Two nurses on the outpatient clinics related to Temple College Hospital filed a class-action lawsuit in federal court docket claiming they weren’t paid extra time. Learn extra
A lawsuit alleging unpaid extra time filed final week by the nurses who employees the outpatient clinics of Temple College Hospital suggests tensions are escalating as their union and the well being system’s administration negotiate a brand new contract.
In a class-action lawsuit filed in federal court docket, two nurses say Temple broke employment regulation by not paying them extra time. The civil case alleges that when nurses documented extra time, they have been criticized and even disciplined by managers for not finishing the duties throughout shift hours.
The litigation comes as Temple nurses’ earlier 3-year contract expired on Sept. 30. The 2 sides are removed from agreeing on key factors, together with nurses’ calls for for elevated staffing, members of the union bargaining workforce mentioned.
The outpatient clinics’ roughly 80 nurses are represented by the Pennsylvania Affiliation of Employees Nurses and Allied Professionals, the union that individually represents greater than 2,000 nurses and different health-care staff who employees Temple hospital.
A spokesperson for the hospital mentioned Temple doesn’t touch upon ongoing litigation. As well as, the hospital declined to touch upon the continued negotiations.
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Nurses advised The Inquirer that for the reason that onset of the pandemic, their workplaces have steadily misplaced nurses and assist employees. Whereas a lot of these positions remained vacant, the variety of sufferers has elevated. Administrative duties — resembling typing notes into affected person charts and getting prior authorization for prescriptions from insurance coverage firms — have turn into not possible to finish throughout their shift hours, leaving many to work off the clock.
Laura Fish, an obstetrics nurse, can’t keep in mind the final time she took a lunch break. She isn’t paid for the 30-minute interval however she feels that she has to work, and is pissed off that the hospital’s administration doesn’t appear to grasp why.
“After all, I didn’t take my lunch break, actually when would I’ve executed that?” she mentioned of her pondering in a latest bargaining session. “You’re the one who assigned me three jobs.”
Different nurses mentioned they often work after they clocked out, or on weekend and trip. They really feel administration discourages them from reporting these extra time hours.
One of many nurses who sued, Jennifer Malloy, is a nurse-practitioner at an HIV clinic. Lots of her sufferers additionally undergo from habit and produce other well being issues, and managing their care takes time. When she complained to administration that she has to work across the clock, she felt dismissed and ended up with a bigger case load.
“That was an enormous tipping level,” Malloy mentioned.
Requires extra nursing employees
Staffing ranges has been some extent of rivalry in contract negotiations and a motivation for nurses to unionize in hospitals throughout town, together with these affiliated with Temple. The outpatient nurses’ plight at Temple is the newest instance.
Roughly 30% of direct-care nursing positions in Pennsylvania hospitals are vacant, in response to a 2022 survey by the Hospital and Healthsystem Affiliation of Pennsylvania. Unions advocating for nurses and researchers who examine the health-care workforce cite understaffing as a principal reason for burnout that’s main some to go away bedside jobs.
Kim Brawner, a nurse-practitioner within the endocrine unit who treats sufferers with diabetes, has been at Temple for lower than a yr. She jokes that she’s “the infant” amongst extra veteran nurses, however Brawner already feels drained and overworked. She generally finds herself alone on the clinic after 5 p.m., as a result of medical assistants and entrance desk employees are instructed to go away when their shift hours are over.
“I can’t simply depart my sufferers sitting there,” she mentioned.
Fish, the obstetrics nurse, welcomed the lawsuit as a manner to verify a future contract is enforced. She additionally hopes it makes administration pay extra consideration to the nurses’ issues
“I really feel optimistic about it,” Fish mentioned. “It’s the best factor to do.”