CommonHealth Analysis: Nursing Staff Levels At Tufts Medical Center Trail Competitors, Data Suggest

There’s a heated dispute currently underway between the Massachusetts Nurses Association — specifically the 1,200 RN’s at Tufts Medical Center — and management at the hospital. They are engaged in contract negotiations that haven’t been pretty. The nurses accuse the hospital of allowing staffing levels to fall so low over the past year that patient care has slipped and conditions have become dangerous; the nurses have complained to the hospital’s board citing numerous examples of egregious care. The hospital, in response, says its care has in no way faltered, and that the complaints are part of a national union strategy to boost the nurses’ bargaining power.

So what’s the truth?

We decided to look at the numbers, and came up with a simple analysis of nursing staff levels based on publicly available 2011 data from a statewide hospital-sponsored website called Patient Care Link. According to these numbers, it appears that registered nurses at Tufts Medical Center do spend less time caring for patients in key medical units such as the emergency department and adult critical care unit compared to nurses at the other Boston teaching hospitals. Tufts also has a more meager nurse-to-patient ratio in its combined medical-surgical unit compared to other hospitals with similar units, according to the data from Patient Care Link.

Nurses: Less Time With Patients

Our analysis basically calculated the number of hours nurses are scheduled to work, and divided that by the average number of patients seen in the particular unit. This measure is called “nurse hours per patient visit.” So, for instance, in its emergency department, Tufts provides 1.98 nurse hours per patient visit (again, the average number of hours a nurse cares for a patient during that patient’s visit to the ER), according to the website numbers. That’s fewer nurse hours compared to the other teaching hospitals: we calculated 3.2 nurse hours per patient visit at Massachusetts General Hospital; 2.36 hours at the Brigham & Women’s Hospital and 2.31 hours at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center.

Let me say here that Patient Care Link is far from a precise measurement of staffing levels. It’s a site sponsored by the Massachusetts Hospital Association. It’s voluntary and non-binding. And all it asks is that hospitals submit their staffing plans. Still, these are the numbers that are available. And short of sneaking into the hospital undercover and doing headcounts, this is all the public has to work with. If anyone out there has a better way to figure this out, please let us know.

A spokesperson for Tufts Medical Center doesn’t dispute our numbers, per se, but says such comparisons don’t offer the full picture and that patient care at the hospital remains top-notch. “The numbers don’t truly tell the whole story,” says Tufts’ Julie Jette.

Nevertheless, here are the numbers:

Boston Teaching Hospitals
Unit Type Tufts MGH BWH BIDMC
Emergency Department
RN Hours Per Patient Visit
1.98 3.2 2.36 2.31
Adult Critical Care-Surgical
RN Hours Per Patient Day (24 Hours)
15.2 20.49 19.79 17.54
Hospitals with ACC Med/Surg Combined
Tufts Newton-Wellesley Good Sam Winchester
Adult Critical Care- Medical / Surgical Combined
RN Hours Per Patient Day (24 Hours)
13.33 15.48 15.45 15.04

Longer Wait Times

Nurses say this dip in staffing — with fewer nurses available for more patients — has a detrimental effect on patient care. Barbara Tiller, an RN at Tufts for 21 years, says patients now wait a lot longer for a nurse. “These are patients in pain, ringing the bell, and waiting 20, 40 minutes,” she says, “or patients who can’t get out of the bed to toilet themselves, and then they end up waiting there in a wet, soiled bed.”

Tiller said patients often wait if they have problems with their IV, and some wait just to get the IV started. “Some patients have waited three to four hours to start an IV — and if they have an infection, and are waiting for antibiotics, they’re that much sicker when we get to them,” she says. “With less nurses, the delays just snowball.” And these delays cause “a failure to rescue,” Tiller says. “If you have a nurse at the bed you notice more subtle changes which are indicative of patients getting sicker. Now, the patients get worse and nobody notices — there’s nobody watching because we’re all running around.”

Tiller said in the past year or two, “nurses on every floor have taken an increase in the patients they care for in the shift.” For instance, she said, at night, each nurse is assigned six or seven patients, when previously she had only five to care for. “If one patient has a problem, the others don’t get seen,” she said. During the day each nurse was assigned “three or four patients, now it’s five,” Tiller said.

