Acceptable Working Conditions

We would like to offer our vision for nursing’s role in America as our local hospitals move forward in our commitment to create a healthier community. We believe this vision will be shared by our leadership, in recognition of the value that nurses add to our community and the sacrifices they have endured. . Our hope is that nursing’s value to our country will be seen as a collaborative investment in the future, rather than as an adversarial zero-sum profession.

Over the last two years, nurses have seen ourselves portrayed in worldwide media as heroes for our service to our community. This image of heroism, while flattering, we must kindly reject. We are not heroes. We are compassionate, skilled professionals who desire what everyone else does- personal health, safe and happy families, and a meaningful career, including a job with dignified working conditions and adequate compensation. 

CT scan in the special treatment radiology department

When these needs are met, we can be the best versions of ourselves, engaged in our work and looking forward to the future, anticipating the needs of our employer and our community, and doing what we do best, which is solving whatever problem we need to with grace and compassion.

We appreciate our medicare and media’s emphasis on value-based care as the defining factor moving forward in the health care landscape. High quality nursing care has long been proven to be a key factor in many outcomes, which are important to the patients and to hospitals. 

These include reduced mortality and morbidity, reduction of infections, errors, and complications, and lowering length of stay. For this reason we are hopeful that the hospitals and  leaders alike will make the appropriate investments in nursing care, in the same manner that they have made investments in physical plant improvements and more efficient care delivery models, such as expanding primary care access.

Nurses are used to overcoming barriers to high quality care. Despite the many roadblocks thrown in our way every day, we manage to figure out solutions almost every time. This is evidenced by the quality awards our healthcare systems have continued to receive throughout the pandemic.

It is an unfortunate fact that we have been bearing this burden at cost to ourselves, and we nurses are burning out. We are frustrated by the employer’s failure to maintain adequate nursing staff, and we believe that the problem needs to be addressed in a different manner than in years prior. 

Dr. Brent James teaches us in our quality improvement course that every system is perfectly designed to achieve the results it gets. Therefore, we recognize that the current system is flawed. It is not achieving the results the company needs to recruit and retain the highest quality nurses that will be required to meet the company’s mission moving forward.

We reject the frame of reference that accepts the fact of “The Nursing Shortage” The reality is that there is a shortage of decent workplace conditions and compensation. We have seen temporary nurses flock to our state when offered appropriate compensation by the employer. We believe that the proper financial proposals to be paid what you’re worth, will help to reverse the cycle of burnout and attrition.  After all, retaining our most skilled and experienced nurses, and by attracting the highest quality candidates to our healthcare system, is the best for patient care and our community. 

We are fiercely proud of our nurses who give the best of themselves to their employer and community every day. We believe that proper financial proposals to recognize the true value our nurses add to their organization and we hope you will share our vision and make the necessary investment to create a Healthier country. 

Navigating the walls of white and grey

Stop sign at a MRI room in a Hospital The double doors automatically folded open, beckoning me to enter. I fumbled for my white coat that I had absentmindedly stuffed into my backpack, as I needed the “prop” of my coat to help me navigate through the day. There I was, approaching Pt number 1. I thought to myself, please don’t ask me if I can take away your meal tray as you’re done and not hungry and hate hospital food anyway. 

I spoke with confidence, hello, how are you today Mr. Gray? I knew before he answered that the pain of the abdominal mass and swollen legs would not be a positive response. My gosh, I thought to myself, liver cancer lives and ravages him. I had seen the overnight events indicating his need for increasing doses of morphine.  So, there I was, about to offer a service I    knew nothing about … hospice.

Nurse's struggle to see if they can afford living in hawaii

As I look back upon my journey in medicine, I can now truly say that the excitement the walls of white provided me, those white-washed hospital walls, continue to weave a complexity that makes me realize I will always navigate in the gray through these walls. 

Decades have passed since my first introduction to caring for the dying patient, humbling me to the truth that medicine may attract sharp minds, but will be humbled by the even keener challenge of various patient personalities.  I have come to realize the interplay of the nursing staff, the nursing aides, and family members .. all critical and dynamic pieces with a common goal to treat each patient the best we can. 

You see, there is no cookie cutter manual for the care of the hospitalized pt. Comfort lies in knowing that we can listen to the spoken and yet recognize the unspoken. Knowing what standard treatments prevail as first-line and optimal is just 1 facet of what’s touted as quality excellent care. The other part resides in our willingness and ability to recognize the needs of all patients, from all walks of life, and remain comfortable in practicing in the gray. 

Special Treatment in Nursing

Another issue in hospitals across the country, “VIP” designations is addressing our workplace conditions. This practice places nurses in an impossible position of moral distress, and the rationales supporting the practice are ethically bankrupt.

VIP notifications ask us to treat patients differently, either explicitly or implicitly, based on factors including personal connections to employees, socioeconomic status, and whether or not they have donated money to the hospital.

These VIP requests ask nurses to violate our code of ethics, which explicitly forbids giving preferential treatment based on non-clinical factors.

Our patients are perceptive and question us when they see special treatment in practice. The unstated message to staff, and our community is that the hospitals use a 2 tier system to determine care. This is unacceptable, and we must do better.

Instead of fast tracking care for the wealthy and socially connected, let’s improve our service so that no one is forced to wait for necessary care. In the meantime, we are asking that all patients needing care are treated the same. We used to be able to tell our community that we will treat their loved ones as we would treat our own. As it stands today, we cannot back up this promise.

It is time to abolish the practice of “VIP” special.

How do you feel about corporate management bringing in VIP clients into the hospital?  Does your hospital deal with this issue too?…

Nursing shortage

Today we have a nursing shortage, but why?   This brings us to the question, did our needs increase?  Do we have fewer people going into the field?  Or is more people leaving this industry?  The answer is nurses are leaving.  In fact, as we speak 2/3 of all medical employees, from doctors to nurses are looking to leave the medical field.

So this brings us to retention.  What are we doing to retain the people that take care of us?  Check back at our new post on whats happening on the frontline.…