Notes from the Frontline

call buttonReports submitted by nurses paint a concerning picture of patient safety behind hospital walls.

From being inadequately prepared with enough staff to handle crises, to providing little or no help when nurses call for it, patient lives are too often at risk in a system without a Standard of Care.


Patient required a stay of over 9 hours in the hospital and had a blood reaction that was provided minimal observation due to lack of staff.

During shift hospital was working with our skeleton staffing and had a compliment of ED patients. Code Blue in another building required hospital staff  to respond. This left a full hospital of patients, including a new mother and newborn baby, ER patient, and an incoming ambulance to be managed by one RN and one aide.

At 3:00 p.m, patient’s discharge paperwork was mostly done and personal arrangements made for pick up. Yet she didn’t walk out the door until 5:30 p.m. because I didn’t have the 20 minutes to devote to going over her discharge instructions until 5:00 p.m.

Unit has 12 beds with a staffing assignment of 4:1 max. Upon shift change, there were 12 patients and only 2 nurses to take them on, thus causing the nurses to take 6 patients a piece.

RN on our shift had to leave at 2:00 a.m. to help in surgery. When supervisor was contacted about being short-staffed, was told “there was no one,” and we were lucky to have her until 2:00 a.m. because she was supposed to be in surgery the whole shift. When asked who was to cover her patients when she left, supervisor had no answer.

Patient Story

arlene townsend staffing award

Unsafe staffing costs a Florida facility $1 billion

From Trial Magazine, March 2014 issue: Trial Magazine, 3/11/14 VERDICTS & SETTLEMENTS Arlene Townsend, 63 suffered a stroke and required 24-hour care. She was admitted to Auburndale Oaks Healthcare Center, a nursing home owned by Trans Healthcare, Inc. In the three years leading up to her death, Townsend suffered numerous fall resulting in broken bones and lacerations, infections, significant weight loss, chronic constipation, skin breakdowns, dehydration, and other problems. She is survived by her adult son. Townsend’s estate sued Trans Healthcare, alleging that it had understaffed the nursing home to increase profits and failed to provide adequate care, including protecting Townsend from falls, ensuring a safe environment, and documenting changes to her condition. The court entered a judgment of liability against the defendant, and the…
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