Submitted by Richard Stilp, RN, MA, FPEM
Linda, I read your article with tears in my eyes. My wife has worked for a hospital in Orlando for 27 years. Her love of the hospital and patients is mixed with the extreme dislike for the unnecessary changes and degrading of the nursing staff. My wife has worked nights for several decades and last night was the worst. Some of the most recent events such as taking away shift differential, instituting a push back policy (where the management can call and advise a nurse that she will start her shift 4 hours later without any “call pay”), adding many more patients to their responsibility, and constantly changing patient care policies are all detrimental to both the employees and the patients.
Changes are made constantly without any employee input and the nurses council is largely ignored. A nurse cannot clock in early or late without disciplinary action regardless of the situation and all are living with the constant fear of being laid off. And, just to put the icing on the cake, last quarter the hospital posted a $50 million dollar profit (above their predicted budget). When a union attempted to get their feet in the door the hospital spent hundreds of thousands of dollars hiring a “union buster” company to come in and fight against it. They were allowed to spread untrue propaganda to the employees and create fear of the union. Although they were charged and found guilty of numerous unfair labor practices, I’ve found that there is NO consequences for doing so. The CEO went on TV and said that there used to be a nursing shortage but not anymore, we can hire new nurses all day.
I am not a big union supporter as I believe that a company, who honors its employees, will find ways to have employee input and buy in before making changes. In this case a union would force the hospital to get input from employees before changes were implemented. Believe me, I truly believe that employee input would make the company more efficient and reduce the anxiety felt by the entire hospital staff.
I have to ask, what has happened to the honorable profession of being a nurse and caring for the sick and injured? This hospital system used to preach that it provided a “healing environment”. It valued patient satisfaction and was committed to its community. Over the last several years all, and I mean ALL of this has been pushed to the side in order to make more money! There is no loyalty to its employees. They are a disposable asset and treated as having no value.
Although, I do realize that all things change in time, I wish that hospitals would recognize that employees are their most valuable asset. Without employees feeling like they are valuable, patient care will be mediocre at best. I fear that quality patient care will go by the wayside just as we’ve seen much of the customer service in other industries going away as well.
Just sayin’. Thanks for listening, Rick
Rick Stilp, RN, MA, FPEM
Region 5 HAZMAT Coordinator
District 6, LEPC Co-Chair
East Central Florida Regional Planning Council
309 Cranes Roost Blvd. Suite 2000
Altamonte Springs, FL 32701
407 342-5306 (cell)