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Feds Order More Weekend Inspections Of Nursing Homes To Catch Understaffing
by Kaiser Health News
171,024 actions taken this week
  • Heather
    Voted Support

    I am a nurse who has spent 75% of my 10 year career working in Long Term Care (LTC) facilities. I’m only agreeing with this policy because I hope it will truly help our broken system. I must make a few points. I am a IV certified LPN with my Associates degree which makes me eligible to take my boards to be officially recognized as an RN (I was diagnosed with stage 3 lymphoma 10 days after I graduated and this has made it almost impossible to sit for my boards). My situation has given me a true insight on the difference between an LPN and an RN. I think this is an area that adds to the problems these facilities face. LPNs should be recognized for the work that they do & RNs should not be put on a pedestal nor should their presence be of such importance. I know many RNs that could never “work the floor “ at a LTC facility. In the majority of cases the RN in these facilities are supervisors or management. Therefore, their knowledge of the actual day to day needs of the residence is very limited. Staffing is set up by the governing bodies for these facilities. This is where the understaffing problems begin. I have worked for various staffing agencies and this affords me the opportunity to see how a variety of facilities run. I have been scolded by management on more than one occasion that I should be able to have all my work finished by the end of my 8 hour shift (as an agency nurse I get no training, I’m not familiar with the residence, I don’t know where things are, I don’t know the other staff & I don’t know what additional duties are expected from me to name a few things).I accept the fact I don’t know the basics - it’s the “norm” as an agency nurse. However, when I say to the manager, that’s obviously irritated with me, “I’m sorry I’m doing my best - I have 30 residence and only 2 aides.” To which she replies, “you know when you work the night shift that this is not unusual. Technically you can have x amount more and it’s not against policy.” This is what is so infuriating to me. I always work nights and I always have 25-30 residence with only 2 aides to assist me. This truly is the legal “norm”. The day & evening shifts do have more nurses and especially more aides but they are still spread way to thin. If I’m legally allowed to have 25-30 residence with only two aides to help, how is it physically possible to take care of these people like they should be taken care of!?!? LPNs and aides do not have glamorous jobs and we rarely receive any recognition. We are doing our jobs for one reason because we care about the people we help take care of. So, yes I’m hoping the inspections done on all shifts will help increase the staffing. Unfortunately, I believe the problem isn’t about inspections but about what facilities are legally allowed to get away with in the first place. One final note. The people that are resisting this and blaming it on the difficulty of hiring enough staff are the people making the large salaries and only care about the bottom line. They are going to have the least amount of people working as they are allowed and they are going to pay these employees as little as possible. Fast food workers get paid about what an aide makes and LPNs are making less and less. If I put a few years or had previous experience at a grocery store or a large chain (I’m trying not to mention the actual names), I would be making what an LPN makes maybe more. Let’s not forget, I had to go to school for 3 years and I have to pay/maintain my license and other numerous requirements to be able to work as a nurse every year. Maybe if the facilities hiring employees paid more and had more staff on each shift, they wouldn’t have such issues with hiring. Inspections and the regulations need to put some focus on what the residence really need to receive proper care. Mandate less residence to each nurse and aide and require employees to be paid

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