Wednesday, November 13, 2013

are nurses being worked to death?

Here's an interesting development.  A man has filed a lawsuit against the hospital that his wife worked at, claiming that she "was worked to death".   He stated in an interview (CNN): the hospital was"regularly understaffed, causing some nurses, including Jasper, to work through breaks and pick up additional shifts"   "Additionally, she was routinely called into work while off duty because she was one of the few nurse qualifiied to work the unit's dialysis machines, according to the lawsuit." She fell asleep, veered off the road and hit a tree and was killed.

Will he win the lawsuit?  Probably not.  No doubt they will say she could have chose not to work extra, could have got another job. At least the lawsuit has put a spotlight on working conditions for nurses.

Hospitals staff hospitals at the bare minimum these days.  At my hospital they staff only for the patients that are there at the time.  They do not staff for admits.  So lets say its Monday and there are surgeries and ER admits...they count on discharges to happen for the floors to take those patients.  Often times that means ER and PACU are sitting on patients. ER waiting room fills up due to back up.   Direct admits are told to stay home until a bed is available.

Hospitals count on nurses to work extra to fill holes in the schedule.  And they do.  Lots of nurses work extra shifts.  Imagine if all the nurses in the country decided to not work extra shifts for a week.  Hospitals couldn't function.

Finally, how many times have you gone without a break or delayed it a few hours?   You willl do that hundreds of times over the course of your career just as a norm.

So here is a picture of the nursing staff of this nation: Exhausted from 12 hour shifts and nights, working extra hours beyond their work agreement, working nights, often not getting a break. Stressed out. These are the people who are caring for todays complex patients.

I encourage you to share this blog post around the internet.


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