Because of these staffing changes, the nurses’ union is ramping up its efforts, with a flash mob calling for “Safe Staffing Now,” earlier this week, and an informational picket later this month.

The Hospital Responds

Tufts offered a lengthy response to our analysis, but I’ve broken it down to three key points:

1. Apples to Oranges
“Categories of units in different hospitals, even if they are described or named similarly, may have significantly different patient populations and employ different technology, have different types of support staff, etc,” Tufts says. “Comparing units in separate hospitals can be like comparing apples to oranges. For example, some EDs include a clinical observation unit, which would change the staffing figures. And some CCUs accept overflow patients from surgical units who are not as critical as other ICU patients, which would mean they might not need to staff as high. Some hospitals have “step down” units where less critical patients who need less nursing attention can go following time in the ICU; other hospitals have these patients and the associated nursing assignments in their ICU numbers.

2. The Team Approach
“It is important to note that an advancement Tufts Medical Center has made is to bring teams of other caregivers to the units on a regular basis to assist in delivering care and in performing duties that do not need to be assigned to nurses. (This is in addition to the clinical care technicians whose time is also counted on Patient Care Link hppd figures.) For example, our inpatient pharmacists round with our physicians to interact directly with our patients regarding medications. We also have additional RN help who aren’t counted in the PCL figures, including clinical resource nurses who are available around the clock to assist any unit that needs additional assistance. These nurses are among our most highly skilled. Clinical Nurse Educators are also available to all nursing staff.”

3. Quality Counts
“We also think it’s important to note that staffing ratios are not a substitute for true quality indicators. Independent, third-party organizations have examined our quality and we compare very well with our local competitors and other academic medical centers nationally. Some of our recent quality achievements include:

In 2010, The University Health System Consortium rated us 6th in the country for quality and patient safety. (Right behind the Mayo Clinic at the #5 spot). This study, released annually, incorporates six areas identified by the Institutes of Medicine as key quality measures that are important to patient care: safety, timeliness, effectiveness, efficiency, equity and patient centeredness. Tufts Medical Center was the only hospital in New England to achieve this ranking.

When reviewing heart failure, pneumonia and heart attack care as well as surgical infection prevention, the Joint Commission’s most recent Quality Report in January 2011 gave Tufts MC the highest marks of any Boston academic medical center.

The American Heart and American Stroke Associations recently awarded Tufts MC the Stroke Gold Plus Achievement Award.

Harvard Pilgrim Health Care has placed the physicians of Tufts Medical Center and NEQCA on its Honor Roll with Distinction for Adult and Pediatric care.

Again, if anyone has an alternative way to get to the truth of this dispute, please step forward.

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  • Emily

    This hospital is full of great staffing that they always cover well in terms of not showing shortages in patient care. I was recently admitted there on numerous occasions and even though this hospital seems short staffed, their team of nurses and especially Clinical Care Technicians work harder and harder to ensure patients are safe and well treated.
    I feel like things are going the wrong way though. They are making mistakes in management and I see their best staff leaving or trying to leave to other Boston hospitals. Most recently they had a Clinical Care Technician who is an ABSOLUTE STAR and who recently graduated nursing school; and he’s about to leave because they have not offered him a position. This guy is a Clinical Care Technician with unbelievable talent and care. He already thinks and acts better and quicker than some experienced nurses and he’s leaving this team. He also just won a big time award at Tufts as Clinical Care Tech of the year; so they obviously know he’s THAT good. I don’t understand why you don’t hold on to your best people? There are also 2 other nurses who are friends of mine who work at Tufts. They are both awesome and amazing nurses and are actively searching for jobs elsewhere, and their reason: They want to provide better care and they feel they can’t do that at Tufts.
    I just know this. They better start holding onto their Talent and to people with these positive attitudes or they will quickly become the trash of Boston Hospitals.

  • Reality

    I think someone ought to ask TMC how much money was spent hiring consultants to come up with the Care Delivery Model. How does that compare to getting an extra nurse?

