It was a proud day for the healthcare team of Ventura County Health Care Agency (VCHCA) when an overwhelming number of caregivers representing every department across the medical spectrum, from Med/Surg, ER, OB, OR, Public Health and outpatient Mental Health, took over the audience at the Board of Supervisors (BOS) meeting on Tuesday, April 9, 2013. In an attempt to persuade the BOS that designations in leadership and management need revamping nurses, psych-techs and respiratory therapists gave testimonials of what it’s like in the day in the life at our Level One Trauma Center Hospital and outpatient services which provide support quality, affordable health care for our community.
Over and over, the team spoke in detail of the physical and mental strain of doing jobs that have high turn-over rates of new grad per diem hires that are trained and then leave the VCHCA for the increased hourly pay of other area hospitals. Nurses attested to low morale due to the lack of recognition for levels of respect rewarded to other professions. Currently it costs VCHCA over $70,000 to train a new nurse.
For the past seven years the nurses have asked for a career ladder that credits a nurse’s position and classification according to skill, loyalty and contributions to the organization. At a teaching hospital such as VCMC it makes sense that there should be a vibrant program to grow nursing skills to improve medical outcomes for our community. But sadly, there is little support for professional leadership growth among VCHCA nurses.
On April 9, 2013 the nurses bravely set forth evidence that County Human Recourses have jumbled control numbers of the per diem VCHCA employees which has masked the high attrition rate of nurses. Lack of proper staffing levels have strained nursing management to the point that many have stepped down, back to bedside nursing, due to the stress and lack of compensation in their leadership roles.
RNs, LVNs and Psych-techs of the VCHCA California Nurses Association bargaining unit are currently in negotiations for a contract that is asking for a professional career ladder that supports our health care heroes with the recognition and compensation they deserve for bringing in federal grant money for the research and development of programs that improve medical access to our community. Nurses asked the BOS to help them by supporting the proposals set forth in their new contract which will power the services needed to maintain and grow access to quality, affordable health care as mandated by the Obama Health Care Act due for full implementation in 2014.
On Tuesday, the Board of Supervisors addressed the nurses with genuine concern and profuse sentiments of respect. The California Nurses Association bargaining unit returns to negotiations in May. Now the RNs, LVNs and Psych-techs wait for the Board’s actions which will speak louder than their words.
- Nurses to play bigger role in health delivery, Kathleen Wynne vows (thestar.com)
- Physicians become more like nurses! (nursemanifestblog.wordpress.com)
- Province looks to expand functions for nurses (cp24.com)