The Customer is NEVER Right - A Nurse Practitioner's Perspective
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"Experienced ER nurses leave because their work environment sucks"

This plight sounds very familiar. However, as mentioned in "The Customer is NEVER Right: A Nurse Practitioner's Perspective" and in this blog, although the content is intended for the general public, as the choir already knows this, the article, unfortunately, appears in yet another medium of the choir as the message is not attention-getting enough to make it into a medium where the general public will see it.

Having said that, although I agree with the general theme of the article my only reservation is that, again, it is another article written with the patient as being first. I, as I have voiced a number of times, would prefer we did NOT hide behind patients and instead brought the same issues forward on the merit of healthcare workers, period. The reasoning, if healthcare workers are placed first EVERYTHING else will fall into place to include profits (the ONLY concern of healthcare administrators), and yes (although an afterthought of same administrators) patients will benefit as well.

Here Dr. Thomas Paine, the article’s author, writes, “I have seen seemingly unbreakable people with seemingly unbreakable spirits leave because their spirits were broken.” And although he points to the real reasons as to why we leave, “their work environment sucks,” pundits have the audacity of calling this sad fact of healthcare “Compassion Fatigue”.

I say NO! NO(!) one. NOOO ONE! Fatigues from helping others, NO ONE! What we fatigue about and are frustrated with is a system that treats us as doormats for others to wipe their feet on. Or as the author so eloquently points out, putting up with all the CRAP we have to put up with to do our jobs of helping others. That is what we fatigue about, the CRAP, and NOT from caring for others.

Dr. Paine cites Dr. Linda Aiken’s work on nurse to patient ratio as being the Holy Grail that will get everyone’s attention and that will cause healthcare to pivot in the right direction. Well, this is what I found about Dr. Aiken’s so convincing work, “On June 18th, the New York Times theorizes how the nursing industry will change based on Dr. Linda Aiken’s nurse ration study”.

Yes, THAT WAS IN 2010! 2010! This is 2015! FIVE years have gone by and NOTHING! Is anyone paying attention? NOTHING has changed. In the third to the last paragraph of the New York Times’ article it mentions, “The benefits of mandating nurse-to-patient ratios are so compelling that last year [LAST YEAR, 2009!—6 YEARS AGO!] Senator Barbara Boxer, Democrat of California, introduced a bill to set national standards, while Representative Jan Schakowsky, Democrat of Illinois, offered similar legislation in the House. Yet both bills [BOTH BILLS!] have languished in committee.” LANGUISHED! And FIVE years later NOTHING!

Not to mention, why are politicians being asked to set nurse to patient ratios? WHY!?! Why are politicians asked to intervene on any healthcare worker issue? Why not just ask healthcare administrators? After all, are healthcare administrators NOT there for their employees. Are they not? Because in the short and long run it is healthcare workers who provide the great healthcare we provide not healthcare administrators. In order words, patients come to seek medical attention from healthcare workers. NOT(!) from healthcare administrators. AND not from politicians either.

Again, I am on Dr. Paine’s side, and very much on the side of healthcare workers as well, thus I very much appreciate his article. Unfortunately, the tone of the article hides behind patients and patient safety with a focus on nurse to patient ratios. Pedicures, gourmet food and valet parking, although pathetic to think of, are NOT the nemesis of healthcare workers. Not even nurse to patient ratios. What will be healthcare’s demise are the EXAGGERATED UNREALISTIC EMOTIONAL EXPECTATIONS we are asked to cater to. That will be our demise!

So, I ask for the same, experienced healthcare workers, but the only way to gain them and, more IMPORTANTLY, keep them is to put the work they do FIRST and FOREMOST before anything else, to include before patients. Because if we take care of your own first everything, EVERYTHING, else will fall into place, to include profits, and yes, patients as well.

This article also cites Alexandra Robbins, the author of “The Nurse: A year with the heroes behind the hospital curtain”. This is a book I have not read but I am sure it is a great read as the author is a professional investigative journalist and writer. But she is not a healthcare worker. Not that there is anything wrong with that. However, I point it out as many similar articles, and even books, about healthcare being taken down the wrong tracks have been published by outsiders. Sadly, those works are not for the sake of healthcare but instead are written with the intent of publishing an attention-getter that others will want to read—and money for someone who has no skin in the game and nothing to lose when they reveal the troubles of healthcare to the public. That being a trend I point out because outsiders, once again, as no more than outsiders taking advantage of healthcare’s altruistic, submissive and accommodating culture.

I mention this as I have reached out to a number of authors with similar publishings, Ms. Robbins being the latest, only to get no response. Not sure why but they do not return emails.

Nonetheless, with all that said, “put your workers first and watch them kick ass”. Lastly, please "SHARE" this article, and my comments as well, as the article's author’s goal is to get the topic into the general public’s arena and view, and I agree, despite a long reach.

My two sense [sic].

Thank you to my great friends Liz Augustine Clark and Terry Ratcliff for both sending me this article.

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