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Dear Editor,

Nurses shouldn't have to answer as to why they work so much overtime. The questions should be: "Why are nurses being investigated for working so many hours overtime?" "Why aren't LBJ Hospital's administrators and HR Dept. being investigated for making nurses work these many hours?" "Do they not understand that working these many hours is risky, especially when taking care of the lives of our Samoan people?"

Not enough nurses means: one nurse spends more time away from home to do the task that two or even three nurses are required to do. In the past, our people were not as sick as they are today. There are more complex cases, multiple diagnosis, multiple treatments, and multiple medications that require more time for a nurse to spend at the bedside - more sick people, more procedures to be done, more tests to run, more lives to save.

To add to that, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) places more demands on the standard of care, which jeopardizes funding to the Hospital if the nurses are not in compliance. Yet, not enough nurses are employed to meet these demands.

So what happens in this situation? The nurses give up their days off to be the other nurse. She gives up her family time to allow her patients to have more time with their families.

Her feet are hurting from the long hours of standing, walking from room to room. She really wants a day off, but some other nurse's child was sick so she came in to cover for her. She missed the PTA meeting, her child's football or basketball game because she is trying to make sure that she doesn't abandon her patient.

She says goodbye to her family in the morning, not knowing if she will see them at night. Sometimes she has to call her husband to bring her a change of clothes because there was no nurse to come in for the next shift. Why do you investigate the nurse's overtime hours when you can just ask her family and they will tell you that she is at the hospital taking care of YOUR sick family member? After all these hours of work, all these hours away from her family, they need to be investigated?

Shame on you! It is against the Fair Labor Standards Act to withhold their money from them. They threatened not to come to work, but guess what? They showed up.

Because that's what defines a nurse.

This is the difference between a nurse and a regular employee. A NURSE is a person that cares for another person.


A frustrated - but dedicated- nurse

(Editor’s Note: Samoa News’ Letter to the Editor policy does not allow the publishing of LTEs without a name. However, the editorial board allowed this exception due to the letter writer’s fear of reprisal by LBJ management, who has allegedly told its employees, including nurses, that communication with media of hospital issues is not to happen. ra)