"Nationwide 'Nursing Shortage' Big Problem for School Districts"

  1. Here is a letter I sent email.

    Greetings Melanie,

    I just finished reading your article in the Friday October 4, 2002 Tampa & State section of the St. Petersburg Times. As a Registered Nurse working in the Tampa Bay area in health care for over a decade, I am compelled to comment on the findings in your article.

    Schools should struggle to find nurses! What do they have to offer a nurse? A part time position probably less than 40 hours a week and certainly less than a full twelve months every year. This too, at an hourly rate significantly lower than the market rate in an area of the country notorious for low compensation; claiming sunshine as part of the benefits package.

    The age of the washing machine nurse is rapidly coming to an end, I hope! In years past the income from a nurse in the family was used to augment the husband's earnings. Her addition allowed the family to buy a new appliance, furniture or any other additional "luxury" that the husband's income would not normally allow to be purchased as soon.

    Economics have caused a condition requiring most women, married or not, to earn significant income simply to maintain a basic standard of living. Every adult must work (outside the home for wages) in order for the family to survive.

    Traditionally nurses are hired, scheduled and paid with the husband expected to provide the primary income to support the household. Employers of nurses knew that the paltry compensation offered to nurses would be accepted because they had not been the primary breadwinners in the family. The funds earned by nurses were only to augment the gross family income not compensation for the vital position they filled in the delivery of health care.

    Employers of Nurses and Nursing Schools are clamoring a nursing shortage exists. This is not fact! It is pure fiction! There are plenty of nurses currently licensed to practice in the United States and in Florida. Nurses are not choosing to accept the paltry compensation and abusive working conditions for the service they provide.

    Although Nursing education consistently provides sufficient numbers of Nurses needed to fill the open positions; significant numbers of Nurses stop practicing within a few years of becoming licensed. They discover that the compensation is not worth the sacrifices and efforts needed to do the work.

    Until compensation and working conditions for nurses improve there will be the shortage of Nurses" claimed by the employers.

    ( the rest of the letter follows in a subsequent posting here due to the 3000 character word limit)
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  2. 11 Comments

  3. by   Norbert Holz
    Here is my estimate of income projected at the $10.00 per hour rate cited as compensation for the LPN's being sought by the school district. Please correct these estimates if you feel they are inaccurate.
    7 hrs a day X 5 days a week = 35 hours a week
    35 hours X $10 per hour = $350.00 a week
    9 months a year X 4.1 weeks per month = 36.9 weeks
    36.9 weeks X 350.00 per week = $12,915 gross taxable income
    $12,915 X 0.8 for taxes = $10,332 per year take home pay
    2002 HHS Poverty Guidelines
    Size ofFamily Unit 48 ContiguousStates and D.C. Alaska Hawaii
    1 $ 8,860 $11,080 $10,200
    2 11,940 14,930 13,740
    3 15,020 18,780 17,280
    4 18,100 22,630 20,820
    5 21,180 26,480 24,360
    6 24,260 30,330 27,900
    7 27,340 34,180 31,440
    8 30,420 38,030 34,980
    For each additional person, add 3,080 3,850 3,540
    http://aspe.os.dhhs.gov/poverty/02poverty.htm

    Clearly, no one can survive on the wage paid by the school board. Why would a licensed Nurse, LPN of RN want to work with at least double the recommended client load to simply exist in poverty?

    I suggest that you use your position in the media to bring the facts to the public of the alleged "Nursing Shortage." The lies of employers continue to be touted as the whole truth with no balanced reporting concerning the cause.

    There is no "Nationwide Shortage of Nurses," as touted in your sub-headline over the picture! There is, however, a nationwide environment of inadequate compensation and intolerable working conditions for most Nurses.

    I hope that you can find the conscience to balance reporting with facts and respond to the issues I have raised.

    Sincerely,

    Norbert Holz RN
    Tampa FL
  4. by   Repat
    Hooray, Norbert!! I'd love to hear if you get a reply.
  5. by   suni
    what a great letter. i applaud you for advocating for your profession and will also be interested if you get a reply. remember this is an election year so if you have any local nurses running for the house or senate rock the vote and get us a voice
  6. by   Aussienurse2

    WHOOOO HOOOOO Go Norbert!!!! Sic 'em boy!!!


    Norbert >:angel2:
  7. by   NRSKarenRN
    GREAT post Norbert!

    Corrected my spelling
    Last edit by NRSKarenRN on Oct 4, '02
  8. by   NCTraumaNurse
    Norbert, I think you have spoken up and said something we should all be screaming from the rooftops!!!
  9. by   sjoe
    Exactly right, Norbert. This has been pointed out time and time again on this and other BBs, but few mainstream media people seem to pick it up. (Think their ads paid for by HMOs, etc. might have something to do with it?)
  10. by   rebelwaclause
    Awesome Norbert!
  11. by   Norbert Holz
    Hi All,

    It has only been a couple of years I've been wating for a reply - still nothing! But thne what could a reasonable person say to the facts I presented verses the fiction presented by the "news"paper?
  12. by   SmilingBluEyes
    I think sjoe called it correctly back then, Norbert. Keep up the good fight, however. You are an articulate and intelligent voice in nursing!!!! I am proud when I see nurses of this calabre speak up!
  13. by   traumaRUs
    Our school district just decided to eliminate school nurses! We have lived in the Midwest - Indiana, Illinois and out west - Las Vegas - no school nurses anywhere! When I moved here about 8 years ago - there was a school nurse position open but it paid little.

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