Hospital staffing issues spur votes of 'no confidence'

Votes or petitions of "no confidence" are not new at hospitals and health systems, though rare. And amid today's financial and workforce challenges, healthcare workers have not shied away from these moves as they seek to address their concerns around issues such as staffing and workplace environment.

In 2023, Becker's has reported at least six no-confidence votes or petitions. The actions often target specific leaders or leadership in general. 

Most recently, more than 90 percent of pharmacists at a Veterans Affairs hospital in Tampa, Fla., who are represented by the American Federation of Government Employees, voted no confidence in their leaders. 

The workers cited problems with employee retention, increase in workload and higher burnout rates as contributing factors to the decision. A spokesperson for the hospital told Becker's the facility "is in discussions with the pharmacy staff to best align their schedules and resources available to continue to provide the best care for veterans in the Tampa Bay area."

Workers in other jobs have taken no-confidence votes, too. 

In July, members of the Massachusetts Nurses Association signed a petition of no confidence in the vice president of perioperative services at Boston-based Brigham and Women's Hospital. And that same month, Nurses at Eleanor Slater Hospital, a public facility in Cranston, R.I., issued a vote of no confidence in leadership. The vote specifically included grievances directed at Chief Nursing Officer Anne Mongeau.

Many of the votes and petitions, often by unionized workers amid contract negotiations, revolve around staffing and working conditions. Hospitals and health systems have stood by their leaders and their efforts to address these issues.

These efforts are not only occurring at organizations that have experienced no-confidence votes and petitions. They are occurring across the U.S. amid an evolving workforce.

Read more about a few initiatives here.

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