As our reporter was looking into allegations regarding turnover in the nursing staff at St. Vincent Hospital, one hospital official questioned why the Herald was even interested in this issue. She pointed out that the Denver Post would never run a story such as the one we are pursuing.
There’s community journalism and then there’s the kind of journalism practiced by large metro daily newspapers. It’s unlikely your child will appear on the front page of the Denver Post. It’s far more likely that your child will appear on the front page of the Herald Democrat. We are focused on this community, providing news you’re not likely to obtain elsewhere. Good, bad and indifferent.
We began looking into the turnover situation at St. Vincent Hospital because hospital employees came to us with their concerns last week regarding this issue; however, we first heard of the issue this past summer. We were unable to deal with it then, as our two-person staff was tied up with other matters. It went on our “to look into” list until the issue reared its head again.
We have and are attempting to get both sides of this story. As is generally the case when employees have issues, employers tend to cite employee privacy issues.
We have attempted to get turnover figures from the hospital to compare with what we’ve heard from current and former employees. The hospital administration provided a general turnover figure for the entire hospital but refused the information related to the nursing staff. Why? Because it is difficult to get national percentages for turnover in nursing staff with which to compare St. Vincent, we were told. We didn’t ask for a comparison. We asked for the St. Vincent turnover numbers for the nursing staff.
There’s an old saying among journalists and public relations practitioners: “Tell your own story or someone else will tell it for you.”
If there are 29 nursing positions at St. Vincent and 29 turned over in just over one year, is that excessive? There are about 29 names of nurses who have left the hospital on a list given us by past and present hospital staffers dating from December 2012 to the present.
One of the purposes of a newspaper is to provide a voice for those who otherwise might not have one. A number of St. Vincent employees have come here to tell their story. Likewise, our reporter met with hospital administration on two occasions to attempt to get some response to the allegations that were made.
Bear in mind that our interest in the goings on at the hospital stem from the fact that it is a tax-supported institution and thus a public entity.
Read our page 1 story and see what you think.