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Nursing: You Wanna Know What I Think?

Laying Off Hospital Employees – Again

Published January 31, 2014 2:24 PM by Pat Veitenthal
I cannot believe how much things have changed in a year, and yet how much they've stayed the same. Since I retired, hospitals are laying employees off again, nurses are looking for new jobs in what seems like record numbers, and everyone blames everyone else.

I spent the biggest part of my career working in Virginia, and things there are changing fast again. For example, one of my former employers, Valley Health System, made personnel cuts affecting all SIX of their hospitals. They acquired six hospitals because they wanted to. When the news of the cuts was reported in the local paper, the comment section almost caught fire.

The remarks were almost identical to the ones that were made when the 90s layoffs occurred. People complained that the CEOs unnecessarily made 6 figures, a fortune was spent on things like artwork, aquariums, pianos, and other aesthetically pleasing items rather than needed equipment and supplies, and that money was just plain wasted instead of being used where it was needed. It seems to me that this is just a cyclical purging. Hospitals spend money until they're broke, they blame the economy, or Obamacare, and the staff pays the price.

My question is, why isn't a CEO ever laid off?  Why is it NEVER poor management? Lose him and keep the 33 other people you just let go. I'd rather have a good experienced nurse in the house than some CEO. Believe me, I've known a few CEOs, so I can tell you...they aren't all that. And in the case of hospital layoffs, the good of the one NEVER outweighs the good of the many. They should be ashamed.

posted by Pat Veitenthal


Amen, Amen, Amen.%0d%0a%0d%0aLaying off the worker bees who take care of the patients is just wrong.  Patients know they are being short changed.%0d%0a%0d%0aNo CEO needs 6 figures .  We need medical and nursing personnel manage  us not some bean counter.  We know patient care and needs .

marie potter, Occ Health - RN April 25, 2014 11:27 AM
Vienna VA

AMEN. We are seeing this same wave of maddness in our city. Major hospital acquisitions, beautiful facilities building up all around the state and the city beltway, layoffs and terminations of experinced nursing in favor of new graduates (many of whom do not intend to stay...only getting the higher degrees to not remain bedside nurses), and a thick middle management layer. Poor coverage of patient care areas, even in ICU areas. Nurses doing the jobs of secretaries, secretaries doing the work of nursing assistants, nurse assistants doing cleaning, housekeepers doing the work of cleaning emptied beds. It is sheer maddness!

Nursing makes the attempt to serve patients, whiile attending to family needs (and demands) while management is unrelenting in never being satisfied with anyone's efforts. Always negative and caustic, always rushed and harried, always irritable and blaming. Older nurses who are competent and compassionate are out looking for any work that is available, and LOTS of competetion for these spots. After 38 years of hospital based nursing, it is a cruel world out here. God save our health care system!

Susan, Nursing - RN, BSN, Per Diem March 14, 2014 1:59 PM
Indianapolis IN

Loved your comments Pat. Right on target. Yes, why is it NEVER management?  We are understaffed constantly, mainly because our new GN's don't stay very long due to bullying on our unit. Our manager doesn't ever address this issue even though it costs the hospital alot of $$$.  We are constantly short on CA's, and forced to do their jobs in addition to caring for usual 5 patients. (and of course it doesn't matter what their accuity is)  We are all exhausted by the end of 12hrs. We have the crappiest broken down equipment to use. Then on top of it all, our manager assigns us to "teams" of which we are supposed to do housekeeping duties (emptying BSC's in the dirty utility, mopping the floors, wiping down walls, etc). Our manager is mean, nasty, condescending, inappropriate, and demanding with no concern for his staff or their needs.  Why is he not held accountable for anything?  Why is it the nursing staff has to FIX everything?

Anonymous, Cardiac/Telemetry - RN, St. Joseph MC February 18, 2014 9:31 AM
Reading PA

Hospitals are laying off experienced nurses in favor of new grads because they can pay them less. Parkland got in BIG trouble for this. Hospital do care about the danger they are putting patients in, they only see the dollar signs. It is a terrible thing. I was looking for months before I finally found full time work, but I still doing agency to get my ER fix. I worked strictly ER for 25 years nights. I have worked all over the country and it is the same story everywhere. Oh and thank you Obama for completely screwing up the healthcare system.

Cynthia, School/ ER - RN, BSN, Village Tech Schools/ agency February 2, 2014 5:34 PM
Cedar Hill TX

Thank-you for this information Katie. I intend to pass it on.

Pat Vee February 1, 2014 2:07 PM

Google Tuomey Hospital in South Carolina to read the ultimate in CEO compensation and it's effect on the hospital. Tuomey is the first hospital tried and found guilty of violating the Stark Law, has spent over 19 million in lawyers fees, was assessed the lowest possible penalty by the Feds for the number of violations, and finally, in accordance with Fed wishes, have retired their CEO with a retirement package so large that the Feds say it proves the hospital system is not in danger of going bankrupt if it complies with mandated penalties!  Meanwhile, the CEO has made a combined salary of 7 figures all these years, while imposing many cutbacks in nursing, housekeeping, RT, etc etc. Do your readers know that the income tax returns of nonprofit organizations can be perused by the public on www.guidestar.org?  

Katie, multi-speciality - staff nurse, WSPHI February 1, 2014 11:55 AM
Columbia SC

Deja Vu......  I've witnessed CEO's being "Wooed" "Dined", put up in Facility owned Housing, given rental cars with gas credit cards while they never invest in the Community by laying down "Roots", purchasing homes.  Their children are in Private schools, all expenses paid by "Credit Cards" gifted to them from the Facility as one of their "Perks. They receive separate incomes from each facility in the chain they oversee.  Bank their paychecks, embezzle the rest & then agree to leave when caught.  But the Severance Packages are the Coup de Gras, being paid Beaucoup Bucks to leave a Facility you just ran into the ground with your Greed & Incompetence. Oh Yes, and control the employees with the Threat of Layoffs looming over their heads. Turns a lot of good people into "Yes" men.

Mariellyn, RN February 1, 2014 9:39 AM
Bennington VT

What ever happened to patient comes first ????Business got into health care and everything went down the tubes !!!!!!

Donna, ED-EMS - RN, wmh-retired February 1, 2014 8:10 AM
front royal VA

Same for the Md hospitals. We're told it because of the Medicare cuts, beds are closed, staff reassigned or layed off. The suddenly in the middle of the horrible flu season, no beds available for days, holding 15-25 admissions in ED, ED pts with longer waits or leaving and not being seen. Somehow, this is always the staff's fault. Don't see any administrators being layed off.  

Sher, ED - RN February 1, 2014 2:32 AM
Baltimore MD

Yes, Pat. Here we go again. I am so done with Hospital nursing because of horrible management. Administrators making large salaries and closing beds and laying off nurses. And the wait for beds in the ERs goes on for hours as sick people are sent home much too soon. It's awful to watch.

Barbara, Public Health - RN January 31, 2014 10:08 PM

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About this Blog

    Pat Veitenthal, BSN, RN
    Occupation: Per diem nursing supervisor and cruise ship nurse
    Setting: Community hospital and cruise ships
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