Dear CRONA Negotiation Team,

A year ago, CRONA had to fight to make sure all CAPR (Cath Angio Procedure Recovery) Nurses got the chance to take pre-approved vacations. Recently we received an email from management indicating that due to short staffing, they are now reverting back to the problematic vacation numbers (reducing vacations from three RNs per week to two RNs per week), with no definitive end date.

I repeatedly hear on our unit how staff have requested various vacation dates (for example, one RN made five requests and only one was granted) and yet can’t get approved because our staffing numbers are low.

The hospital/management/administration doesn’t seem to understand that vacation is good for the nurse and the unit. When a nurse can get vacation, she comes back to work happier and refreshed. However, when management makes it impossible for staff to use all of their vacation weeks (we are currently short 50+ weeks of vacation allotment) because of “staffing,” these nurses become overworked and take unscheduled days off, which perpetuates a staffing problem.

If the hospital hired the appropriate amount of staff, you wouldn’t be calling people in for ECB daily; you would be able to cover people for their vacations (especially since these vacations are pre-approved, the whole point being that managers can foresee staffing needs).

This is especially frustrating for staff when they can see that management is frequently going on vacation in API while denying our vacations. And we’ve even seen multiple occurrences where multiple managers were vacationing at the same time, leaving only one manager working at a time. Somehow, having a manager on site 50 percent of the time is acceptable staffing.

We’ve been precepting PACU nurses to prepare for the move to 500P and after talking to them, they appear to have the same problem — that not every nurse can use their vacation time because the unit is short staffed.

Thanks for listening and fighting to protect the contract language we have and to protect vacation time for the future. We need to fix under-staffing before we all burn out.

–A CRONA Nurse

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