Storm of Controversy Follows Nurse Firings in DC Hospital

Joe Cantlupe, for HealthLeaders Media , March 2, 2010

As a result, ANA "is looking into the broader implications of the DC hospital action. Nurses live where there are disasters happening, such as hurricanes, ice storms. When you look at what happened in DC, it is important to consider the implications in other areas, and whether we would see this kind of trend elsewhere—we hope not," says Peterson.

The hospital believed it had no choice but to dismiss the nurses because of the need for patient care, says So Young Pak, spokeswoman for the hospital.

Some nurses called in to stay home even before the snow began falling and some "before their scheduled shift to say they were not coming in; some refused available transportation; others refused accommodation to stay at a hospital in order to arrive on time for their shift, to name a few," Pak says.

"We recognize this was a blizzard—it never happened before," says Pak. "We informed [staff] this was going to be big—that you need to have your own emergency plan in place."

Joe Cantlupe is a senior editor with HealthLeaders Media Online.

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