Kaiser Double-Talk: Who’s thriving?

Kaiser RNs: AFNMay 18, 2011

Kimberly Tubbs is a Registered Nurse at Kaiser Permanente’s flagship Los Angeles Medical Center. She asks an important question: if Kaiser is thriving to the tune of $10 million per day on average in profits, why are nurses and patients constantly faced with short-staffing?

It is AMAZING to me that Kaiser has been unwilling to reasonably discuss fair wages at the bargaining table. This month Kaiser reported $10 million per day in profits for the first quarter. This is the same company who wants to cut our pensions, reduce our benefits and not fairly compensate us!

I am a Recovery Room nurse. I work 8 hour shifts Mon-Fri. It is my responsibility to care for patients who are coming right out of surgery as they are emerging from their anesthesia induced sleep. This requires skilled training in Critical Care and Pediatrics. There are many complications that can arise after surgery, and as a “post-op” nurse, I have to be skilled and prepared to handle any complication or emergency that comes up.

Most days at work I start to worry about IF I’m going to be able to leave on time around three in the afternoon, which is two hours before my shift ends. It is a regular occurrence that most of my fellow nurses and myself are required to stay past our shift because there isn’t anyone to take our patients. The afternoon and evening workers are covering long-awaited breaks for the day shift and then have to take their own patients instead of relieving those of us who are to go home at 5, 6, and 7:00. This is all due to short staffing.

Management tells us that there isn’t money in the budget to hire more staff, but the surgery schedule never lets up! If its all about numbers, when will the surplus catch up to fill the need? How many days do I, or my co-workers, have to stay over before Kaiser has enough money to hire additional staff to take care of the patients coming out of surgery? The other day we were down two nurses, but had six add-on cases. That basically means that we had a staffing deficit and work was added regardless of that fact.

Kaiser can no longer claim financial hardship, they are surviving quite well through this economic hard times…in fact I think they are THRIVING. Thriving to the tune of $10 million a day! I can’t really say that the nurses are thriving, in fact we’re barely surviving with the added work load and forced overtime.

-Kimberly Tubbs, RN, Kaiser LAMC