HCMC RNs stop ‘really awful’ situation

14 Jul

Filing Concern for Safe Staffing Forms and speaking out about unsafe staffing do make a difference. Just ask Surgical/Trauma/Neuro RNs at Hennepin County Medical Center in Minneapolis.

Nurses mobilized and forced the hospital to end a pilot program in the STN unit that increased the number of patients a nurse cared for at one time.

The pilot was implemented in January 2015 without Nurses’ input. They knew from day one the pilot was endangering patient safety and stretching each nurse too thin.

The increased number of patients was “overwhelming” to the nurses and other staff.

“You can’t keep track of that many people,” said RN Sue Oberg. “The push was to work at the top of our licenses, which was ridiculous. You need so many other people to take care of a patient. It was also pulling nursing assistants out of their areas of practice.” They were put in a position of taking over at the bedside because RNs had so many patients they couldn’t spend the proper amount of time in each room.

The situation was so bad that the RNs were worried about their licenses.

The pilot took its toll on nurses mentally and physically.

Some nurses were ready to look for another job.

Patients noticed a problem when they wouldn’t see a nurse for hours.

The nurses stood up and fought the pilot. They spoke loudly and strongly about the damage the pilot was causing. They talked to managers one-on-one and at meetings – and filled out the Concern for Safe Staffing forms. The forms showed that this issue was a concern on days, nights, and afternoon shifts. MNA received 45 forms from HCMC between January and the middle of February.

Nurses also shared their concerns with physicians, who saw what was happening and supported nurses by signing letters.

HCMC backed off the pilot under the pressure.


*This post was updated on July 31, 2015 to clarify some minor details.

3 Responses to “HCMC RNs stop ‘really awful’ situation”

  1. Diane Scott July 14, 2015 at 1:09 pm #

    So if a patient complained that they never saw a nurse, what did management say to the patient or did they fire the nurse which added to the problem? Did management track infection rates, fall rates, pressure ulcer rates during this time? Did any management have family on the units at this time? Did management increase number of management so they could respond to the increased number of patient complaints?

  2. Mary McGibbon, RN July 14, 2015 at 8:06 pm #

    Congratulations to HCMC Nurses!!!
    Taking a stand for your patients and your profession is what you do best!

  3. Robbie July 15, 2015 at 4:54 pm #

    way to go ladies

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