to speed, and because honoring a contract is the right thing to do.

There is one exception, and it's unsafe staffing.

This is a tough decision and has ramifications. I can only tell you what I'd do. I'd quietly secure a new job, and leave.

Then I'd move to California (kidding), where safe staffing is the law (not kidding). CA is the only state that has

 mandated nurse-patient ratios. 

I would hate for you to ever make a serious mistake because you were working in complete chaos and flying by the seat of your pants. Or for a patient to be harmed because they chose profits over safe nursing practice.

Best wishes in your choice,

Nurse Beth

Author, Your Last Nursing Class-how to land your first nursing job...and your next!

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