Our goal as a union is to work in collaboration with the hospital in order to make Inspira a safe working environment. We hear your concerns and issues, and are trying to take steps to absolve them one at a time. Being that the Vineland PCU’s account for the largest amount of nurses and patients, we decided to make that our starting point. Along with the short staffing forms, we have reached out to some nurses individually to figure out what exactly was going on. We recently had a meeting with management and administration to address some of the ongoing issues in the PCU’s.
Staffing was a major component of discussion. MPCU reports recently hiring eight nurses, and currently only has two PCT openings. SPCU continues to have the most shortages in nurses, however there were a couple nurses recently hired, and PCT’s will be fully staffed as of next week. We did address staff retention, and were informed that exit interviews would be given to all nurses who leave to help identify their reasons for leaving. We will continue to push for a better system to retain staff. Please continue to fill out short staffing forms as they immensely help to highlight where more help is needed.
Agency nurses will continue to fill the holes. Please give your manager feedback on these nurses, both good and bad. Each agency nurse is reviewed, including the feedback we give to our managers, and then is approved or denied a contract renewal three weeks before their contract ends. As of now, there is no talk of removing agency nurses from the hospital, especially in the areas that continue to have significant nursing shortages.
There were several issues addressed specifically with the agency nurses. Management was made aware of the agency having issues with accessing and using Cerner, and will be addressing that on their end. If you are precepting an agency nurse and notice they need an extra day of orientation, either the agency nurse or yourself need to notify your manager as an extra day will be given. This is especially important for those who spend a good deal of their first day sorting out Cerner issues. Also, all agency nurses are able to take all categories of patients provided that they have been educated on the proper order sets. For example, an agency nurse is able to take a post op bariatric patient as long as they understand the specific orders in place. Especially with post op patients, the orders from doctors can differ, so either while orienting or when they receive these patients, we need to make sure that we show them what orders to follow.
For those who are charge nurses, we have requested that the staffing lists state everyone’s status; full time, part time, per diem, agency. This should help with creating assignments and who gets floated. We did make administration and the managers aware of how difficult it is to be charge with a full assignment. SPCU specifically has noted that there is no support during night shift since they currently do not have any ANM’s at night. They will be implementing a new procedure which will have the ANM’s from the other floors rotating through SPCU and any other department without management available to help provide support. Please do not hesitate to speak to them about any issues when they come through your department, or call them if you cannot wait for them to make rounds.
Changes in patient status should always be addressed per policy, which does not seem to be an issue. However, if your patient has had a change in acuity that you do not feel is being attended to properly, do not hesitate to ARCC it up. Make your manager aware and the nursing supervisor. If the ICU is refusing a patient, the patient’s attending needs to be contacted so they can discuss any potential upgrades with the ICU.
There are many departments who have been having issues with management not responding to emails. Per administration, we should allow 72 hours for a response, however phone calls should be placed for any urgent matters. If there are ongoing issues with not receiving responses, we were told to ARCC it up as our emails should be addressed in a timely fashion.
We hope that this gives you some clarity on some of the issues you have brought to our attention. Please reach out to a union rep or officer if your unit is having issues you would like discussed at an upcoming labor management/staffing committee meeting.
HPAE Local 5131 Staffing Committee Member