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Texas Hospital making nurses resign or take care of COVID patients

Hi, the hospital I work for in Texas has instituted a new policy of forcing all non-clinical nurses to go back to bedside nursing and take care of COVID patients. Nurses are told that they don't have a choice but resignation. 

I haven't done bedside nursing in over 7 years (been doing quality and informatics) and feel that I don't have it in me (skillwise and desire) to go back to bedside nursing. What should I do?

- Can hospitals really force people to resign or is this just a tactic so that they don't have to pay unemployment?

- Do nurses qualify for unemployment?

- Can safe harbor be invoked here?

Nurse SMS specializes in Critical Care; Cardiac; Professional Development.

Yes, they can do this.

No, you won't qualify for unemployment if they are offering you a job and you refuse it.

Safe Harbor can and should be invoked if they do not give you options for training and precepting to get up to speed.

The staffing situation in the hot spots in Texas is dire. I am not using that word lightly. They don't have a choice. They need nurses at the bedside more than in informatics right now and are asking nurses to step up everywhere. I understand your reluctance. But yes, they definitely are within the law to do this. After all, bottom line is that we are all nurses and capable of providing hands on care.

A Hit With The Ladies specializes in Psych.

I agree with Nurse SMS on this one. But be proud of your work as a nursing informatics/QA nurse.  Play hardball and quit. No point in being a martyr for a specialty or job you don't want to do. You would only end up resentful and miserable (best case scenario) or liable to making harmful mistakes (worst case scenario), neither of which is optimal for COVID patients.

herring_RN specializes in Critical care, tele, Medical-Surgical.

3 hours ago, Rex Sanchez said:

Hi, the hospital I work for in Texas has instituted a new policy of forcing all non clinical nurses to go back to bedside nursing and take care of COVID patients. Nurses are told that they don't have a choice but resignation. 

I haven't done bedside nursing in over 7 years (been doing quality and informatics) and feel that I don't have it in me (skillwise and desire) to go back to bedside nursing. What should I do?

 

- Can hospitals really force people to resign or is this just a tactic so that they don't have to pay unemployment?

- Do nurses qualify for unemployment?

- Can safe harbor be invoked here?

Contact the Texas Board of nursing for answers. 333 Guadalupe, Suite 3-460 Austin, TX 78701-3944 | P: (512) 305-7400; | F: (512) 305-7401

https://www.BON.texas.gov/results.asp?q=+safe+harbor#gsc.tab=0&gsc.q= safe harbor&gsc.page=1

FolksBtrippin specializes in Psychiatry, Pediatrics, Public Health.

Texas failed to implement a strategy to control the outbreak. No masks, no shutdown. Now they are in crisis and ready to throw you into a situation you can't handle. 

Glad I live in NJ where the governor responded appropriately. There's no way I'm leaving.

 

A Hit With The Ladies specializes in Psych.

4 hours ago, FolksBtrippin said:

Glad I live in NJ where the governor responded appropriately. There's no way I'm leaving.

No one asked you to come to Texas. Also, New Jersey has more than twice as many Coronavirus cases per 1000 people compared to Texas. Some great accomplishment.

vone28 specializes in Psychiatry.

4 hours ago, FolksBtrippin said:

Texas failed to implement a strategy to control the outbreak. No masks, no shutdown. Now they are in crisis and ready to throw you into a situation you can't handle. 

Glad I live in NJ where the governor responded appropriately. There's no way I'm leaving.

 

I agree, I live in Texas. The Governor has been pathetic to say the least. Cases are climbing to historic highs. No leadership. Incredibly frustrating. 

FolksBtrippin specializes in Psychiatry, Pediatrics, Public Health.

2 hours ago, A Hit With The Ladies said:

No one asked you to come to Texas. Also, New Jersey has more than twice as many Coronavirus cases per 1000 people compared to Texas. Some great accomplishment.

You don't know what I've been asked to do. But as usual, you like to comment about what you know nothing about. 

And NJ brought our new cases way down with shutdowns and social distancing measures. We have way less new cases than Texas. And we've been dealing with this a lot longer. 

 

Hospitals all over the country are implementing these kind of policy decisions.  Like most things in nursing, if ALL nurses would band together, nurses would have more "say-so" about these decisions.  This is especially true at times like these where nurses have the power, while also having to make tough decisions holding patient care hostage.  Administration knows that is a tough decision for nurses using that against the us, hence the current policy changes.   

As much as you may want to retain your current position, if you are unwilling to follow your hospital's new policy, it may be time to leave.  For whatever the reason, following your feelings of the heart while rationalizing your safety and comfort may bring greater piece of mind. 

9kidsmomRN specializes in Cardiac.

Where I work in Wisconsin, we stopped all elective surgeries and procedures and started early “upskilling “ people who work med/surg areas and cath lab/OR staff to reenter the bedside and critical care world. Even clinic staff from closed clinics voluntarily trained to come (or come back) to the hospital. We were waiting for covid to come in like a flood. It did not—thank God. Now that we have ramped back up to business as usual and we are trying to catch up with our back log of elective surgeries and procedures our ICU’s are full all the time with many of us working 60 hours a week. Anyway that said, if your employer offers (requires) bedside work the training must also be offered. There also was a ton of information out through the ANA and ANCC about upskilling and training to get nurses prepared for bedside and critical care nursing. Not judging but most of us became nurses to help those in need. When in the last century have people been more in need? You have to do what you think is best....I can tell you though that your fellow nurses will be supportive and welcoming and much appreciate the help you can offer!!

