Sunday, May 02, 2010

New rooms opened

The inevitable has arrived. The new rooms at my ward were opened 2 days ago. There was a demand for single rooms and an upsurge in admissions. Thus the management gave the go-ahead to open the new rooms for use.

It was a whirlwind morning -- a mayhem of room transfers, discharges and admissions. I lost count of the actual numbers, but I think it was 7, 6, and 5 respectively for the ward, of which majority affected my side of the ward. Lucky for me, I was the runner, SN L was the staff nurse handling medications for the team. The other team's runner Senior HCA M and the admin staff assisted with some of the room transfers. Also fortunately, SN O was the other team leader (i.e. SN in-charge of medications) and SSN Y was the overall in-charge, thus everyone remained professional (but brisk) even though we were flooded by the workload.


The patients and families who got the new rooms were initially very happy. The new rooms had Disney cartoon wall murals, brand new furnishing and were better equipped. However, it became apparent by early afternoon that the toilets' plumbing were choked.
The admin staff confided in us at the staff room, "Apparently all the new rooms on the other floors also have the same problem. That's why the [note: plumbing dept] staff is under tremendous stress to fix it."

I asked, "Are we the first to open the new rooms?"

She replied, "No, we are the last."

I asked further, "So all the other floors had choked toilets when they were opened, and management is aware that the problem is not fixed [yet]?"

She nodded.

I asked rhetorically, "Why then did management approve of opening our [floor's] new rooms when they know that it will cause more problems? Now, if we need to find rooms to temporary 'park' the patients while the problem get fixed, we cannot, because the hospital is full!"

The admin staff gave an exasperated smile.

Near the end of my shift, the admin staff informed me that I had "lots of double shift next week" due to a shortage of staff. [Note: SEN L is officially transferred to another department and SN RB was scheduled to clear her annual leave next week.] I simply told the admin staff that I will not accept any double shift assignment because the stress of taking the additional workload [note: 14 patients per SN] is not worth the additional shift allowance.
The admin staff said worriedly, "Then we will have to call in agency nurses."

I replied, "So be it. Management have to be aware of our staffing shortage. If we continue to pick up the slack [Note: i.e. cover the shortage of staff by doing double shifts], management will simply assume that we have enough staffing and refuse to hire more as [i.e. which] is the situation now."
Apparently, SN L, SN RB and I were the last few trained staff still willing to do some double shifts. All the other trained staff [Note: ENs and SNs] vehemently refused to take on any additional workload.


  1. You have done the right thing! Unless they face the hard reality, Mgmt will not learn and continue to take people for granted.

    Opening rooms with known dysfunctional WC's is almost negligent. It is of the "too busy to save time" classification!

  2. Hi Tim,

    Surprised to get your comment here. Thanks for dropping by as always.

    Today is Wednesday 5-May, the 6th day since the new rooms are opened. The mayhem continues. My ward has 3 single rooms added, i.e. 3 more beds/patients. I heard the other 2 wards have up to 7 new beds and NO new headcounts!

    SSN Y predicts a mass exodus of staff in July after the usual mid-year bonus is disbursed. As for me, I just found out that due to the Canadian processing of the PR and Social Security Card, I have to land by Oct-2010 and stay for at least a good 3 months.

    Well, I hope I'll survive until my departure in August. I had been caught in an incident recently and still not ready to blog about it yet. Asking my friends to pray and wish me luck!