    I think someone needs to ask if there was money lost in the implementation of that model

    I think someone ought to ask The administrators at TMC who will be held accountable for the poor implementation of that Model.
    I think someone ought to ask The admin people at TMC when the nurses actually started complaining about poor staffing levels and compare that to when MNA negotiations really started.
    I think someone ought to ask Ellen Zane….could there be a chance, a small one maybe that these nurses are not being coerced, that they have genuine concerns that she should listen to.

    I think someone needs to ask Ellen if she is concerned in the least bit that she could be wrong about a “national agenda” and perhaps that now the public perceives her as irrational

  • Reality

    About 5 or more years ago I had a patient with liver failure. She was young and by some mishap killed her liver. I remember thinking as I walked on to the unit,wow there is a lot going on in that room, so much equipment. I was steel faced when I realized this was my assignment.
    I will never forget this assignment for as long as I shall live. There was an Intra Aortic Balloon Pump obviously now her heart was involved; there was levophed to keep her blood pressure up; there was CVVH for continuous hemo-dialysis, there was a ventilator to do the work of breathing for her. At the time the type of CVVH machine was the kind that if you blew on it too hard it would alarm and stop working, and it was extremely tasky. Happily today we have better ones. To complicate this, the patient was awake, crying and in pain. Any kind of sedation and pain medication quickly dropped her blood pressure.I continually had to check with the patient about her level of discomfort and trying to alleviate same. It was a tough to balance.
    Then the decision was she needed a liver transplant. This generates a whole new level of care and attention from the transplant team. Still one nurse carrying out new and additional orders from new doctors.
    Her family was simply awesome, I dont know how I found time but I made her mom a cup of tea because I didnt know what else to do and I thought that would have offered me some comfort.She was grateful.
    There were several times during that night that I needed to take a bathroom break and literally squeezed my legs together because there was one more thing to do before I could leave the room. Then the urge would pass. When I finally went to the bathroom it wasnt so much to go as to take 5 minutes to think about what else I had to do when I returned to the patient.
    Even now as I dredge up this story I am tearing up.
    I am not sure how this sounds to a non medical person, but it was truly overwhelming for everyone.
    She was the only patient I was assigned that night.

    Today at TMC this scenario might have played out differently. Any nurse caring for this patient would be assigned another patient as well. Imagine how chaotic this kind of care is and imagine how much care the other patient will receive. Imagine if you are the other patient and something suddenly goes wrong.
    An occurrence like that was a once in a while kind of thing and so yes you suck it up even though another nurse would have been better for the patient outcome. But today this is an everyday occurrence, working under chaotic conditions. If you truly need another nurse someone at home in bed has to be called for approval. So now instead of caring for the patient time is spent waking up a manager waiting till he gets a full understanding of the situation to make that decision.
    This is one way Tufts has gone wrong and as health care consumers everyone should take an interest and try to understand what the nurses are asking for. It is time to stop playing games and stop slandering the nurses.

    There has to be another way to cut costs. I urge the CEO and Nurse administrators to look more closely and try to be more creative.

  • abused CRN

    As a Clinical Resource Nurse for Tufts Medical Center and Floating Hospital for Children. I am responsible for IVs, blood draws, as an educational resource, an extra set of hands, rapid response nurse to assess a patient’s changed condition, codes, transport patients to procedures, provide sedation to patients and help with trauma patients in the ED. Yes, I can tell you there is only one or two RNs for the adult side and one RN for the Pediatric side. The Pediatric Clinical Resource Nurse also functions as the Pediatric Transport Nurse, going to out lying hospitals, when they call, to transport very ill children back to the Floating Hospital for Children. The hospital has decided to take the approach, to staff for patients presently in the hospital only. Not for the what if. In the hope that there will be no more admissions to the hospital. This is a unbelievable gamble. Patients do not just get ill just during the day time. Freguently, the Clinical Resource Nurses are pulled into staffing on patient care units, to provide Primary Care Nursing. This removes a valuable resourse to the rest of all th e patient care units. Especially on units where the RNs are not allowed to start IVs or do blood draws. I myself, am used as a staff nurse at least 24 hours if not more (greater than 85% at times), in a two week pay period. All of the CRNs have gone to the administration regarding this issue and have been told, “we are only doing this in an emergency.” Twenty four hours or greater in a two week period is not an emergency. The hospital has also sent RNs home and used the CRNs as staffing as a plan to staff the units.

