Empowering Nurses at the Bedside and in Business

Nurses In Dire Need

You’re a charge nurse on a Saturday night in a short-staffed (5 nurses) Washington state emergency room with 45 patients in the waiting room!  What would you do?

One brave nurse finally had enough and decided to call 9-1-1 to ask for help from the fire and rescue team.  Two firefighters went to the hospital and for almost 2 hours cleaned rooms, beds and took patient vital signs.  Those “extra sets of hands” helped relieve the pressure for the beleaguered nurses.

I do not know whether administration was upset about this incident but, as nurses, we tend to feel like we must do everything ourselves and we cannot ask for assistance, much less venture outside the facility to seek help.

One notable benefit from this situation was the hospital developed a new relationship with the community fire department that provided its help and support at a most crucial time.  

Previously, the local fire department had been transporting patients to this hospital and for months had been growing upset about the repeated delays in getting patients accepted for treatment.

However, this was only a temporary “Band-Aid” solution as it did not solve the hospital’s overall staffing problem.  

Things in nursing are getting tougher and tougher.  The healthcare system cannot keep going like this.

I am curious to see what changes are made to improve our system so no nurse ever needs to feel pressured like this.


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