You may remember me as the "The Nurse on the Billboard"!? The redhead who smiled at you while you drove the 215 and 15 freeways a couple years back?
I was part of a campaign advertising Southwest Healthcare System, ie; Inland Valley and Rancho Medical Center's new slogan...
"Building Relationships That Touch The Heart"
So fun you think?! How cool! Well it was a hard thing to get used to. After coming out of a divorce and a very vulnerable spot in my families personal life, the last thing I wanted was for every single person who knew me as their nurse or recognized me on the street was to now know loud and clear where I worked. I wasn't asked or even told the billboard would go up, or that my picture would be on hospital community ambulances or handbooks delivered to thousands of patients. I was told it would be on a hospital poster. Harmless and yes kind of cool and fun! After a few months I got used to it and my kids stopped getting teased about their mom being on a billboard...
How could I even imagine that the very hospital and healthcare system I worked for who wouldn't stop shouting that they were "Building Relationships That Touched the Heart"- would think nothing of breaking mine.
As a 24 year Registered Nurse and single mother of three, I have been brought to my knees financially and emotionally as I endure what is now going on a 2 year lawsuit battle against Inland Valley Medical Center and United Healthcare System (UHS). I had no idea that speaking up about legal and proper safe patient treatment and care would end up costing me my career, my financial security, my health insurance and possibly my home.
In January 2017 I became the victim of what had grown to be a very hostile working environment and had no choice but to protect myself and my RN license by retaining an attorney. I am in the last leg of this lawsuit journey and am asking for monetary donations to help facilitate a proper and compelling fight for not just my rights, but the rights of EVERY SINGLE NURSE TO NOT BE RETALIATED AGAINST BY THEIR EMPLOYERS FOR DOING OUR JOBS- ADVOCATING FOR OUR PATIENTS SAFETY AND CARE EVERY DAY!
After months of my complaints to administration, management and the Chief Nursing Officer at Inland valley Medical Center about poor staffing ratios (ILLEGAL), patient safety issues, and inept nursing support- I was brought into my directors office and reprimanded for my outspoken voice. I was handed a final write up that was filled with such blatant lies, I refused to sign the document. I was told that effective immediately I would be transferred to a unit I was not specifically trained for and that I did not have a choice in the matter.
After speaking with an attorney I was shocked and down right terrified to find out what my new reality had become. The very career that nourished my soul was at risk. I was now facing a new reality of being illegally retaliated against for speaking up about illegal and unsafe working practices- the value of my education and inner wisdom was now perceived as nothing more than a threat to this hospital and their administration. I was to be silenced and gotten rid of and FAST.
Located in Riverside County, Ca Inland Valley and Rancho Springs Medical Center is the largest and up until recently only hospital servicing the growing areas of Temecula and Murrieta Valleys... We depend on them for our healthcare needs, emergent or not. These hospitals have been where my family and I have not only earned a living at but have depended on for medical care since 2001.
I am deeply saddened and disturbed that after investing my time, heart and money into this healthcare system in so many facets that my feedback and earnest repeated pleas for change would not have been heard and worked with instead of resulting in continuous bullying both financially and emotionally resulting in what is now a loss of my career.
I wouldn't wish a lawsuit on anyone. It has been truly a nightmare to lose my retirement savings, my financial security as a career Registered Nurse, possibly losing the home I worked so hard to buy after the tragedy of my divorce, my health insurance and frankly my belief that good and truth really do prevail... I have been rocked to my very core being in the legal system. It isn't about upholding the truth, it is solely about how much money do you have to FIGHT FOR THE TRUTH.
Every dollar I am fortunate enough to raise will go directly to cover the costs of my legal fees. Including:
- Expert witness statements and depositions
- Excessive filing fees (Inland and their attorneys like to drag this process out with postponements or by just downright not responding)
- Attorney costs
While there is an end in site, it takes money to make people especially large corporations to listen and take an employee seriously.
As nurses, we are the backbone of healthcare- the backbone of the hospitals you send your children and parents to. The ones who save your lives and the doctors asses. Over the years I have witnessed my colleagues come to work sick, sacrifice being a part of their children's milestones, lose their marriages, lose their shit, defend their position, defend their patients, work overtime when they really needed sleep, work with out enough supplies, save lives, calm the sick and enraged- both patients and their co-workers, not think twice about not getting lunch breaks, eating pizza because that's what administration would order to get their staff through flu season without breaks, stay late to finish the unending charting, take shifts and raise money for their colleagues in support of one another, neglect their own self care and needs, take unsafe patient assignments without complaining, work in unethical conditions, risk their licenses... all because this is what we do. This is way more than a job for us... it's a calling we can't ignore.
So while I fight this fight for myself right now, I see it as a fight for all of the nurses who have felt like if they said something their managers or administrators wouldn't like- for fear of being treated exactly as I am being treated now... bullied, retaliated against, shoved in a corner and told to play nice or else, lied to and fired... One day, this treatment will end before it even starts.
This is a movement if I've ever been a part of one. This has to stop and this can be stopped with your help! Every single dollar put into this fund shows the healthcare system and their lawyers to start taking their nurses seriously.
In case your interested, here is a website that was set up for the sole purpose of exposing UHS and their unsafe practices- not by me, but by those who have been harmed before me.
What I have discovered through all this is sick and disturbing; There have been many nurses before me who have sued and won, only to be placed in a non disclosure agreement. Meaning nothing can be exposed after all settlements have taken place- So the community can not find out the dirty details and truth of what has been going on right in their backyards. I am not under that agreement and I don't plan on signing one.
If I can answer any of your questions, or provide any further information you may be curious about, PLEASE DON'T HESITATE TO REACH OUT TO ME! I have nothing to hide, and will hide nothing!
Thank you so much for reading this far, I will be putting together a video of my story and sharing it all over social media, I'd love and appreciate if you would as well!
As I move along in my fundraising efforts, I will keep a running story of how this plays out.