Could THIS Be the Cause of the Nursing Shortage? - page 4

"...you haven't even been a nurse long enough to even have an opinion." "...she has nothing to contribute to the nursing profession until she acquires some more experience." "The nurse was... Read More

  1. Visit  Thistle profile page
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    Ok, here's my 2 cents worth....
    I left nursing nearly 2 years ago although I have kept up my license. I worked 12 hr night shifts on the renal floor of a major hospital. Why did I leave?.... I'd had enough of the abuse! The docs treat nurses as if they were mindless maids or servants, and blamed the nurse for anything and everything that went wrong. The administration did not support the nursing staff in the least, and continuously increased our workload, even after multiple complaints that the load and conditions were unsafe.
    I'd typically have 8 high acuity patients, mostly fresh transplants, multiple systems failure, CAPD, and such. There would be one other nurse who had her own heavy patient load, and if we were extremely fortunate, we'd have a CNA. After the Unit Secretary died, we were then required to do her work as well. All too frequently I'd have to go to other floors in the facility to do the CAPD exchanges (several times per shift each) for patients in ICU or elsewhere, in addition to caring for my own patients. For the last 2 years I worked there was no such thing as a coffee or lunch break. I'd work 8 nights in a row, and still they were calling on my days off begging me to come in. The working conditions were deplorable, the docs were the epitome of rudness and excessive egos, the administration was uncaring and even complained when we'd have to stay longer after the shift was over so we could finally sit and do some charting. Then they announced "no raises this year". Nurses were quitting by the droves, and were not being replaced with new hires. They sucked the enthusiasm, positive attitude, and the life out of me. And for what? Less than what new grads were earning elsewhere?
    The last straw was at the end of a particularly horrible shift, when a hot shot transplant doc stood in the middle of the pod and yelled at me for not calling him about a patient that was going bad. It was clearly documented that repeated attempts were made to call him for the previous 7 hours. Aparently he was no where near a phone or his pager. I saved his patient, but he accused me of nearly killing the man.
    Enough was enough! I quit.
    This is only my story, there are hundreds more out there, most I'm sure more horrific than mine, but I believe this is why there is a shortage of nurses!
    I miss doing patient care, but I don't miss the abuse.
  2. Visit  JennieBSN profile page
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    .
    Last edit by JennieBSN on Dec 8, '01
  3. Visit  Q. profile page
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    I can vouch for that as well.
    I work at a large teaching hospital and a 50 bed community hospital in an upscale neighborhood. WORLD of difference....
  4. Visit  aklgap profile page
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    I have been out of nursing for over a year now. I feel like a new person, but sometimes I just miss it sooooooo much. Brownie, your post about nursing and how young people view us touched me very much. My aunt was a nurse and I thought she was up there with God (in the good karma department -- not in the way people view physicians). I don't think people see nurses that way anymore. People say "Oh, a nurse? How wonderful! I could never do that." But they say it in the same voice they use to patronize their cleaning lady or anyone else who does something the wouldn't be caught dead doing.

    When you think about it, society as a whole has lost all respect for all things directly related to caring for others (clergy, full-time mothers, nurses, teachers, etc). Make a million dollars selling sex to people on the internet and you're a socialite.

  5. Visit  Q. profile page
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    Originally posted by chigap:
    I have been out of nursing for over a year now. I feel like a new person, but sometimes I just miss it sooooooo much. Brownie, your post about nursing and how young people view us touched me very much. My aunt was a nurse and I thought she was up there with God (in the good karma department -- not in the way people view physicians). I don't think people see nurses that way anymore. People say "Oh, a nurse? How wonderful! I could never do that." But they say it in the same voice they use to patronize their cleaning lady or anyone else who does something the wouldn't be caught dead doing.

    When you think about it, society as a whole has lost all respect for all things directly related to caring for others (clergy, full-time mothers, nurses, teachers, etc). Make a million dollars selling sex to people on the internet and you're a socialite.

    This is so true, and so sad.
  6. Visit  Mijourney profile page
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    Hi colleagues. What thoughtful posts! You've all hit the nail on the head in your own way. Nursing is not an attractive profession for all of the above reasons. The question is who will mind the store when no one is there to pick up the pieces? When we need help ourselves, what will we have available to us for nursing staff?

    I have no plans of ever returning to institutionalized bedside nursing. But, I feel strongly that facility-based bedside nurses must get the support needed, because what I do and what happens to my patients in the home is directly affected by what happens to the patient in the hospital.
  7. Visit  JeanthePHN profile page
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    well I dont agree. I am 40 and had 2nd generation immigrant parents who never graduated from high school and worked menial jobs all their lives and told me to "be a nurse cause nurses always have work" I was so shy and naive and ignorant when I was 16 17 yrs old I did not know I was chosing a job that wiped butts or body parts, or worked all hours and days of the week. My stupid little world did not know what nurses did as a job and neither did my parents. Of course teenagers and parents and the public dont really know what nurses do today either. When I finally graduated from school, thinking of all the glory and money I could make, I quickly learned I was a slave labor in a hospital as a med/surg nurse and got out. I took a easy, but almost minimum wage clinic job and stayed 10 years. I am one of those 40 something nurses and do regret every going into it. And if I had been born in 1975 or 1980 instead of 1960 I hope my choices would have been more than what my Depression era parents gave me.

    ------------------
  8. Visit  JennieBSN profile page
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    I think nursing is like every other job out there...it's not for everyone. I also think that part of the problem with young people not wanting to go into a field that isn't 'glamorous' or high-paying is because they have idols like rap stars and athletes that basically do nothing and get paid millions, and that is the standard.

