“I AM WORKING with a lot of unhappy, tired, overworked nurses these days. It’s the worst I’ve seen in all my years at the hospital.”
That’s a quote from a veteran nurse at UP Health System-Marquette (the former MGH) who understandably wants to remain anonymous.
She’s not alone.
This, from another nurse: “We have had a serious nursing shortage at the hospital, with current members being forced to work 12 and 16 hour shifts almost every day, and this has been a problem for a year and a half on some units.”
Yikes. Not many of us would like to be in the care of a weary nurse in the 15th hour of her shift.
And of course, none of us would like to be forced to work 12 and 16 hour shifts on a regular basis. We do have families, we have outside lives, we have our own health to worry about.
So there’s got to be a reason for all this overworking and understaffing, and there certainly has to be some hope on the horizon.
Well, if you ask hospital officials for an explanation or even a refutation…this is what you get:
“Registered nurses are essential members of UP Health System-Marquette’s team. We are fortunate to have some of the top nurses in the region, and currently have a retention rate that is higher than the national average. We are continually focused on recruiting and retaining high-performing talent from local, regional and national nursing programs by strengthening our ties with nursing schools and regularly participating in employment fairs.”
Okay. To summarize, nurses are important…a lot of them want to stay in Marquette…and the hospital is trying to find more of them.
But are the current staff nurses actually working 12 and 16 hour shifts regularly?
If so, why has this gone on so long?
Why can’t you find more nurses?
Are you concerned about the quality of care for your patients?
Are you concerned about the quality of life for your nurses?
Can you promise that this understaffing and overworking will end anytime soon?
No answers. Discouraging.
Oh, one more thing. Dagmar Raica, the Chief Nursing Officer at the hospital, was recently terminated from her job. Why? Is that in any way tied to the other problems?
Listen, we get it. These are difficult times for hospitals nationally. Health care in America is undergoing revolutionary changes. Duke LifePoint is about to undertake a huge $300 million building project locally. And the company is certainly entitled to take what measures it deems necessary to survive and prosper.
Sure seems like nurses and doctors (whose complaints have been aired previously) are the single most important component of a hospital. Not the administrators or the bean-counters. Not the pharmaceutical reps. Not the building contractors. And not the investors.
How about a little break for the nurses? Or, at the very least, a detailed explanation telling us why they are working excessively long hours, and when they can expect some relief.
Hold on. Here’s one more crazy idea to help you attract more nurses if there’s truly a national shortage: Raise their salaries.
Nah, too crazy.
BYTHE WAY, if you’re planning on bringing any nursing prospects to Marquette in the weeks ahead, they’ve got a new place to stay in Marquette.
Nestledown Bed and Breakfast, after a yearlong building project, finally opened a few weeks ago. It’s the only B & B in the city of Marquette.
Wonderful location on Lakeshore Boulevard across the street from the bike path and beach.
An attractive, clean, and almost minimalist, Finnish feel to the place. Comfortable rooms starting at $150 a night. A huge sauna downstairs.
And your hosts are Ken and Sue Schauland, delightful people who also happen to be NMU alumni.
They missed most of the summer, but they’re waiting to welcome the crowds for fall colors.
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