Yes, they can find a way to respect nurses

March 21, 2017

The University of Missouri Hospital puts its workers last, explains one employee.

AT THE University of Missouri, there's plenty of money to spend on executive pay and expensive advertising campaigns, but nothing but disrespect for the people who work there.

I am writing to you anonymously for fear of reprisals from my employer, the University of Missouri Hospital.

On March 6, ABC News in Columbia, Missouri, reported on findings from an audit of the University of Missouri system revealing $2.3 million in hidden payments and incentives to top administrators, including $1.2 million in incentives awarded to 18 executives and administrators over the past three years.

Luxury car payments, paid travel expenses to nonwork destinations--translation: vacations) and salaries for people who neither work nor have valid job titles is something that is typically associated with dictatorships, not university administrations.

Yet at UM, family members of officials have "positions" that pay salaries for which they aren't required to do anything. If you criticize this practice, the common reply is that we need to "compensate" these talented administrators to retain their services and attract new ones.

University of Missouri Hospital
University of Missouri Hospital

Meanwhile, employees of the University of Missouri Hospital are now being forced to "prove" both that our spouses are legal citizens of the U.S. and that our children are "ours" by sending in documents in order to be eligible for benefits, which we have been paying for.

This "proof" audit is being conducted by Conduent Corp., a spinoff of Xerox with annual revenue of some $6.6 billion. Conduent will oversee this audit in the hopes that the hospital can cut benefits for someone who hasn't submitted their proper documentation by March 31, and thereby save "us" money.

We now have a new proprietary employee assessment tool, provided by a small company called Gallup, Inc., which has been implemented to report how each of employee is performing their respective position. The price of this tool, StrengthsFinder, has yet to be determined.

IF THAT'S not enough, the administration is giving $10,000 sign-on bonuses to new nurses, and while they need it, the hospital ignores the people who will train and develop these new employees to become great nurses. This is absolutely disrespectful to every nurse that is currently employed.

Our nurses don't get cost-of-living increases annually. We have had market-adjusted increases, due mostly to mass exoduses of nurses seeking higher wages, fewer patients and more flexibility.

While nurses clean up every possible fluid that can come out of the human body, care for the grief-stricken and hold the hand of a dying patient with no family, our hospital's reply to any constructive critique is "YES finds a way," the main slogan of an endless MU marketing campaign.

"YES" has certainly found a way--to pour millions of dollars into advertising and marketing campaigns for the kind of care that is provided at our hospital.

"YES" has found a way to make parking for a football game more important than allowing employees to leave their cars at the spot they pay monthly for.

"YES" has found a way to buy Super Bowl commercials in 2016 and 2107, but ignores the fact that Missouri nurses are the 34th worst-paid hospital nurses in the country.

The state auditor who reported the exorbitant bonuses of our administrators merely pointed out what many already know--that when it comes to budgets and "belt tightening," it's a shared goal for everyone, except those administrators at the top.

When will "YES" find a way to respect nurses, housekeepers, patient transporters, nurse techs, lab techs and all the other people who actually make this hospital a place where we would want our families to be cared for?

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