  • TuftsRN

    Let me start by stating that I wish it never got this far. I’ve been a pediatric nurse at Tufts through many turbulent times. There have been highs and lows as in any hospital. Never have the patients experienced any of the lows in the past because we were always able to work longer, forgo lunches and breaks to meet the needs of out patients. We can’t work that fast anymore. We come up short every single shift and the patients are feeling it. We can see it in the frustrated looks and angry comments from family members advocating for their children. We can hear the babies crying as we run down the halls to assist another child. Are they crying due to pain, due to hunger, are their diapers wet? All assessments that we have to make on the fly and hope that they are the right assessments. When these situations were brought up at an advisory meeting, we were basically told by the CNO that medicine has changed since we started over 30 years ago and we no longer have time to comfort the babies. Part of Tufts welcome page states “At our children’s hospital we treat each child as if they are our own”. I can tell you this is not how I treat my children and it kills me that I have to treat other people’s children this way.
    I never got involved in any of this activity until 4 years ago. Our staff is cut in half at the same time that the census has doubled. It is easy for management to make decisions in another building behind closed doors. It’s not easy to implement their decisions on the front line. It’s not easy to absorb the frustration this causes. I hear babies cry in my sleep, I lose sleep the nights before I come to work with the anxiety of not knowing how many patients we will have to admit, even if we don’t have enough nurses to care for them. Then I can’t sleep the night after my shift for fear that I missed something as I was racing from one patient to the next.

    As for “HUH?” when he/she asked if the “discord existed independent of the union action”. Ask the CEO if you could read the over 600 Unsafe Staff Reports that have been filed by nurses on almost every unit of the hospital over the last year. These reports are filed when the nurse and/or patient are placed in an unsafe situation. The hospital tries to dismiss them, but they are there. And if we have over 600 we should probably have double that number. Most nurses are too frustrated or tired to fill out one more form at the end of a horrendous shift.

  • not a nurse

    It is telling that the Tufts response does not address staff or patient satisfaction survey data, or admit to any kind of independent audit/tracking of the work being done with staff. There are many complicated factors that go into care these days, so I can understand that it’s not as easy as boiling things down to straight nursing ratios. Nonetheless, without any sound qualifying reason, the Tufts response really does come across a the ultimate brush-off and simple blamemanship.

    Big business that has its head on straight is paying close attention to the relationship between employee satisfaction and business outcomes. Health care should be leading that charge -considering that humans are at the center of the business unlike any other. Listening to the staff on the front lines is critical to understanding weak links and getting to the root of business process challenges. Nursing today has evolved into a very complex job only a tiny fraction of which is about touching, caring for and healing patients. Yet we expect that they can act as bouncers, firemen and high tech multitaskers over 12 hours shifts with 100 grumpy customers (not including the docs or administration). In what world does that give you confidence that they will manage to get every drug dosage right, or not overlook a call button that ends in cardiac arrest? I’d sooner cut back on doctors than nurses.

    I don’t doubt that sometimes unions can overplay their hands, and exaggerate issues for the sake of negotiation. But when the staff are coming back to the administration as a united front pleading for more support, it’s incongruous that they are making it up and crying wolf. Tufts needs to put its ears back on and start listening.

  • Selhub

    Returning customer
    We have had repeated experience with hospitalization at New England Med Center and we noted a marked deterioration in the attentiveness of the nursing staff during a recent hospitalization. There may have been additional staff shortages this winter because of weather and difficulty getting to work, but the nurses on the floor were overworked, tired, and inattentive. We felt that one of our family had to be at our patient’s bedside all the time to make sure basic care needs were addressed, such as toileting and providing drinks of water. We don’t want to imagine what might have happened had our patient been alone in that hospital room. At one point we pressed the call button and no one came for almost 40 minutes. Finally, we pressed it repeatedly so the ring sounded like an emergency and a nurse was there in an instant.

    • onefootoutthedoor

      I couldn’t agree more. I am a nurse at Tufts, but my father was also a patient twice last year before he passed away. We had the same care issues. Also, a friend who happens to be an MD at Tufts, had surgery here. Ellen Zane had the time to visit her, but there wasn’t a nurse around to get her out of bed and moving post-surgery. I visited the next morning, got her out of bed, walked her around the unit a couple of times, got her food, got the nurses to d/c her foley, and suggested to her that she would be better off at home. She signed herself out later that day.

