Better With Age........

  1. Proof Positive that administrators already KNOW how to fix the problem of the bedside nurse shortage. They just won't spend the money ......YET.

    "Better with Age -
    Lorraine Steefel, RN, MSN
    Masthead Date June 04, 2001

    Like a fine wine, nurses and their skills improve with time.

    SHE’S NEEDED. She’s wanted. There may have been times during her 30-something-year nursing career that Nell Cantin* doubted it. Recent changes in hospital policy and practice are positive proof of her “valuable” employee status. First came patient-nurse ratio mandates of no greater than 5:1. Then patient beds that turn into chairs were purchased.
    Then....
    Better working conditions, shift flexibility, no mandatory overtime, and higher salaries all made this older RN happy to remain in her chosen profession.

    If you’re wondering where Cantin works, it’s the “hospital of the future.”.........

    ...When older RNs leave the workforce, they’ll take with them a great deal of the collective clinical experience and knowledge base of the profession. Even getting a small percentage to work a few more years will have a relatively large impact. The following issues are important enough to make older staff nurses consider extending their work life:

    TOP TEN REASONS WHY Older Staff RNs Would Extend Their Work Life:

    10.Supportive workplaces with free expression of ideas, friendship, and encouragement
    9.Social interaction with peers, patients, and other disciplines
    8.More control over their work setting
    7.Participation in decision making
    6.Work recognition, encouragement, and positive feedback from supervisors
    5.Less-strenuous jobs that use their experience
    4.Ergonomically friendly, safe and effective workplaces
    3.Economic incentives (includes salary, compensation, health benefits, etc)
    2.Favorable work schedules
    1.Retirement programs that make working longer attractive

    “The question is a matter of preparation,” says Mary Foley, RN, MS, president of the American Nurses Association. “Are our institutions prepared to accommodate the older nurse? Are our working institutions ready to accommodate a knowledgeable worker who cannot contribute the hours, but is still valuable? On the other hand, despite the difficulties of aging, can older nurses rise to another challenge — that of helping reform a workplace that can benefit from their strong work ethic?” Because older RNs are less likely to tolerate a workplace where they experience lack of respect by physicians and administrators, among others, or unreasonable restrictions on their autonomy and control over nursing practice, hospitals should examine the culture of their organizations and remove such practices and behaviors............"

    for full article go to: http://community.nursingspectrum.com...e.cfm?AID=4177

    (managements free news magazine to nurses - free because all the recruitment ads from scab agencies & healthcare facility HR depts pay for its publication.)
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  2. 12 Comments

  3. by   P_RN
    AMEN
  4. by   CaronRN58
    It's nice to see that somebody remembers that we( boomers and beyond) are here and functioning and contributing. Would like to see some monetary rewards for staying the coarse.
    CaronRN58
  5. by   xrockstheheart
    Hello this is my first time here. I came looking for Lorraine Steel, RN and look I found the rest of you. I hope you're all doing well. I specifically came on to tell Lorraine, and now the rest of you to read, "Nursing as a function of Time" at www.nursewise.com By yours truely. I feel your pain and I hope that this article will empower all of you. Later.
  6. by   humglum
    Well, isn't that the truth. Just another reason why the focus should be on retention rather than recruitment. I know on one of the floors at my hospital there has been a mass exodus over the past 4 months or so... now nearly every nurse working night shift there is a new grad, or one with less than a year's experience in acute care.

    Scary indeed.
  7. by   jnette
    Quote from CharmCityRN
    Well, isn't that the truth. Just another reason why the focus should be on retention rather than recruitment. I know on one of the floors at my hospital there has been a mass exodus over the past 4 months or so... now nearly every nurse working night shift there is a new grad, or one with less than a year's experience in acute care.

    Scary indeed.
    Amen. But we all know that $$ talks and good nurses walk. :stone

    At my facility I am the most recent nurse, and I'm in my ninth year now ! The others have all been there 12 years or more. And getting ready to walk. How sad is that?

    Can't help but wonder if they're not TRYING to push us out the door.. and replace us with newbies they can either pay less or who are so happy to have a job, they'll put up with anything.
  8. by   SmilingBluEyes
    Its much easier to import them or grab em fresh out of school than to do a few things make experienced nurses happy. Everyone knows that. Until these sources somehow dry up, don't expect anyone to bend over backward to care about experienced, older nurses. Wont' happen.
  9. by   SmilingBluEyes
    Quote from jnette
    Amen. But we all know that $$ talks and good nurses walk. :stone

    Can't help but wonder if they're not TRYING to push us out the door.. and replace us with newbies they can either pay less or who are so happy to have a job, they'll put up with anything.
    That is exactly what is happening. New nurses are less likely to demand much. It makes total fiscal sense to get rid of you.
  10. by   humglum
    Quote from jnette
    Amen. But we all know that $$ talks and good nurses walk. :stone

    At my facility I am the most recent nurse, and I'm in my ninth year now ! The others have all been there 12 years or more. And getting ready to walk. How sad is that?

    Can't help but wonder if they're not TRYING to push us out the door.. and replace us with newbies they can either pay less or who are so happy to have a job, they'll put up with anything.
    That's distressing. Why are the experienced nurses leaving? Have your working conditions deteriorated, or is it something specific? Just curious.
  11. by   Spidey's mom
    Quote from jnette
    Amen. But we all know that $$ talks and good nurses walk. :stone

    At my facility I am the most recent nurse, and I'm in my ninth year now ! The others have all been there 12 years or more. And getting ready to walk. How sad is that?

