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Hahnemann Hospital nursing assistants involved in labor dispute

The Philadelphia medical community has been wrapped-up in a controversy over Hahnemann University Hospital's announcement that they are re-structuring their staffing needs. Their announcement comes in an effort to improve patient care, but has upset many of the employees affected by the move. Those employees receiving workers' compensation payments may be particularly impacted by this news.

The hospital plans to move toward a model of patient care that will bring more Registered Nurses (RNs) into the hospital. Hospital officials began experimenting with patient care involving only Registered Nurses, without including Certified Nursing Assistants (CNAs), and they reported success in that effort. The announcement could force as many as 127 CNAs out of their jobs.

As soon as the announcement to eliminate the CNAs over a period of time was made, many of those employees began to protest the hospital's decision. The CNAs are joined by some other hospital employees in their efforts to be heard. They feel unfairly targeted by the new plan.

The hospital acknowledges the difficulty of the decision, but insists they are looking out for the best interests of their patients. Those involved in the RN-centric model of care reported the benefits of spending more time with their patients.

There may be some unintended consequences of the hospital's decision. Those CNAs who are receiving workers' compensation payments may be unnecessarily harmed by this decision. For those injured on the job, receiving workers' compensation is very important. However, if those employees are selected to lose their job, they will likely lose the compensation payments which they have come to rely on to make up for lost wages and medical expenses. Furthermore, those receiving workers' compensation payments may be among the first to be let go.

When making far-reaching staffing decisions it's very important to explore all the ways it may impact personnel. If certain CNAs are unnecessarily hurt by the hospital's decision, they may have legitimate reasons to be angered. For the sake of the hospital staff and patients, the dispute will hopefully be resolved in an agreeable manner.

Source: NBC10 Philadelphia, "Nursing Assistants Protest Outside Hahnemann," David Chang, Feb. 7, 2012

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