I am a nurse who wishes not to be named, and yes I was active in the strike. I am emailing to inform the public of what has been happening since some of our nurses went on strike.
The hospital has since paid out excess leave for the nurses. DOH has sent nurses to help with the shortage. The hospital has also been moving forward with the pay adjustment, not a raise. Some nurses received increases; some 40, 50 cents an hour; others a dollar/hour. Others have not and are still making entry level pay, despite their years of experience and service.
We were each called to the CFOs office to discuss our pay and checked a box whether we agreed or not. Most nurses did not agree with their pay adjustment. Our files in HR are missing—so many certifications and training hours we have completed. Some areas that are specialty areas are not being compensated as specialty areas, as people with no medical background are the ones deciding what is and is not considered a specialty area. They say they will continue to work on it.
The CEO has formed a task force to investigate the strike and discuss the grievances the nurses have had. I was glad until they began asking questions about the strike as far as who coordinated the strike, who was all present at the wave, etc. Asking questions like, do I feel like that was an ethical decision to call in to work due to unsafe staffing. This was expected but sad. Sad that they’re more concerned with trying to reprimand staff for not coming in to work rather than focus on the vital issues that would lose us funding from CMS.
Nurses are being taunted by the CEO in the media, as he’s saying that he will now expect more from us for the extra .50/hour adjustment received. He is insulting nurses who went on strike on our LBJ Newsletter, even though we returned prematurely. Rather than validating the concerns for patient care and the nurses cry for safe nurse-to-patient ratios, he called the strike uncalled for.
We have returned despite the shortage that places our licenses and most importantly, patient lives at risk. The nurse-to-patient ratios went from 1:5 to 1:19, even before the strike. They say we did it only for the pay. Yes, we want higher salaries. Yes. To entice people to work for us and keep the people we have. So that the workload won’t be unsafe and we can meet our quality care goals.
I am sad because I love bedside care, but I cannot continue to work in a place that does not value quality care. For this reason, I will be leaving LBJ and working for DOH. I am only writing this letter to bring awareness and I apologize to all the nurses I will be leaving behind. Thank you for continuing to fight for safe ratios and better pay. I simply have no more fight in me.
A tired nurse.