Wednesday, August 04, 2021

Hospital's corporate attitude bad for the community

| June 16, 2021 1:00 AM

I am fortunate to be a healthy individual who has required only one hospitalization for a serious surgery. The surgeon was superb, but the professionals who were with me 24/7 were nurses. Their skill and commitment were invaluable to me. They were not there to simply empty bedpans and feed me, but to monitor my physical condition and to make vital judgement calls. I counted on their expertise.

I hope I will never have to be hospitalized again, because who in their right mind wants to be? However, if I were to be a patient again, I would want to feel assured that the nurses caring for me were well cared for by their hospital administration, were respected by that administration for the education they had undertaken, for their commitment to their profession and for their skill, allowing them in return to provide the skilled care their patients require and deserve.

Therefore, I am appalled by the corporate attitude of Logan Health toward the nurses at our community hospital, KRH. A highly paid CEO and administrative staff are refusing to negotiate reasonable salaries, benefits, scheduling and nursing staff inclusion in related decision making. It appears immaterial to them that they are going to drive out skilled, dedicated nurses who, if adequately compensated, would remain at KRH and provide an ongoing foundation for a professionally strong nursing staff committed to the Flathead Valley community and to providing exceptional care for those of us who live here.

Rather than enriching and strengthening their nursing staff, Logan is choosing to create a situation which will result in burnout and will drive out quality staff who will need to relocate in order to earn the living wage and related benefits they are asking for. They will be replaced by a revolving door of less experienced nurses who have no incentive to continue their education and by traveling nurses who are not committed to the community or its hospital.

This is about the corporate bottom line, not about providing quality patient care and building community and customer confidence. It is not about respecting the value of nursing professionals who are dedicated to their community and have invested thousands of hours and dollars in their education, some investing also in paying out of pocket for post-graduate internships to build the skills to better serve their patients.

There is no evident respect for nursing staff, patients or the community. Logan’s stance is inexcusable from the standpoints of both medical professionalism and quality patient care.

It is a shame that those of us who reside in the Flathead Valley may be forced to accept decreasing quality of care due to corporate self-interest.

Ann Adams lives in Whitefish.