J.Adderton has 27 years experience as a BSN, MSN.

Where I work, all nurses working in the hospital (regardless of position) is being asked to step up and help.  They are considering competency ect. but like other hospitals, staffing is at critical levels.  They are careful about floating staff from high risk areas in and out of COVID units.

A Hit With The Ladies specializes in Psych.

22 hours ago, FolksBtrippin said:

And NJ brought our new cases way down with shutdowns and social distancing measures. We have way less new cases than Texas. And we've been dealing with this a lot longer. 

Yet, again, you have way more cases relative to your population than we do.

On 7/15/2020 at 5:05 AM, FolksBtrippin said:

Texas failed to implement a strategy to control the outbreak. No masks, no shutdown. Now they are in crisis and ready to throw you into a situation you can't handle. 

Glad I live in NJ where the governor responded appropriately. There's no way I'm leaving.

 

We did shutdown in Texas.  We are requiring masks.  Houston has required them since April basically.  I worked up in NYC in April/may.  There were plenty of people there not wearing masks and social distancing.  

Tenebrae specializes in Mental Health, Gerontology, Palliative.

Any of our nurses who were physically compromised or had medical conditions that put them at higher risk were shuttled sideways into non direct patient contact roles. 

Id say its not OK and should not be tolerated, you Yanks have some wierd employment laws eg the employer has all the rights, and the employee has to suck it up if they want the job

Nurse SMS specializes in Critical Care; Cardiac; Professional Development.

6 hours ago, Tenebrae said:

Any of our nurses who were physically compromised or had medical conditions that put them at higher risk were shuttled sideways into non direct patient contact roles. 

Id say its not OK and should not be tolerated, you Yanks have some wierd employment laws eg the employer has all the rights, and the employee has to suck it up if they want the job

Where I work those at high risk aren’t placed in direct patient care either.  But those who aren’t at high risk, don’t have high risk family living with them but just don’t want to? 🤷‍♀️ Not sure that’s the same thing. To me, it’s what we nurses are here for. If not us, then who? I don’t see anything wrong with requiring a nurse to be a nurse.

On 7/13/2020 at 8:55 AM, Rex Sanchez said:

Hi, the hospital I work for in Texas has instituted a new policy of forcing all non-clinical nurses to go back to bedside nursing and take care of COVID patients. 

Just curious: Does this new policy include all of your Nursing Leadership including your Chief Nursing Officer/Executive(s)?

On 7/13/2020 at 8:59 AM, Nurse SMS said:

Yes, they can do this.

No, you won't qualify for unemployment if they are offering you a job and you refuse it.

Safe Harbor can and should be invoked if they do not give you options for training and precepting to get up to speed.

The staffing situation in the hot spots in Texas is dire. I am not using that word lightly. They don't have a choice. They need nurses at the bedside more than in informatics right now and are asking nurses to step up everywhere. I understand your reluctance. But yes, they definitely are within the law to do this. After all, bottom line is that we are all nurses and capable of providing hands on care.

No, actually. We aren't all capable of being thrown into bedside nursing especially after having been gone a while. Are you even for real here? 

londonflo specializes in oncology.

On 7/15/2020 at 8:56 PM, 9kidsmomRN said:

There also was a ton of information out through the ANA and ANCC about upskilling

I am glad to hear of it but did I miss where the ANA advocated for nurses to get PPE equipment early in the pandemic, still continuing until now? Education is one of the areas we feel that are important but getting appropriate PPE is a major concern and except for the NPs visit to HM Trump (where the NP backtracked) where are the ads and editorials from ANA demanding nurses be furnished with our safety necessities?

Tenebrae specializes in Mental Health, Gerontology, Palliative.

12 hours ago, Nurse SMS said:

Where I work those at high risk aren’t placed in direct patient care either.  But those who aren’t at high risk, don’t have high risk family living with them but just don’t want to? 🤷‍♀️ Not sure that’s the same thing. To me, it’s what we nurses are here for. If not us, then who? I don’t see anything wrong with requiring a nurse to be a nurse.

Our management have made it very clear that if we don't want to work with coivid positive patients we don't have to. The other side of that is that if someone declines to work with covid +ve patients they may be sent out to other wards

amoLucia specializes in LTC.

To Orion and several others here -

Re Safe Harbor - unless things have changed, Calif (?) was the only state to have Safe Harbor legislation. And just to remind all, Safe Harbor does NOT give the employee a pass to avoid an unwanted assignment.  No!

It is the employee's opp'ty to alert Admin that the employee is working UNDER PROTEST. The employee CANNOT REFUSE an assignment - to do so is basically refusing to work. That refusal is a fire-able action considered as JOB ABANDONMENT. So the employee will be working the assignment UNDER PROTEST.

SAFE HARBOR is a very serious employee activity. It is NOT an afterthought; it is NOT a threat. Safe Harbor MUST be declared BEFORE the employee accepts the assigned assignment and Admin must be notified immed. And there should be some type of paperwork documentation that explains the employee's stance that the assignment poses a real threat to pt SAFETY. 

What happens after is that there must be a peer/group mandatory conference (within a designated time frame) that reviews the situation under complaint. A decision is then determined.

I wish I could remember more details. There was a great article piece presented by the Commuter, a very knowledgeable past respondent here. I tried a quick search here and there are some other good pieces that also explain SH better.

To dianah - please, if you could locate & post that Commuter address piece. I think it would provide much needed info for many. TY in advance, if you can help. I know she posted it before 8/2017.

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