      What is wrong with this picture.

  • huh?

    Patients in countries with socialized medicine like canada and the UK base their choice of hospital not on hospital care metrics like infection rates and safety awards but on staff satisfaction scores. It has been shown the hospitals with the highest staff satisfaction have the lowest mortality and morbidity. Perhaps tufts could release nurse satisfaction scores prior to the negotiations to see if discord existed independent of the union action..This might shed light on the truth of this debate

    • onefootoutthedoor

      As a long term nurse at Tufts, I can assure you, that the administration cares very little for staff satisfaction. That is at the core of many of the issues here at Tufts. It is why I, and the majority of my coworkers in my department are actively seeking employment elsewhere. I think that Tufts Administration would be afraid to make those job satisfaction surveys that we took last year public. We have been lied to and openly told that if you don’t like it, there is the door, no one is .

      I disagree.

  • Debnau

    The nurses that work in the “Front Lines” of a hospital (direct patient care on the floors, in the ER, etc.) are the best and most reliable sources of the type of care being delivered. They know, they are there. Especially seasoned nurses who have seen the pendulum swing back and forth with “creative” staffing. The results of administrative “creativity” with the sole goal of achieving fiscal top dog in the community has always resulted in unsafe staffing practices, and it is only a matter of time before sentinel events will force the hospital to re-think their fiscal achievements and apply some of that profit back into the safe care of the patients. The negative results of deep staffing cuts will stay with the hospital for a long time. It is a travesty for patients to endure, and a hell-ish nightmare for nurses who are putting their licenses on the line, working their fingers to the bone only to go home exhausted, frustrated, and feeling terrible about not being able to care for their patients properly and decently.

    Additionally, the groups in place giving out awards for hospital and physician groups select “winners” based on specific targeted data with limited input. Results of their selected criteria for receiving an award are not geared to discovering the true nature of a hospital’s real working conditions. The criteria skips over the real data that would give the accurate picture of what is happening on the floors. So while dissatisfaction and discord are on the floors, the hospital can proudly display their top dog awards in the hallways.

  • safestaffingnow

    remember that the “consortium safety award” was based on numbers prior to the implementation of the “model of care” that has ruined this hospital and sent these nurses to the street to picket for the third time. TUFTS used to have the best staffing in the city and now has the worst. Administration will tweak the numbers to suit their cause, but talk to the overworked nurses. They are the lowest paid in the city and now the surronding community hospitals as well and they work the hardest on the sickest patients in the city. Administration should listen to these nurses and correct the staffing ratios so patients do not have to be injured and die. I am thrilled that the pharmacist is on rounds, but he doesn’t give a bedbath or clean a dirty bed.

  • gidnow

    As a nurse at Tufts I am proud of the many positive comments regarding the care given to patients. However, I do not want those statements to minimize the fact that nurses are overworked and understaffed. We do work very hard at making patients feel comfortable, and we prioritize everything we do so that all needs are seemingly met. To Soxgrrl4evah, let me say that while you had “25″ people in your room, many patients did not have anyone. You were the priority at that moment, so those people in your room were not meeting the needs of other patients. Patients whose needs and therefore priority may have changed but there was no nurse to recognize that because they were helping you. Lucky you. Think of those other patients waiting on a nurse, in pain, ready to push, not knowing that they are not the priority and will not be for some time. I do not expect any of those patients to be singing our praises.

    And we as nurses feel guilty about that, we want to be at the bedside, doing our job well. We want to work in areas where we have been trained to work, where we are competent and skilled, where we relate to the patients and families to give them the best “family oriented” care imaginable. The problem is, while they talk a good game, the administration does not feel that any of that is important. If you want to know the truth, look to their behavior. They think any nurse can work in any unit, floating nurses with no training or orientation. They pull the “Resource Nurse” into staffing frequently in order to keep taking patients they know we are not staffed for. The acuity of patients is not factored into the staffing needs. Twenty five people in one room and I can guarantee they did not staff up for that even though nursing probably begged!

