Several years ago, I realized getting up in the middle of the night to answer phone calls or going into the hospital to admit a patient was finally taking a toll. After doing it for 40 years, I thought age was finally getting to me.
Luckily six months ago, the hospital hired ICU physician intensivists, covering us at night for extremely ill patients. Still, I was tired.
The phone calls continued and escalated, with many seemingly unnecessary.
As it turns out, the night nursing staff at the hospital is replete with new graduates. Why? Nursing shortage? Nope. It is their practice to hire the lowest paid on the salary rung and replace nurses who have experience (and know when and when not to call in the middle of the night).
When asked, an administrator’s justification was “nurses working in a hospital longer than 10 years have a hard time learning new technology.” Really? Was this an evidence-based statement or just an attitude?
If this is true, what about doctors?
It is cheaper for hospitals to pay newly minted nurses and doctors, and eliminate those with experience.
Ultimately, the patient pays the price.
Gene Uzawa Dorio, M.D.
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