Nurses got a ton of publicity in September 2015 because of the silly cast of a talk show. Then 700k people clustered here to hang out and be nurses together. And now it is time to do something with that momentum. And then there were arguments. And practice disagreements, and general ridiculousness. The holidays are over, ladies and gentlemen. Argue on your own time.
Time to get to work.
You already know that we can get things done if we do them together. We adopted thirty christmas families, and kept a nursing student from being evicted. We helped hashtag a little girl all the way to meeting Taylor Swift. We have work to do for OURSELVES. We must advocate for Nurses to keep our patients safe. No one is going to do this but us. It benefits no one but our patients for us to hold hospital organizations accountable for our staffing levels. Naturally, the general public has absolutely no idea about that. When you don’t answer the call light immediately they figure you are filing your nails. I have worked places where telling the patients you are understaffed is a firing offense. I know a nurse who was fired for saying her department was understaffed on social media. What does that tell you?
Perhaps your employer is not interested in safe staffing? Maybe they are only interested in their bottom line, their reputation with the community, and whether JCAHO notices that they are operating at a dangerous level. As long as you manage to barely get your patients taken care of and hit all of the core measures, they are safe. They do not give a single damn if you go to the bathroom, eat, or take a moment to sit. They may demand that you clock out to finish charting, or threaten to write you up if you are ‘unable to manage your time effectively’ and continue charting on the clock.
And also, when you are understaffed and one of your patients dies, I hope you have personal liability insurance because they would much rather blame you, and not take the responsibility for unsafely staffing their facility. I am sure the CEO won’t be able to hear the court case while he is in his vault counting his 3 million dollar salary.
Do I sound bitter?
Sorry about that.
We have two jobs this year, in my estimation.
- Educating the public about what nurses actually do. We can do career days, SNA meetings, University events, and the million opportunities to educate that you will think of.
- We have to get started on the individual states to assess and change their policies toward safe staffing. LONG TERM CARE is a huge issue. If we cannot get it done at the state level, we are going to have to approach the federal government. Perhaps Medicare would like to reduce reimbursement based on safe staffing rather than patient satisfaction? I would bet the outcomes would be better.
Make this the year we changed healthcare. The year we made our patients safe, and the year we educated the public about nursing.
Will you commit to advancing your profession this year?
Also…..this is a link to some Safe Staffing Swag I made.
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