Chief Healthcare Executive’s most popular management stories of 2022

This week, we're revisiting the year's most well-read stories. Here are the management stories that resonated most with readers.

1. The Minnesota nurses strike is over, but there’s still no deal (Sept.)

About 15,000 nurses with the Minnesota Nurses Association walked off the job for three days in September, and it was perhaps the largest private-sector nurses’ strike in the nation’s history.

The strike ended, but the nurses and several Minnesota hospitals remained apart on a deal. Nurses announced plans for a second strike in December, and that walkout was planned to last for about three weeks at most hospitals.

But this time, the nurses and hospitals averted a strike and announced they had reached a deal earlier this month.

The Minnesota Nurses Association said the wage increases are the largest in more than two decades. Salaries will rise around 18% over the three-year pact. The union also said the deal gives nurses a greater voice in staffing levels, which nurses called a critical issue.

Mary C. Turner, president of the Minnesota Nurses Association and a registered nurse at North Memorial Hospital, called the tentative agreement “a historic win for nurses and patients at the bedside.”

The dispute garnered national attention and highlighted the tensions between hospital leaders and nurses across the country. Hospitals struggled with shortages of nurses, while nursing leaders said they didn’t feel as if health systems appreciated their value or were concerned with their work conditions.

Analysts say these tensions are likely to continue in the coming year.

2. Dallas hospital shooting marks latest attack on healthcare workers

The fatal shooting of two healthcare workers in a Dallas hospital illustrated the growing violence at hospitals across America.

The shooting at the Methodist Dallas Medical Center in October was the third deadly shooting at a U.S. hospital complex since June, and healthcare workers have been injured in many other attacks.

Groups representing doctors and nurses have urged health systems and lawmakers to take steps to protect healthcare workers. The violence is driving doctors and nurses out of hospitals, health groups say.

Authorities say a man shot and killed two employees in the maternity ward of Methodist Dallas Medical Center. A hospital police officer shot and wounded the suspect, who is in custody, police said.

Police identified the two victims as Jacqueline Pokuaa, 45, and Katie Flowers, 63, according to the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Pokuaa served as a patient case manager and Flowers was a nurse.

Authorities identified the suspect as Nestor Hernandez, 30, and said he was on parole following an aggravated assault conviction. Hernandez was permitted to be in the hospital by the Texas corrections department because his girlfriend was having a baby, according to media accounts.

Hernandez reportedly thought his girlfriend had been involved with someone else and began beating her in the hospital room, WFAA-TV reported, citing court documents. Authorities said Hernandez threatened to kill her and would shoot anyone else who entered the room. He then shot and killed Pokuaa and Flowers, authorities said.

3. Hurricane Ian rips part of roof off Florida hospital

An HCA Healthcare hospital in Port Charlotte, Florida temporarily closed and transferred patients after losing part of its roofing in Hurricane Ian, which ravaged parts of the Sunshine State.

The HCA Florida Fawcett Hospital located in Port Charlotte suspended services due to the damage, HCA Florida Healthcare said in a news release. About 160 patients were transferred. “The hospital lost a layer of its roofing to sustained high winds during the storm, which caused water leaks that impacted areas of the building,” HCA Florida said.

Fawcett Hospital transferred the facility’s most seriously ill patients before Ian made landfall, HCA Florida said.

Water rained down into the intensive care unit due to losing part of the roof, while storm surge led to flooding in a lower level emergency room Wednesday, CBS News reported. Dr. Birgit Bodine told CBS News that staff expected a challenging time from the storm "but we didn't anticipate that the roof would blow off on the fourth floor.”

The hospital has four floors, and patients were concentrated on two floors, Bodine told CBS News.

HCA offered financial aid to staff affected by the storm. The hospital reopened in October.

Some Florida hospitals, especially on the state’s west coast, transferred patients ahead of Ian’s arrival. Hospitals closed facilities, postponed surgeries, and suspended some services due to Ian, which caused catastrophic damage in parts of Florida.

4. After Dallas hospital shooting, nurses demand greater protection

Nurses demanded greater protection in healthcare facilities after the fatal shooting of two healthcare workers at a Dallas hospital.

Nurses, doctors and healthcare organizations have bemoaned the uptick in violence seen in hospitals in recent years, particularly in the COVID-19 pandemic. Nurses are speaking up and calling for steps to make hospitals safer. Nurses have said the uptick in violence is driving some nurses out of hospitals.

National Nurses United, a union with nearly 225,000 members, is pushing for legislation to help protect healthcare workers.

“We mourn the devastating loss of a nurse and a health care worker and offer our deepest condolences to their families and colleagues at Methodist Dallas Medical Center,” Jean Ross, RN, president of National Nurses United, said in a statement. “No one should lose their life because they went to work. Health care settings should be places of healing, not harm.”

“This unimaginable tragedy is a stark reminder that workplace violence in the health care industry is increasing and that we urgently need legislative action to ensure the safety of our caregivers, other health care staff, and every patient or family member in those facilities,” Ross said in the statement.

More than two nurses are assaulted every hour, and 57 assaults are taking place each day, according to a recent report from Press Ganey. About half of all hospital nurses (48%) said workplace violence is increasing, according to a National Nurses United poll in the spring.

Nearly all emergency physicians are seeing an increase in violence, and they say it’s taking a toll on doctors, nurses and patient care, according to a September poll released by the American College of Emergency Physicians.

5. Hurricane Ian’s aftermath: Florida hospitals evacuate patients

Even after Hurricane Ian moved away from Florida, hospitals and health systems continued to struggle with the aftermath of the storm.

Lee Health, which operates four hospitals in Lee County, Florida, is evacuating hundreds of patients. Three of the system’s four hospitals have no running water, said Larry Antonucci, president and CEO of Lee Health.

“We have made the very difficult decision to evacuate our patients,” Antonucci said in a video message.

Lee Health temporarily moved patients to facilities outside of Lee County, Antonucci said. The southwest Florida county, home to Cape Coral and Fort Myers, suffered severe damage to Ian, including widespread power outages, water service disruptions, and battered roads and bridges, including portions of the Sanibel Causeway being swept away.

The Agency for Health Care Administration, a Florida regulatory body, said the system had to transfer patients.

Across Florida, at least 15 hospitals transferred patients due to the hurricane, the Florida Hospital Association said. Some hospitals transferred patients to other facilities before Ian made landfall.

More than 7,000 patients and residents were transferred from 150 healthcare facilities, including nursing homes and assisted living facilities, according to the Agency for Health Care Administration.

Many healthcare workers suffered property damage or had vehicles damaged in the flooding. The Florida Hospital Association established a relief fund to help healthcare workers.