What might end up as an axle-high speedbump to Essent is the legislation under consideration by Texas lawmakers for mandating safe nurse/patient ratios. However, in their sneaky little ways, they have already been preparing for some of that: Support staff lay-offs.
The way it goes is like this: Support staff was 'invented' to free nurses from non-nursing duties. Essent is cutting support staff. Result, nurses will be forced to do more of their own support. Remember the example of how things have changed?
The following job description was given to floor nurses by a hospital in 1887:
As nursing shortages plague our country, nurses become a valuable commodity. So why is Essent attempting to drive off the good ones?????
In addition to caring for your 50 patients, each nurse will follow
- Daily sweep and mop the floors of your ward, dust the patient's furniture and window sills.
- Maintain an even temperature in your ward by bringing in a scuttle of coal for the day's business.
- Light is important to observe the patient's condition. Therefore, each day fill kerosene lamps, clean chimneys and trim wicks.
- Wash the windows once a week.
- The nurse's notes are important in aiding the physician's work. Make your pens carefully; you may whittle nibs to your individual taste.
- Each nurse on day duty will report every day at 7 a.m. and leave at 8 p.m. except on the Sabbath on which day you will be off from 12 noon to 2 p.m.
- Graduate nurses in good standing with the director of nurses will be given an evening off each week for courting purposes or two evenings a week if you go regularly to church.
- Each nurse should lay aside from each pay day a goodly sum of her earnings for her benefits during her declining years so that she will not become a burden. For example, if you earn $30 a month you should set aside $15.
- Any nurse who smokes, uses liquor in any form, gets her hair done at a beauty shop, or frequents dance halls will give the director of nurses good reason to suspect her worth, intentions and integrity.
- The nurse who performs her labors and serves her patients and doctors without fault for five years will be given an increase of five cents a day, providing there are no hospital debts outstanding.
We might end up with good ratios, but if we are bogged down with the other things, where do the patients fit in? If we aren't careful, the windows we'll be dealing with will be Pella, not Microsoft....