Nursing Voices

Monday, December 11, 2006

The Hospital Grinch

Every couple of years, our hospital hires an outside company to find out why our employees are bummed out. They pay the company thousands of dollars to send out employee surveys, and to comply data into a report. The reports always reveal that the morale in the hospital is going down the tubes. Hospital administrators wring their hands, and offer cookies to the nursing staff to make it all better. This year I’m going to save the hospital a lot of money by telling them why our staff feels demoralized. Ready?
We work for the Grinch.

Traditionally, nurses and other hospital staff at our facility place few expectations on our hospital administrator. He signs our checks and says hello to employees in the hallway. However, every year the employees expect to receive a Christmas gift card that we can use at a local supermarket and a hospital Christmas party. The nurses especially look forward to the party. It’s the one time of the year when they can really dress up like princesses and go out to have a good time. Two weeks ago, the employees received a letter in the mail. It said,

“Dear valued employees:

In the spirit of the holidays, the administrative staff of the most wonderful hospital in the world sends you Christmas greetings. And oh yes, by the way, since we’re not making a lot of money this year, you’re not getting your gift card and we are canceling the holiday party. It’s too expensive to show you how much we appreciate all of your hard work. And since we know that our employees have big hearts, we are offering payroll deduction so you can contribute your hard earned money to pay for gift cards that will be given to the 120 employees that we pay the least throughout the year. Have a Happy New Year!”

The staff was thunderstruck. We knew the boss was cheap, but this letter would put Scrooge to shame. Frankly, I never go to the parties, and while the gift cards are nice, it won’t break my piggybank if I don’t get a card this year. What I’m upset about is the message Mr. Grinch is sending to the employees. He must not know that it’s not nice to put coal in the Christmas stockings of nurses during a nursing crisis. It’s short sighted, and it’s really a stupid thing to do. Someone forgot to tell him that nurses hold grudges and have a long memory.

Merry Christmas, Mr. Grinch.


Blogger Dead Nurse said...

This must be a trend among hospital administrators. Last year our gift was a $5 gift certificate to Baskin Robbins. This year: nothing. Ho, ho, ho...

1:35 AM  
Blogger Smalltown RN said...

Well we don't get Christmas gifts from our administrator...if we are lucky they will hold a tea...wha hoo!!! Gosh girl I love how you make me smile...I am convinced you have missed your calling....but then is only a nurse who can really tell it as it is...maybe you should submit some of your stories to your local nursing magazine..I am sure you would become very popular very quickly....

Take care my friend...obtw...hows the ankle?

7:30 AM  
Blogger Mother Jones RN said...

Hi guys:

Thanks for the kudos. The ankle is fine, but Dr. Fancy Pants now admits he sent me back to work too early. My toes are broken. Gee, maybe next time he should listen to his patient. Of course, the is nothing you can do for broken toes, but it does explains why I was in so much pain.

Baskin Robbins ice cream. Yummy:-)


10:15 AM  
Blogger poody said...

Typical nurses get the shaft again. I love the part about giving money for the less moneyed employees.

11:18 AM  
Blogger The Curmudgeon said...

I can't imagine why you're experiencing high turnover at your place of employment.

And of course these kind of money-saving cut backs make sense because... as we all know... health care costs aren't rising nearly as fast as other costs.

Ha ha ha.

I mean, ho ho ho.


11:51 AM  
Blogger SQT said...

You do work for the Grinch! WTF?

11:59 AM  
Blogger Deacon Barry said...

Was that letter the actual one, or is it a translation of the management-speak: "Due to a shortfall in the financial throughput of this health-care facility, the management regrets the necessity of transferring resources from the Human Resources hospitality budget (item 1701: Holiday gratuity program). We are assured of your implicit compliance and understanding of the straitened fiscal situation at this point in the fiancial year. Your forbearance is appreciated."
Am I right?

12:48 PM  
Blogger Mother Jones RN said...

Well, I did a little paraphrasing, however the letter was blunt. It wasn’t very fancy and full of technical financial terms. But it was full of BS.

1:27 PM  
Blogger Shaun Mullen said...

