Mandatory nurse overtime affects pati...

Mandatory nurse overtime affects patient safety

There are 40 comments on the The Morning Call story from Apr 15, 2008, titled Mandatory nurse overtime affects patient safety. In it, The Morning Call reports that:

Regarding the April 7 Associated Press article about medical errors: Many medical errors are a result of forced overtime by nurses.

Join the discussion below, or Read more at The Morning Call.

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Retired Nurse

Macungie, PA

#1 Apr 15, 2008
Honey,if you believe that legislation will cure the woes of the nursing profession,you're seriously mistaken.
Wait till you get into the REAL world of nursing,where "working short" is the norm rather than the exception.
And it's not b/c there aren't enough nurses or aides.It's b/c the greedy administrators,who sit in their comfortable offices and draw an obscene salary are running hospitals and nursing homes like they're running a factory.
The fat cats getting rich off someone elses misery are all about reducing staff to cut costs and turn a larger profit.
The state mandates certain minimum staffing levels.But those levels don't differentiate an RN from a new CNA.
The state also inspects facilities yearly but the facility knows,well in advance,when the state will be in,giving them ample opportunity to ramp up staffing.
One friend,employed in Danville related that the company she works for has more than one nursing home.
When the state inspects,they bring aides from one place to the place being inspected.As she was showing an inspector around,he pulled an emergency cord in the tub room and five aides came running.She said it was all she could do not to laugh in his face.The place NEVER has that many people working.
A place in Hazleton has staff take shoes from residents who have lots of shoes and put them on the feet of residents who don't have any shoes.
Just wait kiddo.You're in for a real eye opening experience.

“DIRTY BIRDY”

Since: Feb 07

Location hidden

#2 Apr 15, 2008
Retired Nurse I could'nt have said it better myself..
State inspections are a joke..It is amazing how well staffed the facilities are when being inspected..You would think these inpections would be a surprise. Nurses are over worked and under paid.
The Scotsman

Allentown, PA

#3 Apr 15, 2008
Cry me a river, build me a bridge and get over it sweetheart. If you don't want to work too hard then become a teacher with summers off, only 185 days a year working, free or minimal health care costs, etc.
The Scotsman

Allentown, PA

#4 Apr 15, 2008
MICHELLE D wrote:
Nurses are over worked and under paid.
Underpaid by what standards? I work in a hospital and see what the nurses are paid, the bonuses given etc. and by no means are they underpaid for the work they do.
Old RN

Annapolis, MD

#5 Apr 15, 2008
Healthcare is a mere shadow of what it was 30 yrs. ago when I was a new grad. Patient care came first, not the bottom line or how much reimbursement you got from private insurance or medicare. Allentown Hospital had one administrator and one assistant. It had one director of nursing and the floor supervisors answered to her. You knew what the chain of command was and it was very short. Now, there are multiple layers of management and everyone is busy going to meetings and worrying about budget. Healthcare has become very top heavy and this is an area where it should have a broad base, meaning more people at the bottom of the food chain, giving good patient care. I guess you can't go back home!
Old RN

Annapolis, MD

#6 Apr 15, 2008
The Scotsman wrote:
<quoted text>
Underpaid by what standards? I work in a hospital and see what the nurses are paid, the bonuses given etc. and by no means are they underpaid for the work they do.
Do these nurses actually discuss with you their salaries and their bonuses? If they do, they're pretty stupid. It's no one's business what I make. And, yes we are underpaid. The responsibility these days is enormous. I don't work in a hospital right now and I actually think to myself that, where I work now, if I make a small mistake, I'm not going to kill anyone or lose my licence. That is on the mind of every nurse that does hands on care and if it isn't, it should be. So in my mind, no pay compensates for having to think that way.
nurseforHillary

Allentown, PA

#7 Apr 15, 2008
Retired Nurse wrote:
Honey,if you believe that legislation will cure the woes of the nursing profession,you're seriously mistaken.
Wait till you get into the REAL world of nursing,where "working short" is the norm rather than the exception.
And it's not b/c there aren't enough nurses or aides.It's b/c the greedy administrators,who sit in their comfortable offices and draw an obscene salary are running hospitals and nursing homes like they're running a factory.
The fat cats getting rich off someone elses misery are all about reducing staff to cut costs and turn a larger profit.
The state mandates certain minimum staffing levels.But those levels don't differentiate an RN from a new CNA.
The state also inspects facilities yearly but the facility knows,well in advance,when the state will be in,giving them ample opportunity to ramp up staffing.
One friend,employed in Danville related that the company she works for has more than one nursing home.
When the state inspects,they bring aides from one place to the place being inspected.As she was showing an inspector around,he pulled an emergency cord in the tub room and five aides came running.She said it was all she could do not to laugh in his face.The place NEVER has that many people working.
A place in Hazleton has staff take shoes from residents who have lots of shoes and put them on the feet of residents who don't have any shoes.
Just wait kiddo.You're in for a real eye opening experience.
Pennsylvania does not have govt mandated staffing levels for RNs or CNAs or anyone else.
nurseforHillary