    On another note, it really makes me angry to see/hear other nurses discouraging young people from going into the profession. They may not be happy or like nursing, but it doesn't mean some of these other young folks won't. If it's their dream, don't crush it simply because you're unhappy with your choice. Let them decide for themselves if nursing is what they want to do. If they get into it and don't like it, they can always leave. I was in a sorority in college and HATED it, but when my sister in law asked my opinion on sororities before she stared college, I told her that she should at least try one out if she wanted to, because her experience might be different from mine. Just because I didn't have a good experience didn't mean she wouldn't. The same is true for nursing. Just my 2 cents.
  9. Visit  CEN35 profile page
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    what can I say?

    I think Kday makes a valid point.

    CEN35 (Rick)
  10. Visit  jo1998 profile page
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    Originally posted by Susy K:
    "...you haven't even been a nurse long enough to even have an opinion."


    "...she has nothing to contribute to the nursing profession until she acquires some more experience."


    "The nurse was created to assist the physicians with her or her duties, like wiping butts, emptying urinals, giving baths, giving pills."


    "...Diploma nurses are the only true nurses. The rest just don't stack up."


    "...you are glorified butt wipers, that's what you are...."
    I know that historically nursing shortages cycle every five or so years, cycling disciplines as well. I have been taking care of patients long enough to have seen two of these shortages! I have also worked in several other "professional" atmospheres and learned that no career choice is immuned to caddiness. Also, being relative of police officers and fire persons, I can say that their unity does not spare them from public opinion, and untruths. The medical field has received much publicity from the debate of managed care health insurance. Managed care has crippled many hospitals, both in financial and patient care areas. It pains me to know that patients are d/c'd before they are ready, that I can not adequately treat them as their insurance would not cover appropriate testing, surgeries, meds, etc. I often wonder, if the patients, and future nurses are disuayed after receiving care. It's not that we don't do the best we can, it's that insurance companies don't allow us. I could only imagine what a tainted opinion some patients must get, and how many people they discuss their experiences with. It is not so much nurses giving nurses a bad rap, but patients can be very verbal, often lashing out at direct care staff, and ignoring my plea to call their insurance company and complain! I don't know how enthusiatic I would be going into a nursing program, when the media floods viewers with exaggerated negatives. My daughter wanted to become a nurse, and I asked her to evaluate this decision. She did a pro vs. con list. Not surprising she is enrolled in college with a double major in business management and computers. Had her data confirmed her desire to be a nurse, I certainly would have supported that decision as well, although I am somewhat relieved to know that someone will still be able to prepare holiday meals, while I work LOL! My compassion and love for nursing keeps me very content. I wonder though, is there a nursing shortage or is it Managed Care Restructure? (I hope not)
  11. Visit  walkaway profile page
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    Reading all these posts reveals one thing about the people in this profession. It is truely a thinking group! I have also been concerned about the low enrollment into nursing schools. Speaking with friends of my children who are currently in college I would say that the money is the biggest factor to not choose nursing. The kids just want bigggg bucks! I have a son in engineering and he earned $18 an hour as a coop student still in college. Interestingly enough, his university last year did survey their teaching costs and the result was that the 2 most expensive courses to teach were engineering and nursing. As a result the university raised the cost of those two programs by placing semester surcharges on them. I don't think the new GNs will be getting the starting rate that the new engineers will get, even though their educations cost the same. The young people who are in nursing seem to be there because the are really going to love the work. Those I know have been working as aides first and just really admire the nurses they work under and seem to really want this. But alot of high school students have really not had an experience any where and they look up salaries on the internet and pick one with a high earning potential and just go for it.
  12. Visit  nurs4kids profile page
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    SuzyK,
    My respect for you has grown greatly since the "rn vs lpn" thread . You really hit the nail on the head with your above post. Keep on typin' girl. Though I'm a little intimidated by your intelligence and spunk, <coughs> seeing that you're a LITTLE younger than me, I really enjoy reading your posts.
    Lead us to the promised land, sister suzy!

    Originally posted by Susy K:
    I agree with all of you about the altruistic side of nursing. Hell, I think EVERY healthcare professional that chooses that route has some element of altruism. Big bucks or not, it takes some human compassion to do that job from day to day. I also agree with Tiara though. How "warm and fuzzy" can it be when you are working under conditions that don't allow you to do that? I've been happy lately when all my patients have been assessed and all my babies aren't blue. There's no interaction there. There's no connection. When I'm with a labor patient and we've bonded and I'm coaching her, etc, and that I'm told that I have to stay 4-8 hours more than my original 12 hour shift, a part of me grows to silently resent my patient, and I don't like that. When I finally get a relief nurse and I give report, and she nails me for forgetting to sign out some pain medications, I feel like crap. The little reward that I did feel from the small connection that I made with my patient was just lost.

    Altruism or not, it does not put wood on the fire. In fact, I would feel better volunteering my time with children or the elderly, and get my human connection that way. But, nursing is my job. I need it to survive at this point. I need an income, I need a paycheck.

    I see it as all one big vicious cycle. As Brownie stated above, nurses are people too, with feelings, resentments, baggage, and families. Just because we are in a caring field does not mean we shouldn't care about ourselves or each other. While we relish on the moments we spend with our patients - as I look in awe and wonder of a birth, as I see my patient smile because I just helped her breastfeed her newborn for the first time, as I see a new dad cry; these are all very rewarding to me. I couldn't ask for greater rewards. But these feelings only last so long. When it comes down to it, when the bills are due, when the public is growing distrustful of nurses, when I'm afraid I'm going to make a mistake because I'm working 16 hour shifts, when my own personal life suffers, then something has to change, and the altruism just doesn't cut it anymore.

    I don't think we need to sell the idea of nursing to people using the human interaction concept. Most people get that. But there is no reason why human compassion and altruism can't go hand in hand with a professionally rewarding and respectful career as well.

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