September 01, 2010 | | Comments 1
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A tough economy forces nurses to make hard decisions

There’s no denying it’s hard out there on the job front. As companies nationwide are continuing to cut budgets, thousands of Americans are still bidding farewell to steady employment, and life doesn’t seem to be any different in our hospitals. It’s no shock that hospitals aren’t excluded from the pool of organizations that need to tighten their financial belts, but the question is whether these institutions are asking their nurses to sacrifice too much in order to make ends meet.

Chained by large budget restrictions, hospitals are cutting back in areas that put strain on nurses. Earlier this year, Cambridge Health Alliance in Boston gave nurses the option of an early retirement to maintain full benefits, or otherwise be subject to a 40% cut in their retirement health benefits.

Nurses at the Charlie Norwood VA Hospital in Augusta, GA, are planning a protest next week because of an $8 million budget deficit. The hospital’s budget problems, they say, have forced nurses to work 16-hour shifts, and have slowed the rate of hiring and cut back on equipment budgets. This leads to tougher working conditions, a higher nurse turnover rate, and could ultimately decrease patient care.

It could be that many institutions are trying to choose the best option for all parties involved. The Cambridge Health Alliance said that without the retirement concessions, it would have had to lay off an estimated 100 workers. The acting head of the VA hospital says the hospital wants to do the right thing, but feels handcuffed by its financial situation.

Do you think hospitals with budget constraints are doing all they can to find a middle ground?

Source: Boston.com and GPB News

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Filed Under: LeadershipRetention

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Jaclyn Beck About the Author: Jaclyn is an Associate Editor at HCPro, Inc. She manages three monthly newsletters; Strategies for Nurse Managers, Briefings on Infection Control, and Briefings on Hospital Safety, and manages four ezines; AHAP Staff Challenge, Infection Control Weekly Monitor, Hospital Safety Connection, and Nurse Manager Weekly. She graduated from Gordon College in 2007 where she earned her bachelor's degree in Business.

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  1. Accidents, errors and deaths will increase.

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