Blizzardgate Firings Threaten Nurse Morale

Rebecca Hendren, for HealthLeaders Media , March 9, 2010

While the blizzard firings have strongly reminded nurses of WHC's expectations, I wonder about the long-term repercussions. The next time salary negotiations come up, will nurses display less flexibility? Will nurses feel less inclined to put in extra hours on their own time to participate in committees or on an evidence-based practice project?

Frum says many more employees than the ones who were fired did not make it to work. What were the differences in these situations? Without making it clear, nurses may be left wondering. Any appearance of partiality is dangerous to morale and potentially exposes organizations to liability. With regular disciplinary matters, managers know that to allow some employees to engage in certain behaviors and then fire other employees for the same conduct, is setting oneself up for a lawsuit.

To be honest and fair, all employees must know the disciplinary policies that will be enforced. Only through consistent and open polices will nurses feel they can't be fired on a whim.

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Rebecca Hendren is a senior managing editor at HCPro, Inc. in Danvers, MA. She edits and manages The Leaders' Lounge blog for nurse managers. Email her at

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