The Other Trauma At SF General Hospital

root - Posted on 05 August 2009

Nurses and Certified Nurses Assistants are laid off at SF General - Patients will suffer

by Bruce Allison/PNN - Media Faclilitator Thornton Kimes/PNN

When Care Not Cash got started, a training program was begun at San Francisco General Hospital for Certified Nursing Assistants (CNA’s) and Licensed Vocational Nurses (LVN’’s).  This was to help CalWorks clients find a new career and jobs.  This time around, during the budget crunch, the CNA’s and LVN’s are being laid off as too expensive; both being replaced by administrators who may well have not beat feet on the hospital wards as actual nurses in years.

As a former CNA I can tell you this is not an easy job;  aside from the taking of pulse, respiration, blood pressure, temperature, and other tasks (like installing or changing catheter bags), dealing with people who are sometimes confused and angry about their situations is part of the work.  You either love it or you are in Job Hell.

If you like doing this, you become a better person and commit to making the job your career.  You become who you would like to see by your bedside when it’s your turn.  They are never paid their full worth. 

Mayor Gavin Newsome has taken CNA’s and LVN’s from S.F. General, plus the unit clerks who do clerical tasks and are unofficial nurses assisting the professionals and  social workers who direct homeless clients into respite housing until their illnesses and wounds get better or heal. 

Respite beds at Next Door  (Polk and Geary Streets), other shelters and SRO hotels, have been cut in half along with their staff.  A few days ago, this poverty scholar went to a rally for the nurses who have been laid off.   Patients and health care activist organizations gave testimony. 

A heart attack survivor who had been treated at the nationally known and respected S.F. General Trauma Unit (which has also been deeply affected by the cuts) said that he wouldn’t have survived his ordeal without the professionalism, loving care, and badly needed conversation, humor and laughter of the CNA’s and LVN’s;  a social worker from Child Protective Services (CPS) spoke about the children seen in the unit suffering from parental abuse (cigarette burns, stab wounds, and other horrors)—the experienced staff cheer the kids up and make separation from their parents less scary. 

Waiting time in S.F. General’s Emergency/Trauma waiting room, which is no picnic to begin with for any uninsured person waiting to be seen for anything, will increase by at least another 4 hours—as they sit in uncushioned uncomfortable chairs (possibly bought on sale or acquired from the lowest bidder—to put it nicely; designed by the Marquis de Sade if you want to be mildly mean about it).  The nurses stood in a circle at the Emergency Room entrance to say goodbye to their laid off comrads as the rally ended. 

From Bruce:
Dear Mayor:  your adversary, this Poverty Scholar so far left-wing he can’t make right turns, wants to know if you are getting this tired old ball of wax rolling again—setting up hopes for another “generation” of homeless mothers to be trained into medical jobs and careers (or the next career fad that comes along), only for them to be crushed and disappointed by the next cycle of economic doom and gloom invented by The People Who Brought You The Sub-Prime Mortgage Meltdown and their proteges?  You’re not getting my vote for Governor!  I have a lot of friends on Facebook and they feel the same way.


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