Early in my nursing career, I worked at St. Joseph’s Medical Center in the Coronary Care Unit, but was lured away to work at Trumbull Memorial Hospital (TMH) which was suppose to be the best hospital in town. I endured TMH 2000 which was probably the beginning of the end of the hospital. As TMH 2000 ushered in, it appeared that the concern for the employees and patients started its downward spiral. Still during those times of uncertainty, we remained a hospital of which we could be proud. Nursing care was rarely compromised and neither was the safety of any of the hospital staff. We just didn’t have time anymore to give the patients the “extra” they deserved.
The nursing staff, for the most part, got along with all the other disciplines and they worked together for the good of the patient. It was something of which each department was proud. If there was a difference between staff, the patient never knew it; they kept that part of their lies separate. Yes, TMH was a fine place to work and I enjoyed working there; but I retired 10 years ago and still miss the personalities and technical aspect of the job.
Then last night I was stopped in my tracts as I listed to WFMJ news. TMH, my beloved TMH, has set out a decree that they will “issue a face mask” to each employee that must be worn all day long at work. At the end of the workday, they are instructed to put they mask in a bag in their locker to use the next day; some having to use their mask for 5 days all the while the hospital is putting some of the staff on furlough.
Oh my God, how does this work? At a time when the government is asking nurses to come out of retirement, and they are talking about early graduations for medical students and nursing students, how can a hospital furlough staff needed to take care of patients? I don’t get it. I’m sure the hospital will come up with an idea that they are “non-essential” workers, but tell me who those workers may be. WFMJ talked about X-ray techs and lab techs will be displaced as well as LPNs. Why get rid of LPN’s? They are nurses for goodness sake and can perform tasks that others are not permitted to do. Why get rid of the X-ray and lab techs, they do things we as nurses and doctor’s can’t to.
Thank goodness I retired 10 years ago. Since then I just listen to the stories and hang my head in shame if those stories are true. Last night, as the news revealed that my workers and friends are facing the front line without the proper PPE made me sick. Some hospitals have resorted to wearing garbage bags as PPE.
I understand that these are uncertain times, but in those times do we forget about the first responders who need PPE for their livelihood and that of their family? Can an issuing of masks be the answer? Don’t those masks spread disease when kept in a moist place like a plastic bag? Aren’t they spreading disease to others by wearing the masks all day long? So many questions that shouldn’t be.