Brigham and Women's nurses sign petition of no confidence in VP

Members of the Massachusetts Nurses Association have signed a petition of no confidence in the vice president of perioperative services at Boston-based Brigham and Women's Hospital.

The petition, referencing Samantha Rowley, was delivered to the hospital's senior vice president of patient care services and chief nursing officer, as well as the vice president of human resources, patient care services and operational excellence on July 31, according to a union news release. 

The MNA said 131 of 132 regularly scheduled operating room nurses and 120 out of 124 post-anesthesia care and perioperative float pool nurses signed the petition. 

Those who signed allege surgical and postsurgical patients are experiencing unsafe and uncomfortable care environments, and that the hospital's perioperative leadership refuses to address their concerns. They also ask for Ms. Rowley's removal, contending that various decisions have jeopardized patient safety and care quality and caused high turnover, according to the union.

"We, the registered nurses of Brigham and Women's Hospital, declare no confidence in Vice President of Perioperative Services Samantha Rowley for a series of damaging decisions that have jeopardized patient safety, degraded our work environment, and made it even harder to retain staff," the nurses wrote in their petition. 

According to the union, nurses pointed to a number of issues in their petition. These include what they say are poorly planned changes to sterilization procedures; a culture of management bullying and retaliation; a "deplorable" new postsurgery boarding ward; a change in operating room staff schedules; and continued high staff turnover.

Brigham and Women's said in a statement shared with Becker's that it stands behind its perioperative team, including its leadership. 

"Our Peri-operative Leadership Group — an executive, multidisciplinary leadership committee — intentionally embarked on a journey two years ago to renew our focus on quality improvement and patient safety. This has required us to closely monitor data and trends, identify opportunities for improvement and act on them. It also necessitates increased transparency, accountability, and collaboration among all team members to change outdated practices and move forward with a goal of doing even better for our patients and their families. …

"While hospitals and healthcare organizations nationwide are facing unprecedented staffing challenges and pandemic-related back logs, we've implemented a multifaceted response to these challenges related to patient volume, acuity and staffing to best support our staff while providing comprehensive care to patients."

The union represents about 4,000 nurses overall at Brigham and Women's. The petition was targeted at OR and post-anesthesia care nurses.

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