Now with Double the Trouble!

A Question of Fairness

I was perusing a blog the other night of a MD who is married to a RN. He brought up an interesting point that I had never thought of, but makes total sense. Many hospitals try to cut costs by using the least number of nurses possible to take care of patients. My particular hospital is notorious for “bare bones” staffing. They decide how many nurses are needed based on some arbitrary “grid”. In some institutions they take into acuity of the patient (as it should be, I think). Not in my hospital though. So, if you have too many nurses and not enough patients you either A) get called off or B) get floated to take care of patients in a different unit. How back asswards is this? In what other profession would it be tolerated to be called off if you are not needed? This means at the very least you may be asked to take call for $5 an hour, or losing a day’s pay. In my current place of employment, the latest has been that if you refuse to take call and have to sit by your phone all day, they will send you to a different unit. Another bad idea. If our surgeons have a slow clinic day do we ask them to become a family physician for the day? If a 4th grade teacher’s students are sick, would we ask them to go teach kindergarten for the day? I think not. And yet nurses take it. Why do we take it? I admit, there are times when I love getting a call at 5 (am or pm, doesn’t matter), telling me to stay home. But really, it shouldn’t happen. Anyone have any thoughts?

Comments on: "A Question of Fairness" (14)

  1. No, it’s not fair. I think it’s BS. By the same token, a lot of people use daycare. Some parents think that they shouldn’t have to pay for daycare if they decide to skip a day. How is that fair to the daycare provider? Say 5 kid’s parents decide to skip out on a Wednesday… Where does that leave the provider’s income for that week? They have families to support too and they count on steady income just like most other jobs. It pisses me off.

  2. The medical profession is just weird. Weird.

  3. I lived this for a long time when I worked on the wards. I was always irritated by this. It also seemed that we could get mandated to come in on random days and mandated to stay home on holidays (when the pay was double time and a half). I always had a stomach ache when I was in charge and would have to make those phone calls. 😦 I wonder if it will ever change?

    🙂 april (found you on ICLW)

  4. I was an RN for 15 yrs and I hated being moved from paed ward to an adults ward or worse to ICU. It is unthinkable they could call you off duty …as much as I being shafted.

    Congratulations on your pregnancy.

    Here from IComLeavWe… (adoption,pregnancy loss, IVF twins)
    My Little Drummer Boys

  5. It definitely doesn’t seem right. Especially the part about being sent home. You should get paid what you’re supposed to get paid. Does it have anything to do with Unionization? Of course I’m totally speaking out of my assish – I have no idea what unions are all about. Just know that many/most nurses are part of them (unless they’re management)? Again. Sorry if I’m an ignoramus. But, on the flip side, I found out I was preg about 5 days before you. ICLW

  6. I have never understood the medical profession. Here for ICLW.

  7. I always volunteered to be the one to go home, even without pay, but I really did not like being a nurse. But I honestly had never thought about it from how other professions work. I do think staffing problems are almost universal. The best hospitals do take acuity in to account. One place I worked though assigned night shift 6 rooms. Whoever was in those six rooms were yours. If you had two patients go home, you only had 4. If you had the group by the nurse’s station, you were screwed because all the confused patients were there. It was terrible.

  8. AMEN SISTER! When you fix it, let me know (-:

  9. Thanks for stopping by my blog and leaving such nice comments.

    I have never understood some of the things they do in the medical profession. I have never worked in it my self but I have friends that are nurses and it seems that while hospitals say they “care” about patients it does not really show because of how they treat the staff.

  10. Visiting for ICLW…
    That system sounds screwed, and not in the least bit about the patients!

  11. My mother’s a home health care nurse, so she never sees this anymore, but when she did NICU, I never really understood how they expected her to treat full grown men preparing for heart surgery.

  12. Amen sister…you are preaching to the choir here. I worked in Emergency medicine and have a ton of friends who are nurses and that policy is the most ridiculous thing I have ever heard of.


  13. bellaandherfella said:

    I agree, that is ridiculous!


  14. I’d have to agree that that is pretty strange and frustrating.


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