    At the end of the day, who can you believe? The nurses who kill themselves and risk their licenses to be at your side when you need us, or the hospital that disrepects out profession, minimizes the fact that patients are THE priority and wants only to be profitable? To be profitable lets try having less management, and less salaries over over a miliion dollars. Or was it two? All said and done it was over two wasn’t Ellen?
    Good riddance Ellen Zane!!

  • onefootoutthedoor

    Tufts administration employees some great spin doctors. I have spent over 25 years as a nurse at Tufts, in several different areas over the years. I never thought that I would work anywhere else. Reading some of the daily e-mails that the administration sends out makes me wonder if we are all working that the same institution! We are understaffed, overworked and overwhelmed on a daily basis. It is a testament to the hard work, dedication and professionalism of our staff, that the comments below from patient are as supportive as they are. Most of these patients don’t even realize how pushed to the brink the staff is. I witness unsafe situations almost daily, and it is getting worse. It appears that the Tufts Administration is perfectly happy to drive the most experienced nurses out of the hospital, we cost too much.

  • Huh?

    in the apples to oranges comments it makes it sound like those cause tufts to need less RNs than the other hospitals they are compared to? I thought their CEO Ellen zane was in the globe saying they had the HIGHEST acuity patients in the city when all that stuff about the Partners hospitals’ reimbursement with blue cross was top news..

  • Concerned for citizens of MA

    Patient Care Link was one of the Mass Hospital Associations answers to why we didn’t need safe staffing legislation in MA.
    if you can’t use it for comparisons of hospital units because it is like APPLES TO ORANGES then what purpose does it serve???

  • Thoughtful observer

    On the tufts rebuttal: I wonder if those quality achievements were based on data that was collected prior to the full implementation of the new staffing ratios (when staffing was better). What quality awards will they win with these lower ratios one or two years down the road?
    Also, all the hospitals in the comparison have far better support staff than tufts (those kind of things like IV teams and response teams are listed on patients first also. Tufts has charge nurses taking full care assignments from what I they are not available to pitch in ..that might be some of the stress the nurses are feeling too..

  • Soxgrrl4evah

    I had my son at Tufts and I have to say I certainly didn’t feel the place was understaffed – I had a nurse with me practically the entire time I was in labor – she constantly checked on me or actually stayed with me. By the time I was pushing I swear there were like 25 people in the room. There was concern that I may need an emergency c-section at one point so I think they sent more people in but even before that there were lots of people there. The doctors and nurses throughout my stay were great, I never had to wait for anything and everybody was working hard but in no way did it seem chaotic or like people were “running around” and I never felt abandoned. Sorry to see this union issue is going on because it seems like a good hospital is getting undeservedly bashed.

    • Mmh46

      First I will say the nurses ARE the union. It is not he Union bashing the hospital. It is nurses saying they do not have enough time to care for their patient assignment. With the ratios now, the patient with the most need will see the nurse more often than the patients who are less sick. That is not fair. All patients deserve the same amount of attention. In this climate, we are unable to give all patients equal care. We are fighting for better nurse to patient ratios. And as another RN stated, we try very hard not to let our patients know we are running around trying to do the best job we can, often getting no meal breaks or time to even take a bathroom break.

    • Reality

      I am happy that you had a great experience at TMC. I am proud of my sister and brother nurses. I hope you don’t think that any nurse would ever try to let on to a patient that all is not well. We are true professionals when it comes to things like that.
      Further not all areas of TMC are understaffed. I do know for sure that is one way to pit us against each other. Also some doctors are stronger than others they would never allow poor staffing for their patients.

  • nurse leaving tufts

    Yes, the patients are still getting good care because the nurses are running around trying to catch up. Most days nurses get NO MEAL BREAK in 12 hours, and get to the bathroom only once or twice if at all.

  • FormerPatient66

    The care at Tufts Medical Center is of the highest quality, and it’s delivered in the most professional manner by top notch staff. I was an in-patient twice following surgery and at every moment during my stay I felt my needs as a patient were always met quickly and professionally. The medical center’s nursing staff is highly trained and my nurses – as well as other helpful staff – were always attentive and available. It was a great comfort, too, that the nursing staff was very good at explaining exactly what medications I would be getting and why, as well as what to expect during a certain procedure or examination. I know based on reputation Tufts MC is one of the top academic medical centers in the nation. My own patient experience certainly confirms that.

