Emergency conference calls are never a good thing.
Today I had to rearrange my schedule for an hour long conference call. Since most of the people who work in the occupational health department of the hospital are out in businesses, a conference call is a fairly good way to let us all know what's going on.
So here's what's going on. The hospital is WAY over budget. Positions are being eliminated and hours are being cut. Occupational health was less affected than most departments, but we lost one part-time medical assistant, and the office manager got cut back to part-time.
Fortunately the other nurses in the department and I generate tangible revenue. Unfortunately, in the hospital setting, nurses don't generate tangible revenue. No where on your hospital bill is there a line item for nursing care. So, guess which people have had their hours reduced or their job eliminated?
People get irate when they get their hospital bill. Five dollars for a Tylenol! Twenty dollars for an IV catheter! I'm being ripped off! So, they complain. In order to maintain patient satisfaction, the hospital absorbs a lot of those costs.
Well guess what? You are not only paying for the Tylenol. You are paying for a nurse to verify the doctors orders, confirm that you aren't allergic to Tylenol, bring you the Tylenol and assess the outcome of you taking the Tylenol.
You are not just paying for the IV catheter. You are paying for the nurse to put the IV catheter in, keep the catheter patent, administer drugs through the IV, assess the site for infection and infiltration, and disconnect the IV catheter.
Nurses do the majority of patient care in the hospital but they don't get to bill for their services. Maybe hospitals should start to bill per hour for nursing care. Just a thought.....