WDAZ: Your Home Team

Published February 23, 2012, 07:09 PM

Former Altru Nurse and Single Mother Left Without Work After Doctors Hospital Purchase

GRAND FORKS (WDAZ-TV) - When Altru Health System bought Doctors Hospital, it put some people out of work.

By: Stacie Van Dyke, WDAZ

GRAND FORKS (WDAZ-TV) - When Altru Health System bought Doctors Hospital, it put some people out of work.

One Grand Forks woman is trying to put the pieces back together after her new place of employment shut down just two weeks before it was scheduled to open for business.

For the past 5 1/2 years, Lucy Dombovy worked as a surgical nurse for Altru.

She had high seniority in her unit, but when she heard the news about Doctors Hospital coming to town, she couldn't pass it up.

"I feel like I played a game of monopoly and landed on the go to jail spot because im completely out of work now," Dombovy said.

Dombovy got a job offer from Doctors Hospital on January 11 and was given two weeks severance pay from Altru. She was one of about two dozen employees who made the switch.

"The way that they spoke, I felt like I would have a voice there and felt like I could help make it a great place to get care," Dombovy said.

But last friday Dombovy found out, along with the rest of us, about Altru's purchase.

"Somebody sent me a text message saying 'what are you going to do? Are you going to come back to work at Altru?' And I had no idea what they were talking about," Dombovy said.

The Doctors Hospital CEO broke news to staff during nursing orientation Friday afternoon.

"I'm a single mom. If you put a job that I love right in front of me and tell me I'm going to get paid a little more to do it, I've got to take it," Dombovy said.

Dombovy will continue to support her 8-year-old son with her flex time job at Tufte Manor, but she's upset that she can't return to the exact same job at Altru without an RN.

"They had to have known that this is what they were going to do. And I feel like after five years of service, if somebody would have said 'there's gonna be a lot of big changes coming around and I'd really like for you to stick with us and stay,' I probably would have listened to them," Dombovy said.

"That was something that no manager or supervisor would have been privy to that they could have given her a heads up 'hey you better not leave because they might not stay in town,' because nobody had that knowledge at that time," Altru chief nurse Margaret Reed said.

160 positions are currently open at Altru. 79 are for nursing.

Former employees are welcome to apply and a few have already been re-hired.

Dombovy graduates in May from Northland with her RN. She would like to eventually earn her Bachelors and Masters degree to become a nurse practitioner.