It was from the husband of a registered nurse who has been qualified and working on the frontlines as a direct care Nurse for 30 years.
Recently she was left as the only experienced/qualified nurse for a very large number of ill patients on her ward. Like my hospital, her hospital as probably ignored the Nurses' complaints about short staffing of real nurses on the wards.
Her least ill patient was a man having minor surgery. He was fine. Never complained to her or about her. He recovered well and went home. All of you who work as acute care nurses and find yourselves as the only RN on a large ward know that you cannot give time to well patients without killing your sickest ones.
After this patient was discharged his wife wrote a nasty note to the hospital complaining about the fact that she did not feel that her husband received enough one to one care.
The Nurse who was on duty that day (my correspondant's wife) was suspended because of the complaint. She has had over 30 years as a Nurse without a mark against her. Sounds to me like she is at the top of her pay band as a bedside Nurse and they want her gone to replace her with a totally green and inexperienced newly qualified or a kid. They are on lower salaries. You see a lot of this in Nursing. I had a good friend (and mentor) who was qualified for 40 years. She was top of her pay band as a bedside Nurse. They got rid of her over something completely made up and replaced her with a newly qualified Nurse on a much lower pay band. Hospitals have been playing these games with bedside RN's since the late 80's when they decided that professional Nursing at the bedside wasn't worth spending money on anymore. Once they decided that it has been nothing but cut cut cut. Not only do they get rid of their most experienced bedside RN's but they don't replace those who quit or retire with staff of equal value, training or experience. Many will blame well educated Nurses for the shitstorm that is hospital nursing care these days. But the truth is that well educated qualified Nurses KNOW that they need to be at the bedside with their hands getting dirty in all aspects of patient care. Hospital management does not
I have seen this kind of thing in my hospital. Management won't accept liability and they won't deal head on with problems at ward level (lack of qualified staff). And a Nurse or a Doctor becomes a sacrificial lamb. I have no doubt that this Nurse will be reported by her hospital to the board of Nursing that she is licensed with for patient neglect. In which case she is guilty until proven innocent and gagged from talking about how her ward was staffed and what was going on with her multiple other patients. I have seen it happen. I hope this Nurse has a lot of money put aside for legal fees.
Even though I detest Unions and think that they are worthless for health care professionals I do hope that this lady is unionised. But then again, what will the union do about it? Hospital chiefs laugh at the Nursing Unions. We have absolutely no leverage and cannot strike. I don't know how to advise the husband of this Nurse. I hope that they can afford a good lawyer.
This post makes me think of a fantastic book by a journalist named Suzanne Gordon. She is not a nurse but she studies Nurses and has spent years shadowing qualified Nurses at work on hell wards. She understands what is going on. Her book is called Nursing Against the Odds but I think a better title would be "Oh My God what the FUCK has happened to Nursing care on the Wards" or perhaps "Don't Blame the Nursing Profession, asshole".
Great book if you get a chance to read it.