Isn’t it interesting how at work we never notice how truly invaluable our support people are until they are gone? There are tons of jobs out there that make what doctors and nurses do possible, and when those jobs are empty, we healthcare people hurt.
For example, my unit has recently laid off all the techs. On labor and delivery we are not too affected by this, but I know the mom/baby nurses are struggling. The techs did their vitals, ADL’s and were huge a huge help.
Now the nurses on that side of the unit are even more stressed and working conditions are pretty rough. I had a small taste of this the other night when I was ready to help with the delivery of a baby but was stuck at the nurses station asnwering one phone call and call light after another and buzzing people onto the unit because our unit secretary was floated off the unit. Basically I had to leave another nurse on her own w/ a huge workload which is not how I like to work. Thankfully no emergencies occured!
I know our med/surg unit also lost their techs and nurses are struggling to get everything done. Many nurses stay way past their shifts end just to catch up because the extra tasks have seriously cut into their routines and charting is a last priority. I’ve recently seen nurses still charting at 10AM (our shift is over at 7AM).
And things are absolutely awful when we don’t have a unit secretary—honestly, answering phones, call lights, putting in orders, etc are things I rarely have time for. Plus we nurses aren’t trained on half the things the unit sec. does, so when she is gone we are not only behind but we are confused as well. It really is the blind leading the blind when we nurses and teh doctors can’t get the paperwork and computer figured out!
There is a definite waterfall affect when we don’t have the support & human resources we need on the unit. Our patients receive inferior care because we are hustling to cover where there are holes. Plus things get missed and correcting mistakes is very time consuming.
Hopefully when the economy improves our hopsitals can start restoring some of these support positions on our units—I know people need the jobs that were taken from them, and as a nurse I highly value the people who make my job more efficient, more patient centered, and frankly, much more enjoyable on the whole.