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Management has been unresponsive to my staffing concerns. How do I get management to address the problem?

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Question:

Dear Donna,

I work in an inpatient infirmary at a correctional facility. Our usual staffing is two RNs and two LPNs. Our census is up to 21. Last week, one RN was scheduled to be off without a replacement. One LPN called in sick, which left us with two nurses and 18 patients. I felt it was unsafe. I called the administrator and left a voicemail for her about the situation. No call back. I called the ADON — she was out sick and said she would call back. No response. Do I need to contact human resources? This is not the first time management has been unresponsive to staffing needs.

Cheryl

Dear Donna replies:

Dear Cheryl,

I consulted a human resource expert on this. Here’s what he had to say: “The on-call administrator and ADON bear responsibility in this situation — the administrator because she should have been available to deal with any crises that might arise, and the ADON because she was aware of a problem but failed to act. There is a big difference between unresponsiveness on the part of administration and administrative decisions with which an employee does not agree. The latter is a part of life, but the former never is acceptable, in my opinion. If management truly is unresponsive, I believe the nurse should document all incidents and file a formal complaint in accordance with the organization’s established procedure. HR can provide guidance on the best way to go about doing this.”

My best wishes,
Donna

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About Author

Donna Cardillo, RN, MA, well-known career guru, is Nursing Spectrum/NurseWeek’s “Dear Donna” and author of “Your First Year as a Nurse: Making the Transition from Total Novice to Successful Professional” and “The ULTIMATE Career Guide for Nurses: Practical Advice for Thriving at Every Stage of Your Career.” Information about the books is available at www.Nurse.com/CE/7010 and www.Nurse.com/CE/7250, respectively. To ask Donna your question, go to www.Nurse.com/asktheexperts/deardonna. Find a “Dear Donna” seminar near you: Call 800-866-0919 or visit http://events.nursingspectrum.com/Seminar.

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