Hospital officials in Trout Creek, Montana fired all their front line nurses yesterday. Yep, all of ’em. According to Avrile Fisher, the chief nursing officer (who in a fine bit of irony, was not fired):
“We were looking to cut costs and improve patient care,” said Fisher. “Providing all nurses with alternate employment opportunities was an innovative solution which will allow us to stabilize our budget and remain regional health care leaders.”
Under the plan, nurses will be replaced by specially trained “Super Housekeepers”, who will assume many of the duties traditionally assigned to nurses. In addition to providing bed baths and feeding patients, the workers will dispense medications, monitor heart rhythms and start intravenous lines.
Reaction to the plan was positive. Edith Roussilon, a patient at the hospital’s Frequent Visitor Clinic, believes the changes will result in faster, safer care. “Those nurses are paid too much,” she said. “I trust the hospital to make the best decision in making sure I get my meds on time.”
Opposition from the state’s nursing association is fierce, but Fisher remains undeterred. “The fact remains,” she added, “that nurses are a drain on the system in terms of resources, and there is no good evidence that patients benefit from nursing care.”
Sign of things to come? Remember when a certain politician said nurses were like hula-hoops, in that they go in and out of fashion?