    Can't help but wonder if they're not TRYING to push us out the door.. and replace us with newbies they can either pay less or who are so happy to have a job, they'll put up with anything.
    I'm not sure about your last statement though Jnette.

    One of the more interesting debates has been about the difference between Baby Boomer nurses and those who have come after.

    Baby Boomer nurses were more likely to sacrifice family time for the job. More likely to work overtime. More likely to put up with difficult work situations. It was the "work ethic" taught that generation of people.

    Those who came after have surprised the older nurses with their unwillingness to come in on days off, work overtime, put up with crap.

    I've read many articles about this phenomenon . . and experienced it where I work. (Even though I'm a Boomer . . . I say no to working more than my scheduled shifts and no to overtime . .. .well, most of the time - I stayed 3 hours over last night with an OB due to heavy ER patients and my replacement was helping in there). There is an attitude among the nurses who have been here a long time that I'm selfish. "This is the way we've always done it".

    I'd like to see the research that new grads will put up with stuff we don't. I think it might be the opposite. Couple that with the fact that most of us Boomers are realizing that it isn't healthy to continue to work in situations that are abusive to us, body, mind and soul . . I think that might be the reason things are changing for the better in the hospitals. The "nursing shortage" was nurses finally saying "no!".

    I have no real evidence to back all this up of course . . .I have just read alot about how to bridge the gap between the work expectations of your staff when they are from different generations.

    Rambling on here . . .

    steph :spin:
    Last edit by Spidey's mom on Mar 31, '05 : Reason: typos
  12. by   VivaLasViejas
    Quote from stevielynn
    I'm not sure about your last statement though Jnette.

    One of the more interesting debates has been about the difference between Baby Boomer nurses and those who have come after.

    Baby Boomer nurses were more likely to sacrifice family time for the job. More likely to work overtime. More likely to put up with difficult work situations. It was the "work ethic" taught that generation of people.

    Those who came after have surprised the older nurses with their unwillingness to come in on days off, work overtime, put up with crap.

    I've read many articles about this phenomenon . . and experienced it where I work. (Even though I'm a Boomer . . . I say no to working more than my scheduled shifts and no to overtime . .. .well, most of the time - I stayed 3 hours over last night with an OB due to heavy ER patients and my replacement was helping in there). There is an attitude among the nurses who have been here a long time that I'm selfish. "This is the way we've always done it".

    I'd like to see the research that new grads will put up with stuff we don't. I think it might be the opposite. Couple that with the fact that most of us Boomers are realizing that it isn't healthy to continue to work in situations that are abusive to us, body, mind and soul . . I think that might be the reason things are changing for the better in the hospitals. The "nursing shortage" was nurses finally saying "no!".

    I have no real evidence to back all this up of course . . .I have just read alot about how to bridge the gap between the work expectations of your staff when they are from different generations.

    Rambling on here . . .

    steph :spin:
    Well said, Steph, and I salute you for not allowing yourself to be overworked. This is what's great about being middle aged and older......we no longer feel we always have to be 'nice', thus letting ourselves be taken advantage of. We don't have to win any popularity contests either; although it IS good to be liked and appreciated by co-workers, we know that playing the martyr and working ourselves to death won't benefit anyone in the end. We work to live---we don't live to work. We spend time with our families and friends, doing things that give us pleasure and meaning in life, and damned if we'll be made to feel guilty for it!!

    Obviously, I'm another nurse who'll never receive anybody's Nurse of the Year award......I love my work, but I love my life and my family more, and I don't see me lying on my deathbed wishing I'd spent more time at the hospital. I work overtime once in a while, but I've learned that there's a whole lot more to life than the almighty buck and a pat on the head from administration.
  13. by   jnette
    I see what you'r trying to say, Steph.. but that's not quite where I was headed.. not what I meant.

    I agree a lot of the "newer generation" of not only nurses, but folks in general are not nearly as "dedicated" ... heh.
    As we say around here..
    "you just can't find no good help these days !"

    But I meant that more about the brand new kids on the block.. the ones who haven't been exposed to the abuses of the system long enough to recognize them, or feel confident enough to protest. Or in geographical areas where employment is severley lacking.. ppl are glad to get work regardless.

    That is the case in my area... and the companies KNOW it, and abuse it. Employees of ANY kind here are VERY replaceable ! So it's a matter of "don't like it? There's the door.. there are plenty standing in line and chomping at the bit to have your job, honey !"
    Charm City.. to answer your question.. it's more a matter of ever deteriorating conditions. The disrespect we receive from mgt. is blatant.. our annual raises have been cut, and the company spends billions on marketing while demanding more and more from their already understaffed facilities. Always coming up with new protocols from those in admin who have never been nurses to begin with, and never asking for our input before implementing new procedures/protocols. It's all about the external whitewash... no recognition or appreciation for the loyalty and dedication of some of the finest nurses you'd ever want to meet. :stone
  14. by   humglum
    I'm really sorry to hear that, Jnette. At my facility, there are several nurses that have been there well over the 20 year mark, and they are extremely well compensated (i.e. they make far more than our NPs on staff) in addition to other retention incentives. I, for one, greatly value the experience and knowledge these nurses have to offer and would never again want to be part of a predominantly younger and less experienced staff.

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