Blog administer:

The email in your profile kicks back. Please email me with a good email.

1:42 PM  
Blogger Jean-Luc Picard said...

I can't believe there are places that send messages like that.

We get lots of health & safety guidelines in putting up Christmas trees.

2:54 PM  
Blogger apgaRN said...

Oh my, MJ...
That Mr. Grinch really knows how to do it up good. And I thought I had something to complain about when the managers told us they'll be coming around with brownie sundaes as a thank-you to staff since our patient satisfaction scores are at an all-time high. (What is this, 4th grade?) You got me beat. Do you have to work Christmas? Hope you're spending some quality holiday time with your loved ones.

5:02 PM  
Blogger Bohemian Road Nurse... said...

My last Road Nurse Company did a similar "corporate cutback" on Christmas bonus stuff, in a very rude and impersonal way. They went too far, though, because this year almost all of their nurses quit and now the company is floundering. (People got tired of being treated like slaves.) Hey, I'm sorry your poor little piggies are broken. I know that must be no fun at all. But on a positive note, remember, you're allowed one wish on the Christmas tree on Christmas Eve.....

8:32 PM  
Blogger Janet said...

WTF? That is pathetic!

The very first hospital I worked in back in 1977 gave all the employees a $5 check for Christmas and took taxes out of it. One would hope things would have changed a little since then. Obviously not.

I hope you are getting some time off work for your injury.

Take care.

9:55 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

when I was working at a local nursing home, we were given catalogs of different items to choose from(ie., toasters, radios, tools). The last year I worked there, the admin took those catalogs away and gave us a $5 certificate to a local grocery store! Plus which our Christmas bonus money was taken away altogether. Merry Humbug Christmas Mr. Scrooge! You're in good company with the Grinch.

10:24 PM  
Blogger Laura said...

gah! reminds me of the time my hospital that i worked for abck in thday did a similar thing. the ceo sent an email declaring that rather than give us th holidy git cards the administration was donating the cost of those cards to the hundreds of employees to a local food bank....a very worthy thing but still i would like to choose what to do with my meager $25 gift card. that year we were cash strapped as my husband had been out of work for nearly 2 years so i could have used that gift card to feed my own fmily a holiday dinner. then to add insult to injury we learned that management was sent to a week long retreat at an exclusive chi-chi riche spa in Pebble Beach on the hospital's dime.
oh yeah baby!
this year a new employer and it seems there will be no bonus nor a lump of coal. but i do get the pleasure of working christmas eve and day!

3:37 AM  
Blogger Jo said...

We get a weekday party in a conference room of the hospital. Free food and door prizes if we can neglect our patients long enough to come.
There will be educational booths there as well!

We don't get any bonuses or gifts.


10:03 AM  
Blogger Gerbil said...

You could always go work at the Heart Attack Grill and get your bonus in the form of tips...

Actually, I was kinda hoping you'd seen this particular article in your local AP affiliate and ranted about it already. That would be a thinly disguised hint.

2:53 PM  
Blogger Kris said...

The outpatient offices aren't safe, either! We DID get a holiday party this year (2 drink MAXIMUM, thank you), but bonuses were a joke, and we had just recovered from 6-digit-costing "efficiency experts" telling us how to run our chemo facility like an assembly line. Did you know that 14 nurses could feesibly do 121 treatments a day? WOW!! (I'm not making those numbers up!)

10:42 PM  
Blogger Christopher said...

You mean that was the actual letter? I started reading it and thought it was you paraphrasing it with what they really meant. That is HORRENDOUS, and a real manager would know it. What a jackass!

Poor MJ...they should know how lucky they are to have you. Heck, they should know how lucky they are to have jobs themselves!

2:22 PM  
Blogger M. Simon said...

The cure for broken toes is Baskin Robbins preceeded or followed by vitamin C to get the calcium absorbed.

Maybe you can get it prescribed.


2:05 AM  
Blogger M. Simon said...


That is about 8.65 patients a day. That means they are counting on you to lose .35 patients a day or some one is not pulling their weight.

BTW I'm an engineer and love to run the numbers. LOL

2:09 AM  

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