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?

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