New national survey of nurses and healthcare workers at HCA hospitals sounds alarm bells: nearly 80 percent of respondents report short staffing is jeopardizing patient care at America’s largest for-profit hospital corporation
Originally Published: Jan 13, 2022 | Republished Oct 21, 2022
“The crisis inside HCA has reached new heights that endanger the well-being of frontline health care workers and the lives of patients,” says one nurse respondent.
Washington, D.C. — In a new national survey of more than 1,500 frontline nurses and healthcare workers at the America’s largest for-profit hospital chain, HCA Healthcare (NYSE:HCA), workers report crisis-level short staffing inside HCA hospitals, a harrowing lack of preparedness for the current Omicron variant surge, escalating burnout and an alarming lack of responsiveness from management in the face of daily patient care concerns.
The survey found that 79 percent of responding nurses and healthcare workers reported unsafe staffing levels so egregious they directly jeopardized patient care. Seventy-six percent of respondents said their facility’s leadership “does not take adequate action to address the needs of frontline nurses or healthcare workers.”
“There is no more demoralizing feeling than when you run yourself ragged to do as much as you can for your patients, but 12 hours later leave your shift feeling like you didn’t do enough because you’re so short staffed,”
said Jody Domineck, a registered nurse with 17 years of experience in the pediatrics unit at HCA’s Sunrise Hospital and Medical Center.
“Nurses are left to bear this emotional and physical burden on top of everything else now and it’s taking a devastating toll.”
“Frontline nurses and healthcare workers have been demanding solutions to the short staffing crisis at HCA well before this pandemic”,
said Mary Kay Henry, SEIU International President.
”They’ve spoken out for patients at the bargaining table and strike line and in their communities time and time again. The question is, when are for-profit healthcare corporations like HCA going to finally put patients and healthcare workers first? If not now, in the midst of this pandemic, then when?”
As major hospital corporations continue to blame the pandemic for dangerous staffing levels, the issue of understaffing at HCA long predates the COVID-19 crisis.
HCA’s short staffing crisis in hospitals across America has existed long before the pandemic, with HCA’s hospital staffing levels consistently running about 30% below the national industry averages for the past several years.
The survey gathered the following alarming conclusions (percentages are rounded to the nearest whole):
83 percent of respondents agreed or strongly agreed with the assertion,
“I feel my floor or unit does not have the right level of staff for the patients I care for or my role.”
89 percent of respondents agreed or strongly agreed with the assertion,
“I feel short staffing at my hospital is compromising patient care.”
79 percent of respondents answered
“Have you ever witnessed patient care be jeopardized by short staffing?”
76 percent of respondents agreed or strongly agreed with the assertion,
“I feel my facility’s leadership does not take adequate action to address the needs of frontline nurses or healthcare workers like myself.”
68 percent of respondents agreed or strongly agreed with the assertion,
“I do not feel my hospital is prepared for the next COVID-surge, and patient care will be compromised.”
63 percent of respondents agreed or strongly agreed with the assertion,
“I feel I am being forced to find a new job/profession due to short staffing and burnout.”
About the Survey
This opt-in survey of 1,500 SEIU nurses and healthcare workers working at HCA hospitals in California, Florida, Missouri, Kansas, Nevada and Texas was conducted from December 13, 2021 to January 10, 2022. The survey has a margin of error of +/- 3%.
More than one million healthcare workers across hospitals, in-home care, and in nursing homes are united in the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), the nation’s largest union of healthcare workers. SEIU is an organization of nearly 2 million members united by a belief in the dignity and worth of workers and the services they provide. SEIU is dedicated to improving the lives of workers, families, and communities to create a more just and humane society.
“Bruce’s discharge was authorized by an imposter who was neither a psychiatrist nor a physician. The “doctor” was eventually convicted and imprisoned for perjury and practicing medicine without a license.” – Bruce v. Estelle, 536 F.2d 1051, 1053 (5th Cir. 1976)