    • Reality

      I love that you were well taken care of. But you know, for example just because you have dinner on the table every night doesn’t make it untrue that people are starving in America. The surgical units are typically staffed well. Do you think a surgeon would have his 6 hours of work in the OR be sabotaged? That is a direct reflection on the surgical team. However, if you come in with a medical problem it is not that simple and this my friend is where you will definitely get short changed.But I hope not.

  • Johnkellan

    I gave birth to my son at Tufts Medical Center last week and everyone I encountered during my stay, nurses, physicians, food services, etc. were absolutely amazing. Everyone who cared for us treated us like family, which meant the world to us. My son had to be re-admitted to the Floating for jaundice shortly after we got home with him and the treatment he received there was second to none. The nurses who took care of him were incredible – by the time we left, I felt like I had known them forever and I could not have asked for a better experience.

  • Martha22

    Tufts nurses work very hard at never letting their patients know that they are understaffed, and if one nurse is involved with a critical patient, the other nurses on the floor take over his/her other patients. What administration failed to mention about the Clinical Resource Nurses is that there is usually only one or two available per shift and if they are both tied up, they are not available to the floor nurses. On the night shift there is only one on, there is no IV team so if a patient needs an IV that patient may never get it until the morning because most of the MD’s are not proficient in placing IV’s as they were in the past. There are dozens of nurses out injured with back injuries, shoulder injuries, elbow injuries, etc. because they do not have the proper help with managing patients who are heavy and need to be repositioned frequently. The nurses at Tufts are extraordinary and many have been there for 10+ years, some 20+, they truly love their jobs and their co-workers but with the staffing cuts that are being made it is becoming a dangerous place to work, often times not having proper staff as back up when an emergency occurs, and nurses are leaving in droves, not wanting to put their licenses on the line. You may just want to sneak in some night and see what really goes on, when the ER has 15 patients boarding waiting for beds, and trauma’s still coming in that need to be taken care of and not enough staff to handle it. It just might be very eye opening for you.

  • Rascal136

    I live in Natick and my hospital has an affiliation with Tufts and Floating. My family and I have used both hospitals in the past year and have had some experiences with the Tufts staff that come out to MetroWest. My family and I have never recieved anything less than top notch care and service from the Tufts docs, nurses and other staff. They are caring, kind and patiently explain everything that is going on in such a warm way that you truely feel like they care about you as a person. My experiences with their pediatic specialists have blown me away – so wonderful, as were my experiences with the adult care I recieved at their Boston campus. I never felt like the nurses were not there when we needed them. For me, Tufts has been truly wonderful.

  • whitewater1029

    I had shoulder surgery there last year and can’t say enough good things about the nurses that helped me before and after. I’m not good with being hurt and the nurses were very attentive and made me feel very comfortable with each process along the way.

    • Reality

      The nurse administrators at Tufts Medical Center should get an orientation and work at the bedside. They are nurses and they really have no right to ask the nurses to work in a fashion they would not be able to. So I invite them, urge them to come to the bedside and take care of the three ICU patients that they believe is a doable task.
      I am not sure why these nurses are not being believed.
      Just over a year ago A New Care delivery Model was implemented. The Techs they like to talk about were brought in to help and nursing staff was cut immediately. These techs were poorly trained, lacked understanding of the expected work. Nurses had never before worked with Techs in this way either. It was utter chaos. So now with less nurses they had to supervise and be even more vigilant about their patients’ care. There are stories and maybe it is time to start putting those out to the public so there is a clearer understanding of what these nurses are talking about.
      I think what we have is a failure of Nursing admin to lead nurses and the profession of Nursing into the future.
      The hospital CEO seems to take this very personally and this makes my imagination go haywire. Her response to the nurses vote is entirely irrational.

  • Cmama11909

    I have been admitted to Tufts for a heart condition and to have a baby. I got great care and plenty of attention from some really nice nurses. My son also was admitted to the Floating and has been seen in the ER many times. All great experiences — especially the nurses and helpers in the ER who played games and showed him toys while they tried to get an IV in is tiny body.