CHCC nurses work more than 100 hours every 2 weeks

NURSES at the Commonwealth Healthcare Corp. are now working more than 100 hours every two weeks to be able to maintain the standard staffing numbers at the CNMI’s only hospital.

CHCC director of nursing Renea Raho, said nurses in the Emergency Room and at the medical-surgical unit, which are the hospital’s busiest departments, usually put in 20 to 35 hours of overtime.

Raho said the regular work schedule for nurses involves 40 hours per week, and anything more than that is considered overtime.

The CW cap, she added, has affected the operation of the hospital in that it is requiring longer hours of work for the remaining nurses.

Of the 18 CW nurses affected by the cap, 12 have left the island. The other six have received their receipts from U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services that allow them to stay on island for 240 days until their renewals are approved.

“We are on 12-hour shifts,” Romillo Alkuino, ER nurse supervisor, said. “When it is busiest, the nurses will most likely extend their duty up to 16 hours.”

But he said they do not force their staff to work overtime and they cannot be deprived of their days off.

The ER used to have 15 nurses, but three of them have left the CNMI after they were “capped” in July.

Alkuino said the ER receives an average of 50 patients a day. He added that there are four nurses for the 7 a.m. to 3 p.m. shift; five for the 3 p.m. to 11 p.m.; and three   for the 11 p.m. to 7 a.m.

“Even when we were fully staffed, we had the same number of nurses per shift in the ER. But because of the CW issue, there is increased overtime for our staff,” he said, adding that their busiest days are Friday, Saturday and Sunday or when the outpatient clinic is closed.

Raho said ask that the community be patient, adding that many are complaining about the long wait in the ER.

“We want the community to understand that when they come to be seen in the ER, it does not mean that you will be seen right away. A patient that comes to ER will be assessed first and the physician will then see the patient according to his or her illness.”

In addressing the nursing shortage, CHCC Chief Executive Officer Esther Muna said they are also shifting nurses to the wards and critical areas and getting volunteers from community groups to help in the clinics’ clerical work.

Source: Marianas Variety :

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