LANSING, Mich. (WLNS) – More than 100 McLaren hospital health care workers held an informational picket outside of the new location in Lansing on Monday. Many were calling for an end to mandatory overtime shifts and for changes address to low staffing issues.
The informational picket comes as health care systems around mid-Michigan and the country face significant challenges in staffing and funding. One management expert said these are symptoms of a larger problem of turnover. Something that’s leaving nurses short-handed.
“I wanted to be that helper and when I became that nurse in this field, I didn’t come to this field to be beaten on. I didn’t come to this field to be cussed at and just belittled. In 2020, we were heroes and now you treat us like nothing like we’re zeros,” said labor and delivery nurse Tamilikia Foster.
Foster has been with McLaren hospital since 2006 and works as a labor and delivery nurse. She was one of many workers calling for an end to mandatory overtime and high patient-nurse ratios.
Michigan State University management expert, Frederick Morgeson, said this is an example of a larger problem. He says the health care industry has been focusing on retention for the last 10 years. But the pandemic gave a boost to an existing storm of growing turnover.
“This combination of tremendously high workload, inability to sort of escape from it I think creates this sort of difficult operating environment with lots of stress, lots of burn out, lots of challenges to employee well being,” said Morgeson.
He said many hospitals are balancing rising costs while managing exhausted staff. Morgeson said one solution is better collaboration, clarity, and compensation between workers and administration.
“It’s a difficult business and I think we get through the difficulties through sort of collaborative efforts on the parts of both,” said Morgeson.
As challenges continue to rock the health care field, Morgeson said stories like Foster’s will continue to be far too common.
“I shouldn’t be doing the role of five nurses as one person. And that’s what we’re talking about. When we are out here marching we are not out here to line our pockets, we want our patients to be safe,” Foster said.