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Nearly 100% of Brigham and Women’s Hospital OR and PACU Nurses Sign Petition Calling for the Removal of VP of Perioperative Services for Putting Patient Care at Risk and Demoralizing Nurses

Surgical and post-surgical patients are experiencing unsafe and uncomfortable care environments as BWH’s perioperative leadership refuses to address nurses’ concerns

BOSTON, Mass. – Almost every operating room (OR) and post-anesthesia care (PACU) registered nurse at Brigham and Women’s Hospital has signed a petition of no confidence in Vice President of Perioperative Services Samantha Rowley, demanding her removal due to a series of decisions that have undermined the safety and quality of care provided to surgical and post-surgical patients and caused high turnover because of a culture of management bullying and retaliation.

The petition was delivered to the BWH Senior Vice President, Patient Care Services, and Chief Nursing Officer, as well as the Vice President, Human Resources, Patient Care Services and Operational Excellence on Monday, July 31. It was signed by 131 of 132 regularly scheduled OR nurses of nurses and 120 out of 124 PACU and perioperative float pool nurses. The nurses gave hospital management notice of the petition several days before delivering it, but so far, the hospital has refused to act.

“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. “A change in senior management is necessary to stop the ongoing harm to patients and caregivers. The hospital must work with us to immediately address these problems. It must place patients and staff above profits.”

Specific issues nurses included in their petition:

  • Poorly planned changes to sterilization procedures have created a lack of sanitized OR equipment that puts patients at risk and causes unnecessary stress among staff.
  • The culture of management bullying and retaliation leaves staff fearful of raising important patient safety concerns.
  • The hospital’s new post-surgery boarding ward is deplorable. The change was made over the concerns of nurses and other staff. It puts patients in an unsafe and uncomfortable environment and does not allow PACU staff to provide the best possible care.
  • The unilateral change in OR staff schedules has created serious morale issues and pushed experienced nurses away when we need them most.
  • There has been continued high staff turnover because of poor and worsening conditions. BWH continues to schedule procedures without sufficient staff to perform them all safely.

“We need leadership overseeing the OR and PACU that listens to nurses and makes decisions that maintain patient care excellence,” said Jim Mccarthy, a PACU nurse and BWH MNA Vice Chair. “We are losing nurses because of the harmful decisions being made by current perioperative leadership and patients are feeling the negative effects. Brigham patients and nurses deserve new leadership that puts our needs above corporate profits.”

“When BWH leadership changed nurse scheduling in the OR, completely disregarding our concerns, we lost nurses and patient care conditions got worse,” said Sandra Abber, an OR nurse and member of the BWH MNA Bargaining Committee. “Brigham and Women’s Hospital continues to charge ahead scheduling as many surgeries as possible even when we have insufficient staff to perform them safely. We need perioperative leadership that understands and cares about what is happening at the bedside.”