20070308

Travel Nurse: Thank Goodness I'm with an Agency

Yesterday the hospital administration decided to break the news to the nurses. I had just clocked in and was about to start my shift when the nurse manager asked the nurse on the shift before me if she could stay 30 minutes longer. She then told me that an "emergency meeting" had been called and that I was to report to the conference room immediately. When the nurse manager walked away the nurse on the shift before me said "It's your turn to hear the good news." I asked her what she meant by that, but she just said "Oh, you'll see." I have been at this assignment long enough to know that meetings in the conference room are rare, and often mean something drastic is going to happen.

When I walked into the conference room the nurse manager, several people in suits and ties and about a dozen other nurses and nurse techs were already seated around a long table. The nurse manager started the meeting by saying "Now PROMISE me you won't quit once you've heard what I have to say." An ominous way to start any meeting. She then went on to say that the hospital's patient census is higher than it has ever been at the hospital, but that the hospital does not intend to add any more nurse/nurse tech positions. She said that the cap of 7 patients maximum per nurse had been a cap set by the hospital and that the hospital was now changing it. There would no longer be a cap on patient load. Nurses immediately started mumbling under their breaths.

The meeting was short and I could tell the nurse manager had been forced to make the announcement by the suits and ties. She didn't seem any happier about the decision to remove the patient cap than anyone else.

So what does this mean to me as a travel nurse? Fortunately, I have a contract with my travel nurse agency that limits the number of patients I can be required to tend to 6. The problem I now face is enforcing that provision. I now have to deal with the nurse manager's reaction when I remind her of the patient load limitations in my contract. That will probably be something I do tomorrow. And then there are the other nurses' reactions when they find out about my contract. Just one of the things you have to deal with as a travel nurse I guess.

Oh, and by the way, as for the nurse manager's request not to quit. I saw two nurses thumbing through the employment section of the newspaper yesterday during our shift. This should get interesting.