BriefingBMJ 1999; 318 doi: https://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.318.7186.3 (Published 20 March 1999) Cite this as: BMJ 1999;318:S3-7186
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I left the intensive care due to abuse of my work schedule. I was
manditoried for overtime on Christmas day while previously scheduled to
work the following day. New Years day was also on my schedule. This
overtime was presented to me with 15min notice. Of course I questioned
the hospital administrator whom informed me that if I left I would be
charged with patient abandonment and suspended on the spot, subject to
suspension pending their evaluation.
Patient abandonment was never a consideration! My husband was so
proud of himself preparing the christmas dinner by himself. The santa
suit was hanging in the closet ready for dispatch. My three year old son
was eagerly waiting for mom. My eighteen year old daughter was not
surprised. This was just one more reason for her not to enter the nursing
In response to the staffing issues I decreased my hours to partime
and explored the possibilities in home care. Much to my surprise the Icu
manager responded by doubling my schedule hours without notifying me.
When I questioned her saying there must be a mistake she informed me that
she could do anything she wanted to with my hours.
Well, that was enough for me. After 15 years in the icu; er, ccu,
micu, ticu, burn, cathlab,neuro, neonatal, l&d I left the hospital.
This is a problem. You see, I love nursing. Although my tale may not be
unusual, I may be just another nurse caught in staffing issues. Your
article stirred up issues of my past. Looking back I feel that the
hospital acted irresponsibly this was not a staffing crisis, they were
aware of the issues in advance but did not respond.
When I left the hospital it was not an issue of money or benefits, it
was purely based on the hospitals total lack of human consideration for
their nursing staff! How sad that I feel that I am just one of the many.
Is the nursing profession this low that we treat are nurses this way? Or
is hospital administration this uncaring of their nursing staff, that we
are just peons in their hiarchy.
Vera the Nurse
Competing interests: No competing interests