Friday, 19 October 2007

Fighting Back and Losing: But NOT GIVING UP


1. Staff nurses at my hospital are so distraught over the poor ratios, the rotten nursing care, and the burn out of staff that they are staying over at the end of their shifts unpaid to fill incident reports re: near misses and errors. They mention the poor staffing levels and their direct effect on patient in most of these reports. They have been doing this for years but it has accelerated in the last several months.

Response from Management: Completely ignored.

2. Staff Nurses have requested meetings with the powers that be to talk to them and explain what is going on and how dangerous it all is to the patients and nurses themselves. Have requested that some of these guys spend a shift shadowing a nurse to get a feel for how crazy it all is down there on the floors. Have requested that they look into research regarding Nurse patient ratios and how shitty ratios run hospitals into the ground and really fucks patients and their nurses up.

Response from Management: Completely Ignored.

3. Nurse Managers throughout the hospital get together and send a letter to the powers that be trying to reason with them and explain what is happening to nurses and patients as a result of their refusal to hire and staff the wards. These are the nurse managers who help out on the floor.

Response from Management: Completely Ignored.


4. Apparently Consultants have come together (ages ago) and written to the bosses because the staffing on the wards is even scaring the shit out of them.

Response from managers: Nothing.


Goodness me even a "we understand your position and are trying to think of ways to improve the situation" would be greatly appreciated. Throw us a bone for christs sake.

5. Five Staff nurses (3 on my ward) have left to take lower paid jobs outside of health care. This has been over the last few months alone. I have lost count of the ones before that. Three have obtained teaching assistant jobs. Two have headed for the supermarkets. These nurses hold degrees in nursing and invested a lot of time an energy into their education and their work. They say they'll come back when things improve. I would do the same thing. I would happily take a pay cut to get out but I will be applying for a nursing job in another country in the next year or two and want recent experience on my CV. I may get out anyway to protect my nursing license if things don't improve.

Response from Management: Nothing.

But they are talking about compulsory redundancies which will cause them to get grief from unions so they are more than happy to see registered nurses quit. It's more of a "don't let the door hit your arse on the way out mentality" and "thanks for making our job that much easier by leaving voluntarily".

Nice.

Have written to the press, asking them to look into what is going on with the recruitment freeze, the appalling ratios, and the effect this has on nursing care. Have been ignored so far. It is more fun to write pieces that describe nurses as uncaring if she can't feed 20 people at the same time by herself while managing acutely ill patients by herself. Oh yeah give me 2 HCA's so they can each feed ten patients by themselves while answering call bells that are constantly ringing. Problem solved. Not. What we need is cloning technology or a course in how to astroproject.

Any suggestions about how to fight back? Have already been down the NMC and Union route many times.

Edited to Add: Just found this article about some American Nurses who have been fired for whistleblowing about unsafe ratios. They are fighting back and trying to get the message out. Maybe we should go door to door.

http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/news/localnews/stories/DN-nurses_16met.ART0.North.Edition1.439b37a.html

7 comments:

DBA Dude said...

Hope that you are all keeping copies of those forms for when the shit really does hit the fan!

DBA Dude said...

Forgot to say on Fighting Back, contact Channel 4 News:

I've got a news story, how do I get in touch?
Email us at news@channel4.com with details. Or call the newsdesk on 0207 430 4601.

Nurse Anne said...

Photocopied and stored.

Channel 4 might be an idea. We'll look into that.

Nursing Student said...

Have you considred the RCN advice line? I know that that may seem at first a bit of a pointless thing to do, but at least it can try to add some meat to the bones of your argument. I have dealt with such a system before and believe you me, all you ever get is the big fob off.

I would ask all nures on your ward to keep a diary of the dates and times, and also record the interval of time passing between correspondance. I hate to say, but the first point (staying behind) is a card I once played while making a complaint of my old job, this was met with the simple statement of "Any work which is done by a member of staff in their own time which results from their own compulsion is the act of, and responsability of the individual. If there were significant concern's, this should have been communicated during office hours". Tossers, the lot of them.

I would also play the student's facing needless unemployement card (Such as myself). Keep up the fight though, and keep on trying!

the A&E Charge Nurse said...

Anne, I'd be very careful if I were you.

Take another look at Dr Pals recent item [Dr Rants site], and the BMJ link providing sage advice on the dangers of "whitleblowing" [and measures to best protect yourself if you have the courage to go down this road].

I'm sure you've already considered the MP/Press route but both options are fraught with danger.

What would be the easiest for the Trusts managers to deal with it;
[1] Correction of widespread institutional failings presumably in a climate of financial cut backs, or.

[2] Marginalising/discrediting a nurse agitator ?

I would have suggested getting one or two conultants on board as well but juging by recent posts it seems the MDT is just as dysfunctional as other aspects of the hospital ?

The words lamb and sacrificial come to mind - I would hate to think of patients being deprived of somebody with your skills, knowledge and caring attitude ;o)

Nurse Anne said...

I understand what you are saying Charge Nurse and your are right I would go to the slaughter. I bet you that other staff would deny what I was saying to fall in favour with the managers. People are afraid and want to keep their jobs above all else. Even having this blog scares me.

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