labor and delivery safe standards
To Whom it May Concern,
Amidst the tumultuous climate at Swedish First Hill the last several months, I have witnessed a number of this institutions safe gaurds fall to the wayside. I took a pledge as a nurse to "Do all in my power to elevate the standards of my profession" and to be an "Advocate and a healer". I have found the working conditions at Swedish to test this pledge as we are daily faced with increased census and inadequate staff. Our nurses are hard pressed to get our legal breaks that are mandated by the Washington State department of labor and industry. We have failed to increase staff to meet the census needs and as a result are being forced to take on patient loads that are greater than our professions recommendations (AWHONN). We are now being forced into mandatory overtime with no notice, forcing us to have short rest between breaks working upwards of 16 hours in a row under these conditions. During these moments of crisis, we rarely have seen management come to the unit to help take assignments, and we have not gone under “Divert” or “Treat and Transfer” despite being surrounded by a myriad of institutions that have labor and delivery units. We continue to proceed with admitting patients for induction in the face of short staffing, and have not utilized seeking out agency nurses for short term relief. Because of these working conditions, we are losing staff and unable to hire and train staff quickly enough to replace our deficits. We are having an increasing number of sick calls. We are being intimidated against picking up on call shifts at time and a half if we decide to come in on a vacation days, per diem staff are being intimidated against picking up time and a half shifts when the unit has increased need. We know as nurses and as an institution that this is not sustainable practice and we call on our leaders to rapidly make change. It is our dedication that until change occurs, we will continue to complete safe staffing variance forms, complaints of unlawful necessary overtime forms, and violations of mandatory breaks.
Swedish First Hill OB Nurses