Nursing is one of the toughest fields of work out there, and scheduling can make a huge difference in the daily life of those that choose the profession. When healthcare is involved, it is of the utmost importance that management and staff coordinate things to relieve employees, especially when it comes to scheduling. While this is admittedly no easy task, our Samaritan Medical Center seems to be about as graceful as a pile of bricks. Sources inside the facility have reported that an already abysmal scheduling system is about to undergo a change from bad to worse.
The current system, based on nurses taking blocks of 12-hour shifts, can result in as many as four of these shifts being worked in a row. Under the worst cases, nurses are asked to work six shifts with only one day off in the middle, split across the ending of a week so that their 72 hour per two week maximum rule isn’t violated. The end result is that those 72 hours are actually being worked in a seven day period, not a two week period. There is something severely wrong with that math.
While the 12-hour shift isn’t unheard of, and some employees prefer it, there remains a question of safety. According to a study done by researchers at the University of Maryland, the chance of patient-involved errors can increase by 300% during a 12-hour shift as compared to an 8-hour one. This study has been echoed by countless others, such as a study published by Healthaffairs.org stating that the longer hours lead not only to increased risk of injury, but patient dissatisfaction. Sources inside Samaritan, both working 12 hour shifts themselves, say that the number of incident reports have gone way up since this 12-hour block system was implemented about a year ago.
Pretty bad, right? Well, here is Samaritan’s solution to complaints: a first-come, first-served staffing free-for-all. The proposed system would have staff selecting their own schedules at the beginning of six-week periods. This means that anyone working there could effectively kiss their hopes of stable child care, or really a stable anything in their life, goodbye.
Maybe they should call this SamFail.
by Johnny Beaver