I went to a staff meeting today, and I left feeling angry. I’m in a sour mood.

The meeting started off fine. We ate cookies, and talked about a few problems that popped up during the week. Most of us hate the new VMAR machines. JCAHO mandated that we use these things when we pass medications. We were told that the new system would make passing medications less cumbersome and improve patient safety. Someone told us a big fat lie. We are now spending less time with our patients and more time trying to figure out the machine. VMAR is a piece of crap. Thanks, JCAHO.

Then we moved on to the hospital’s new pet project. We are now going to run our adult day treatment program during the weekends as a way of generating more revenue for the hospital. Our boss gave us some written information about the expanded program. You would think it would mention how this is going to benefit our patients, but it didn’t. The first item on the sheet revealed how much more money the hospital would glean off of each patient per month. Yes, I understand about needing to meet payroll and paying for other expenses like Mr. Grinch’s expensive new office furniture, but can we still please pretend, just a little bit, that the patients are still the focus of the program? And of course, we were told that we will be doing this extra work with less staff. The hospital can’t make extra money if they have to pay for additional staff.

Here’s what I see: More patients – additional nursing staff to help run the program = burnout. Here’s what the hospital sees: More patients + more billable hours = more money. I call this bottom line therapy. And people wonder why nurses are leaving the profession.