Allentown, PA

#8 Apr 15, 2008
The Scotsman wrote:
<quoted text>
Underpaid by what standards? I work in a hospital and see what the nurses are paid, the bonuses given etc. and by no means are they underpaid for the work they do.
Underpaid by the standards our society should place on the people who dedicate their careers to keeping them healthy and alive.
nurseforHillary

Allentown, PA

#9 Apr 15, 2008
Old RN wrote:
Healthcare is a mere shadow of what it was 30 yrs. ago when I was a new grad. Patient care came first, not the bottom line or how much reimbursement you got from private insurance or medicare. Allentown Hospital had one administrator and one assistant. It had one director of nursing and the floor supervisors answered to her. You knew what the chain of command was and it was very short. Now, there are multiple layers of management and everyone is busy going to meetings and worrying about budget. Healthcare has become very top heavy and this is an area where it should have a broad base, meaning more people at the bottom of the food chain, giving good patient care. I guess you can't go back home!
I remember those days too. And while neither of us would have missed the last 30 years in nursing as medicine and health care was revolutionized, I'm sure we both agree that not all of the changes have served us or our patients for the best.

I will also take this opportunity to thank you for all the lives you've touched in your 30 yr nursing career!

“DIRTY BIRDY”

Since: Feb 07

Location hidden

#10 Apr 15, 2008
The Scotsman wrote:
<quoted text>
Underpaid by what standards? I work in a hospital and see what the nurses are paid, the bonuses given etc. and by no means are they underpaid for the work they do.
Do you sign their paychecks??? Hospitals pay crap for what is expected of the nurses..Mandatory 12 hour shifts and all the bull that goes with the job..Try being a nurse for a day and see if you sing the same tune!!!!
Old RN

Annapolis, MD

#11 Apr 15, 2008
nurseforHillary wrote:
<quoted text>
I remember those days too. And while neither of us would have missed the last 30 years in nursing as medicine and health care was revolutionized, I'm sure we both agree that not all of the changes have served us or our patients for the best.
I will also take this opportunity to thank you for all the lives you've touched in your 30 yr nursing career!
Why, thank you so much! And I couldn't agree with you more. Healthcare changes have not been for the best of our patients for sure!
cjc

Mechanicsburg, PA

#12 Apr 15, 2008
I've been a nurse for 40 years, I've seen alot a change not all good not all bad. My patients were the good, even the bad ones. You couldn't pay me to do this job and if I had to be paid to do it I would hope I had the good sense to quit. The doctor and I are a team but these days there are so many "bean counters" looking over my shoulder telling me how much time to spend on each patient, each procedure, "don't forget to charge", look out for the lawyer and they are all riding on my back, getting paid for my reputation. I pray for my patients everyday and thank God for the opportunity to serve.
cjc

Mechanicsburg, PA

#13 Apr 15, 2008
However I would never work for Scotsman, he doesn't deserve me.
cjc

Mechanicsburg, PA

#14 Apr 15, 2008
I've been a nurse for 40 years, I've seen a lot of change, some good, some bad. You couldn't pay me to do what I do, however if pay was my motivation I would hope I had the good sense to quit. The great part of this job is the people and the new technology that help my patients. You notice they are "my patients" I take personal pride and responsibility for their care. The bad part is all the "bean counter" that tell me how much time I should spend on each patient, on each procedure and the lawyers that haunt each day. I pray for my patients each day and God for the opportunity to serve. And like I said I would never work for the Scotsman.
Mom of 4

Chicago, IL

#15 Apr 15, 2008
The whole health care system with the "hours worked" is just insane. How is it that truck drivers have limits on how long they can work without sleep, but nurses and doctors (particularly residents) do not?

I attended a birth once where the care provider had just attended another birth--I have no clue how long she was at that birth. But the mom I was with (I was her doula) was in the hospital for well over 24 hrs before giving birth, and the care provider never went home to sleep. I will not ever be convinced that lack of sleep did not impact on the care provider's decisions. As it was, after numerous attempts to stimulate labor with prostaglandins failed, the mother was put on an IV drip of Pitocin...and dialated from 4 cms to 10 cms in 1 hr 45 minutes--which for those who don't know, is EXTREMELY fast for a first time mother.

