Local View: We Lake View nurses in Two Harbors need your support – Duluth News Tribune

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We, the nursing staff at Lake View Hospital – a team of skilled, compassionate and dedicated professionals whom you have come to know and trust in our northern Minnesota communities – have come together unanimously to address long-standing staffing shortages, a sore point that predated the pandemic and has steadily snowballed into a full-scale care crisis under our hospital’s leadership.

For more than two years, we nurses at Lake View have worked well beyond our hired hours. It has greatly disrupted our personal lives, taking hours, days, weeks and even months away from our loved ones. We have asked Lake View administration and executives to ease the pressure with incentive compensation and a recruitment and retention program, as these demands placed on our nursing staff are no longer sustainable. Other large hospital systems, both locally and nationally, have made adjustments to help overcome these challenges. We are calling for fundamental reform at Lake View.

The basic staffing model established by the leadership of our hospital is two registered nurses on duty per shift. These nurses are responsible for patients of varying medical conditions and severities, including but not limited to inpatient rehabilitation, critically ill inpatients, emergency department patients, emergency care patients. emergency and outpatients who come for short treatments such as receiving blood or medication infusions.

Compared to larger hospitals with more support, we operate with limited resources like a well-oiled machine. As Registered Nurses, we often also fill the roles of respiratory therapist, IV team member, after-hours pharmacist, paramedic backup, and rapid response team member. entire hospital.

Staffing shortages among hospital executives have proven to be the biggest challenge, whether it’s keeping our seasoned nurses or recruiting enthusiastic and committed people into the workplace. Due to the decisions of our hospital directors, Lake View is operating with a reduced team with the remaining healthcare professionals. This hole leaves more burden on the staff. We are expected to take extra shifts as well as all on-call shifts with the limited number of nurses we have. We just can’t grow anymore. Studies have shown that nurse fatigue increases medication errors in our patients, precipitates employee illness, and has serious adverse effects on our mental health and cognitive function.

In addition to dire staffing needs and pandemic-induced stressors, we have become a diversion destination for area hospitals. This means that our ability to stabilize and transfer a critical patient to a higher level of care is often complicated by the inability of the receiving facility to accept more patients. For this reason, Lake View nurses are responsible for patients who require maximum specialist care for long periods of time, which further contributes to low nurse-to-patient ratios.

In the face of these challenges, Lake View was recently awarded the Guardian of Excellence award for its high marks in patient experience, thanks in large part to our nursing staff. Maintaining a high standard of care for our patients and their loved ones during these unprecedented times is something special.

We ask the administrators and managers of Lake View Hospital to treat us with the same support, benefits and incentives that many nurses have received elsewhere; reward our healthcare teams; and to stem the tide of nurses leaving the profession. After a series of ineffective conversations with Lake View administration, we are only asking for the same compensatory treatment and consideration that our fellow nurses received.

Now more than ever, we need our community to stand with the nurses of Lake View to not only help keep the wonderful RNs you know and respect, but also to continue to provide the highest quality care to all those we serve – and the care you deserve – at Lake View Hospital. Tell Lake View leaders to put patients before profits and act now.

ABOUT THIS COLUMN: The following nurses from Lake View Hospital in Two Harbors contributed to this column: Katie Banas of Two Harbors, Jessica Breden of Two Harbors, Amanda Campos of Two Harbors, Lisa Conrow of Two Harbors, Bambi DeChantal of Two Harbors, Steven Fosness of Two Harbors, Margaret Gilbert of Two Harbors, Lisa Harkins of Two Harbors, Renee Lasky of Duluth, Katie Lundgren of Two Harbors, Elizabeth Machart of Knife River, Kjersti McKinley of Duluth, Mandi Murray of Two Harbors, Cindy Proulx of Two Harbors , Stephanie Ray of Two Harbors, Jerri Swardstrom of Two Harbors, Christopher Symons of Two Harbors and Tamela Tolzmann of Two Harbors. The column was submitted to the News Tribune by Hunter Cantrell of the Minnesota Nurses Association (mnnurses.org).

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