Friday, December 22, 2006

Magnet? Or Repellent?

Does your facility "enjoy" magnet status? Mine would like to think that we someday can. My opinion on that is "Uh huh ... and people in Hell would like ice water, too!". What is it, and why do I not think we'll ever achieve it?

Well .... a "magnet" facility is one that purportedly provides the "best of the best" care, and any nurse in his or her right mind would kill to work there. These facillities employ shared governance, wherein every employee has a stake in the daily operations of said facility. These are nationally-recognized hospitals that supposedly draw the cream of the crop in medical personnel, and since the care is so superb, they are then sought out by the public as hospitals of choice should a person become ill. Mmm hmm. Yeah.

Why don't I think my employer can achieve this?

Anyone hear of the "critical nursing shortage"? Anyone else work a place that's supposedly not-for-profit, yet the bottom line is all they really care about? Anyone besides me work somewhere that the facility CEO tells every new employee on the FIRST DAY orientation that "our main goal is to make the doctors happy and give them what they want, because they are our bread and butter"? Anyone else work somewhere that every unit is staffed in such a bare-boned fashion that they are BARELY able to provide even the most basic care for their patients? Anyone as stupid as me for working at such a place for 15 years?

I was part of middle management at Work for 8 years, but could no longer take the two-faced bullshit they tried to feed the staff. I finally vacated that post and became a staff nurse once again, and I have greater peace of mind for having done so. I suppose that the philosophy or environment at Work is not really much different than at a majority of other places. Those in the proverbial ivory towers of Administration and Corporate offices (yes ... Work is but one facility in a system of many facilities - 12 in my city alone, with two new ones opening in the near future) have NO earthly idea of what actually goes on at the grass roots level. In fact, I'd wager to say that not one executive has donned a set of scrubs and joined us peons for any more than an hour at a time since maybe the 1980's.

Am I bitter? Hell yes, I am! I got into nursing to take care of patients, and I do a damn fine job of it when I'm not doing double or triple charting, or cleaning the patient rooms myself. Everyone knows that nurses are the backbone of healthcare. Why, then, are we treated like the dregs at Work? We are highly trained professionals who have saved many a patient's life and many a doctors' ass on many occasions. All we want is the time and supplies necessary to properly care for our patients. We spend 8, 12, or 16 hours at a time with our patients as opposed to the mere 10 minutes (if that) that the docs spend. But ... we are to cow tow to them, give them what they want when they want it. Work has a huge "good old boy" network, and the powers that be perpetuate and encourage it. He who screams the loudest gets what he wants the quickest.

I think that a HUGE factor is the Chief Nursing Officer. The "Chief" at Work is a BSN who went on for an MBA. Therein lies the problem. The bean counting mindset of the MBA made her forget that she is actually a nurse. And we come back full circle to the bottom line. Not so surprising now, is it? The question now becomes "How are we going to get ourselves out of this nightmare?" Hell if I know.

I love my life's work, but the state of things makes me sad. Sad that I don't have time to REALLY talk to a family member who is scared to death (and rightfully so) that their loved one will not survive their head injury. Sad that I don't have the time to sit and hold the hand of a patient who has just been told that the headaches are from an inoperable tumor. Sad that I have to ignore some patients because I have to transport other patients to tests out of the department, answer the phones, enter orders into the computer, or file lab results because the powers that be have abolished entire departments and in the name of cost effectiveness have assigned these tasks to the nurses.

So ... back to the original question. Magnet? Or repellent? Given all of this nonsense and bullshit, I'd hafta go with "repellent". I wonder ... how much longer till I'm totally repelled?



Student Nurse Jack said...

BSN to MBA???? Yikes. It takes a strong person to hang in that environment and still effectively advocate for nurses and therefore, for patients.

Just wanted to say hello - I'm a student nurse in Texas. I left the corporate world in my mid-thirties to do this. And have quickly realized I'm not as far away from the corporate world as I thought I would be.

Runs With Scissors said...

Hi back, Jack! You have the dubious distinction of being the absolute first to leave a comment on my brand new blog! Thank you for stopping by!

Yes ... she is a BSN who later got an MBA, and she'd be VERY hard-pressed to do routine nursing tasks such as an IV or Foley insertion. It's a shame. She is definitely not the ideal nursing role model.

I commend you on your decision to leave Corporate America and join us! True ... hospitals ARE businesses that must remain financially salient, but we must never forget the reason these "businesses" even exist in the first place! I need to interject here that I HATE the trend toward referring to patients as "customers". It just doesn't sit right with me. But I digress ...

Anyway ... welcome to the ranks, and I know that you'll be a great asset to nursing!