I later looked up the package insert on Pitocin, compared it with my notes of the drip rate and Pitocin concentration in the saline...and realized that the mother had been started at a drip that was 4 times higher than the package insert reccommends. Then her dosage was increased at a rate much faster than reccommended. In just one hour her dosage not only exceeded the level that the package insert said "rarely should be exceeded" but it was at a level that was 2.7 times what the insert said was equivalent to "natural" labor.

She's just lucky that the only complication she ended up with was a bit of a hemmoraghe after the birth. Because her uterus was certainly taken for a wild ride!
LV reader

Lansdale, PA

#16 Apr 15, 2008
MICHELLE D wrote:
<quoted text> Do you sign their paychecks??? Hospitals pay crap for what is expected of the nurses..Mandatory 12 hour shifts and all the bull that goes with the job..Try being a nurse for a day and see if you sing the same tune!!!!
I see the recruiting salaries. Isn't $60K enough? Work one extra shift per week and your pay jumps 25%. Seems pretty good. So what is it that makes the job bad?
Is it covering for incompetent doctors? Is it having to make excuses for doctors that don't visit patients? I can't believe that it is bean-counters. If you think that nurses are the only people being squeezed for productivity.....you are living in a vacuum.

“DIRTY BIRDY”

Since: Feb 07

Location hidden

#17 Apr 15, 2008
Mom it happens all the time.
Poor nurse pull double shifts all the time, If the relief nurse does'nt show due to illness or just bad weather and they can't get anyone else in they are stuck there they can't leave..But then you have idiots saying they are over paid..That is not an easy job..And anyone that says it is should be shot..
west end

Allentown, PA

#18 Apr 15, 2008
God bless all the nurses as we do our job for the love of the trade not the dollar amount. As we all well know that we do not get rich on our salaries.
We all know how state surveys work. The state needs to do them i the middle of the night and on weekend unannounced. Then they will see the truth and then only then will the facilities hosp. nursing homes etc. be held accountable and pay out of their pockets. The CEO should be held accountable this is peoples lives we are talking about. It is bad enough to do an 8 hr shift let alone 12, 16 hours. They should be able to do that nurses are left to decide if their job is more important than their family. I was once told by my administrator that my relief was on their way that never happened so I worked from 7am to 3am I had to try to find care for my kids. The state needs to step in and until things change I will not go back to work as I have burned out.

“DIRTY BIRDY”

Since: Feb 07

Location hidden

#19 Apr 15, 2008
LV reader wrote:
<quoted text>
I see the recruiting salaries. Isn't $60K enough? Work one extra shift per week and your pay jumps 25%. Seems pretty good. So what is it that makes the job bad?
Is it covering for incompetent doctors? Is it having to make excuses for doctors that don't visit patients? I can't believe that it is bean-counters. If you think that nurses are the only people being squeezed for productivity.....you are living in a vacuum.
An extra shift per week?? Are you serious?? Try 12 hours a day 4-5 days a week..If you think that all nurses do is sit there and make excuses for doctors you're the one living in a vacuum..
west end

Allentown, PA

#20 Apr 15, 2008
LV reader wrote:
<quoted text>
I see the recruiting salaries. Isn't $60K enough? Work one extra shift per week and your pay jumps 25%. Seems pretty good. So what is it that makes the job bad?
Is it covering for incompetent doctors? Is it having to make excuses for doctors that don't visit patients? I can't believe that it is bean-counters. If you think that nurses are the only people being squeezed for productivity.....you are living in a vacuum.
Are you a nurse. Do go to work every day and have patients and families yell at you because you are not there for their loved one because you have 25 other people to take care of? Do you have doctors yelling at you or not returning you calls regarding a patient? Do you have your boss telling you that you can not do a certain test because the patient is on Medicare and the facility has to pay for it find a cheaper way to treat? Do you have Therapists yelling at you because their patient was not medicated for pain? Do you have CNA yelling at you because they are over worked and just can not get to every one? Do you have to worry about every order you take and give it to the pharmacy will be correct when the meds come in? Do you have to be careful of every thing you do or you will be named in a law suite. Do you go home so tired and worn out you do not even want to spend time with your family? NOT EVERY NURSE MAKES 60K Nurses love their jobs but we are overworked and underpaid for the extent we go for all involved except ourselves. We deal with peoples lives. next time your in the hospital ask yourself has this nurse worked more than 8 hours and if she is tired is she able to address my needs as well as she/he could with a normal shift.

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