Empowering Nurses at the Bedside and in Business

No Free Lunch For Nurse

I previously have written that in Texas nurses filed a complaint for not being paid for breaks that they were unable to take and how some hospitals use break or lunch nurses to fill in so that the others can take a break.  Click HERE

The St. Charles Health System in Oregon utilizes the “buddy system.”  They require nurses to take a break while their buddy watches their patients.  However, when a buddy watches the patients of another, that buddy is responsible now for twice as many patients.

Nurses at St. Charles filed a claim through the Oregon Nurses Association with the Oregon Health System claiming that the hospital was in violation of their own policies as well as of Oregon laws for staffing.  Patients deserve the best care which cannot be provided when a nurse has double the number of patients.

One nurse stated: “The nurse on break should be free from worry and concern, with the knowledge that the nurse’s colleague is providing the necessary attention to the assigned patients.  If that nurse has his or her own patients, doubling the potential work load, even for 15 minutes, the time away from work is not really a break.”

For more about the St. Charles matter, click HERE.

It is time for something to be done about inadequate staffing so that nurses can provide good patient care.  And nurses deserve to take their needed rest without worrying about whether adequate care is being given to their patients.  I see it over and over again in medical malpractice cases.  You can just tell in which cases the staffing was inadequate.

For example, a nurse was charting how she was closely watching her ICU patient because she was trying to get out of bed.  When the patient fell asleep, the nurse thought it would be safe to take her lunch placing the patient in the hands of a colleague.  But then her patient woke up, fell and wound up with a subdural hematoma.

What steps are you taking to improve staffing?  Are you a member of the American Nurses Association?  Show me your stethoscope on Facebook?

Do you participate in any of the other safe staffing groups online?  Have you been involved in any of the safe staffing rallies before your Statehouse?

Let’s stop complaining and start taking action!  Let’s let our voices be heard and write to our legislatures so that they will know what nurses really want!  It’s not the key chains, pizza parties or other things that hospitals try to do for us.  We just want to take care of our patients and provide the best we can as safely as possible and feel acknowledge for the great job we do.

I would love to hear your comments below.

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