Why do nurses tolerate bad workloads and bad work situatitons? - page 2

I am an August graduate of an accelerated BSN program, passed the NCLEX in late Sept and am in the 2nd week of a 12 week med/surg oncology internship. I am finding GREAT IDENTIFICATION with all... Read More

  1. by   Kelly_the_Great
    Quote from emmycrn
    i've said it before on this site and i'm going to say it again now. nurses put up with poor working conditions because nurses throughout the history of the profession have accepted the steriotypical "self-sacrificing angel" perception of nursing. we have convinced ourselves that it is our duty to put up with anything they throw at us in the name of "patient care". i am a firm believer, however, that we cannot effectively take care of others until we address the problems inherent to our profession.
    even though it is extremely difficult, i plan to stick with nursing and be an advocate not only for patients but for nurses. it will take a long time and a lot of re-education of the public and ourselves to change our situation. a set of circumstances that has developed over hundreds of years cannot be expected to change overnight.
    hey emmy,

    just wanted to say, i really admire and very much agree with your post!

    eta: one thing i think we could do is to really start pushing (not just one paragraph dispersed here and there) this shift/distinction of legal nursing (advocate) vs. soldier (self-sacrificing loyalty to physician and facility) within our nursing curricula. i also, think we should really begin focusing on intraprofessional communication skills. could unity-building techniques be taught? i think, perhaps so...
    Last edit by Kelly_the_Great on Nov 5, '06
  2. by   NotReady4PrimeTime
    this appeared in the letters to the editor of the edmonton sun yesterday, november 4. anybody care to rebut this for t. a. ball? send your comments to mailbag@edmsun.com
    ...

    there wouldn't be a nurse shortage if nurses performed duties that were conducive with their pay. nurses are simply line workers who perform very low-level, repetitive tasks that could be done by individuals with no education. emptying bed pans, changing catheters, helping the elderly to the washroom and feeding babies require the skill level of an uneducated person paid minimum wage. to justify their pay, nurses should be expected to perform higher-level tasks such as managing workers and making higher-level decisions.

    t.a. ball

    (expect a response from angry nurses!)

    i've emptied exactly two bedpans in the last four months. i haven't helped an elderly person to the bathroom in about 12 years. the babies i feed are fed via a nasojejeunal tube that i've placed blindly using our hospital p&p. i care for patients on heart-lung bypass, titrate vasoactive infusions, maintain patency of mediastinal chest tubes, monitor more than a dozen vital sign parameters, give dozens of drugs via central line, and a million other things that i'd love to watch t. a. ball try to do without any education first... i thinki'll invite this person to shadow me for a shift. when i get home from work in the morning i'll be writing my angry response!!
  3. by   crb613
    there wouldn’t be a nurse shortage if nurses performed duties that were conducive with their pay. nurses are simply line workers who perform very low-level, repetitive tasks that could be done by individuals with no education. emptying bed pans, changing catheters, helping the elderly to the washroom and feeding babies require the skill level of an uneducated person paid minimum wage. to justify their pay, nurses should be expected to perform higher-level tasks such as managing workers and making higher-level decisions.

    t.a. ball
    when i find you laying in your own urine, feces, & emesis remind me its not conductive of my pay to change your clothes, and bedlinens. it is however, what a kind, compassionate, and caring nurse would do. i have and will continue to help the elderly to the bathroom. would you perfer i insist your mother, father, or eldery family member wait as this is beneath me to perform such medial tasks. what you do not understand mr. ball is that a nurse is so much more than an education, we care for the whole person mind, body, and spirit. i suggest you spend some time, and educate your self before you address things which you simply have no knowledge of.
    Last edit by crb613 on Nov 5, '06
  4. by   angel337
    i think the answer is very simple. job security. people can yell to the roof top about how nursing doesn't pay, but the truth is if it didn't pay what it did most us would not do it. i know i wouldn't. if we ever live to see the nursing shortage solved, there will be a reduction in pay because now there would not be a demand and they wouldn't feel the need to give sign on bonuses etc., nurses would only be able to dream about what its like to get $40-$50/hr for agency and registry pay. nursing works well for those that make it work, and for those that say "the*&$# with this crap!!" they move on to better working conditions or different careers. i witness daily how the "shortage" benefits nurses. people can practically write their own paychecks if they are willing to work the hours. for some of us its not worth it, but for alot of nurses it is. i see nurses threatened by new nurses because that means there will be less OT available. i see nurses bidding against other nurses for shifts. and i have also seen nurses ask the manager not to hire more nurses because that would mean less hours for them. i could go on and on. it took me a while to see this but now it is crystal clear.
  5. by   NotReady4PrimeTime
    After a nap and some food, I drafted a reply to T. A. Ball's diatribe...

    I would have responded sooner but back-to-back 13 hour shifts only leave enough time for eating and sleeping.

    The tasks T. A. Ball referred to, emptying bedpans, changing catheters, escorting elderly people to the bathroom and feeding babies, are indeed tasks nurses perform. They fall under the heading of holistic comfort-care. Personally, I haven't done any of those tasks in many years; I just don't have time so I delegate them to the nursing assistant. Instead, on an average day I am monitoring my patient's vital signs, delivering up to twenty drug infusions, many with the potential to cause life-threatening complications if not administered properly, monitoring pacemaker function, caring for lines placed directly into the patient's heart, ensuring adequate ventilation of their lungs to supply oxygen to their brain, keeping track of their urine output and fluid balance, controlling pain and anxiety in a patient who cannot talk to me, interpreting and reporting lab results, providing information and emotional support to the family and a million other things. Other times I may be dealing with a patient in cardiac arrest, keeping their circulation going until help arrives. I've held an infant in my arms as he died.

    I invite T. A. Ball to step into my shoes for one day, with whatever education s/he brings to the table. I dare say that the experience would be an eye-opener.


    We'll see if the Edmonton Sun published my response.

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