Oh, I have no illusions: TPTB WISH we were as easily replaced as they would like. But it just isn't so. We all know that there isn't a 'shortage' of nurses, but a shortage of those willing to do the work at the price they are being paid.
But, as nurses 'decide' they don't want that kind of work, they tend to move to jobs away from that kind of work. It's not just a game of musical chairs. That being the case, the old standby has always been to 'prime the pump' of the nursing pipeline.
This is why a new nurse was brought into critical care in the first place.
The 'pump' is damaged, if not broken.
So, we simply AREN'T as easily replaced as we used to be. It might not be a direct reflection of 'professionalism', but it IS a direct reflection of relative value, and those two concepts will come, hand in hand.
Just because we are more difficult to replace doesn't translate to respect as of yet. So, I understand your response completely. But respect is a function of value. AS more and more effort and expense goes into retaining and recruiting nurses, that 'lagging indicator', respect, WILL catch up. Either that, or employers are bigger idiots then I thought (and THAT's a huge assumption). Nevertheless, the latter might well be the case.