I’m Jeanie, one of the newer union reps and now also part of the Staffing Committee. I work mid shift in Vineland PACU. There was a Labor Management/Staffing Committee meeting recently and I wanted to give you some information on the things that were discussed.
There was a lot of discussion about staffing and incentives. Please make sure that your management and the staffing office have your current phone number. This is how they are to be communicating any open shifts with incentives. Also, triple SIP is now a thing of the past and SIP will only be offered based on shortages. These incentives are a first come, first serve offer. However, contracts are continuing, and your management should be making you aware when they or any other incentives are available on your floor. Again, this is to be done fairly and offered to everyone at once via a text chain or other method of communication. Please let us know if this is not happening so it can be addressed.
With that being said, we know that there are still staffing issues in many areas. Unfortunately, some of these issues are related to LOA or call outs and are difficult to resolve. The good news is the number of nurse openings is about half of what it was at the beginning of the year. Throughout the spring there are to be several hiring events, so if you know anyone looking for a job pass the word on and get yourself that referral bonus! We asked management to start posting these on social media to make them more visible to outsiders. Administration is aware of the issues in Oracle with job postings and is making some corrections. We know this new system can be difficult to use, but if you see any postings that are incorrect or missing information, please let someone know so it can be fixed.
For the months of February and March there were about 70 short staffing forms submitted. Yes, we read all of them and take note of what is being said. While there were many reporting nursing shortages, the majority of them were reporting lack of aides/techs and concerns with 1:1s. Please continue to submit these reports as well. Staffing of ancillary staff can make or break your shift, and these submissions keep that in the limelight. To help with this, the hospital no longer requires a CNA certification and is offering on-site interviews and job offers. They report fulfilling half the vacancies for ER techs and are re-evaluating the necessity for some 1:1s (some will never be able to be discontinued). It is a work in progress, but hopefully you will begin to see some changes soon as people start their positions and complete orientation.
Surgical Acute and Surgical Stepdown have now merged into Surgical PCU. This is the last floor in Vineland to complete this process. It was brought to their attention the verbiage in our contract regarding certifications now that the floors are a PCU. If you currently hold a certification, it will be honored until it expires. We did not get an answer of what happens after that, if you can re-cert or need new certifications, and will continue that discussion going forward. If anyone feels they need more education to provide competent care in the PCU, please ensure the HealthStream module has been complete and discuss with your manager how you can get some hands-on experience. We cannot help you if you have not done your part by completing the HealthStream module.
As I hope you have all seen, the COVID policies have been updated. Visitors for COVID patients are now permitted with some limitations, and screening processes have ceased. Masks are no longer required in non-clinical areas such as the nurse’s station, break rooms, meeting rooms, etc. Please be respectful to those who wish to continue wearing a mask. Weekly testing for those previously required has stopped. If you are sick, you do not have to contact employee health unless you test positive for COVID. Testing is up to the discretion of the employee or individual manager.
Our next Labor Management/Staffing Committee meeting is on May 17th, and I encourage you to reach out to us if you have any concerns you’d like to present. Until then, please keep turning in those short staffing forms.
Jeanie Harow, RN Vineland PACU
HPAE Staffing Committee Member
** Easiest way to find short staffing forms is to open the Intranet, go to the upper right corner, and type “short staffing” into the search bar.