Do you feel that Nurses are underpaid and overworked? - page 3

Do you feel that Nurses are underpaid and overworked? Or do you think nurses are adequately paid and worked? Let hear your opinion, post a reply to this message. ------------------ Brian... Read More

  1. by   LAS
    I completely agree with the
    statements made by Carol Hann. Nurse
    must learn to support and nurture
    each other
  2. by   sparrow
    I agree with those who feel overworked and underpaid. I've been nursing for 25 years and most of that time I've been in a management type position (same now). I live and work in an area about 80 miles from the nations capital and still make less than $24/hr, have only 3 weeks vacation (after over 20 years in one facility), poor medical insurance, and they just (magnanomusly) started paying time and a half for holidays worked (wow, little late for me - I worked every Christmas for 15 years - where was this thank you then???). They are now in the process of killing their managers: I wear 3 caps in my position, am both the manager and sole employee of my department. I have no back up (so when I'm off sick, surgery, or vacation) no one is qualified to do my job and so things simply grind to a halt to await my return. So taking time off is difficult. The facility I work in indulges in "micro-management" - you know "swallow a camel and strangle on a gnat". They also like to keep the real power in the hands of one or two people! (You know, they tell you to be responsible but don't give you any real authority.) And then they really don't want to listen to their own people (but they will pay big bucks to bring in outside "specialists" to tell them what they have already paid you to tell them!) It has left me asking the questions: "Who am I? What is my role in life? Am I valued?" Unsatisfied, unfullfilled, depressed, frustrated, and wanting out of medicine altogether. And I felt the same when I did patient care -the one or two times I felt valued by the patient were totally eclipsed by the frustration of having to work chronically short staffed, without adequate supplies (you would think this were a 3rd world country), and never once then or now does administration every acknowledge your contribution. They just want you to keep giving until you are dried up and useless, and then they throw you away and get another young nurse to abuse!
  3. by   ED,RN
    Of course nurses are underpaid and overworked, and it is burning us out. I just got done looking through the help wanted ads in my local newspaper and a dental hygenist and a 911 dispatcher make more money!(And they didn't have to go to school for 4 years!) Plus, those positions don't have to get puked on, cursed at, yelled at, and be-littled by a pompus MD. I am thinking about changing careers, because enough is enough. I can't put up the fight anymore. But then I think about the patients and the new nurses that are coming to the ED and I feel sorry for the patients, because the majority of the new staff have no idea what they are doing. To be honest, I don't think more money would even help the situation. The facts are, there is a nursing shortage, and administration likes to keep wages just a little higher then your usual run-of-the-mill position to keep nurses in their place.

    Thank you for letting me vent. My husband is getting sick of listening to me.
  4. by   Erbn Girl
    Dear ED,RN-I too agree with the majority that nurses are grossly underpaid and overworked. I worked "sick" for 4 days because of the call-off policy..this would have given me a bad mark. (I have gotten every flu bug and bout of bronchitis in the last year that went around...no joke). You get penalized for calling off sick but the administration tells you that you are doing your patients an injustice by coming in ill! Sound a little familiar??? Maybe if we were given better staffing and pay, we could afford physically & financially afford to take better care of ourselves and hence take better care of our patients! Too simple of a concept though...they keep trying to get the last ounce of work from you for a few mere dollars. For the responsibilities that we nurses have, our base salaries should be AT LEAST double from where they currently stand. I love my husband dearly (he's a sheetmetal worker) but when he comes home and I look at his checks...HE'S NOT responsible for people's lives and he makes almost $10 an hour cash more an hour AND benefits, shoes, etc! And yes, ED,RN..my husband gets tired of listening to my complaining too. By the way, I WAS a 911 dispatcher and I most definitely got cursed at, yelled at and screamed at (not puked on though!) by citizens AND police officers, BUT sure didn't get better pay than nurses. You are also responsible for others lives, just in a different context. Instead of dealing with folks face to face, you directed them on how to save someone from bleeding to death after getting shot or do CPR after being instructed on the telephone of the procedures! I started in 1979 and worked at it for 8 years and came out making about $6.50 an hour. This was for a fair-sized city of 100,000 folks too. It is probably better now, but I would not trade my profession now for anything in the world. We just all have to keep standing up for our beliefs and fight for what we are worth...which is a lot more than I have been seeing on my paycheck lately!!
  5. by   emmidee
    You think you guys are underpaid? Listen to this. I am a new grad in South Alabama working in the ED. Wanna know what all new grads in Lower Alabama make? 11.25 an hour. So feel blessed, because there isn't enough low cost of living in the world to excuse that poor laugh of a living. I would MAX OUT at 22 dollars an hour. Right now my checks look pretty big, but with more money comes more bills and as a nurse of 3 weeks, I am already seeing this to be so. My husband also makes more than I do with a high school diploma drilling water wells. Go figure.
  6. by   LPN2RN
    I agree, underappreciated, overextended, compromised...and underpaid, of course.
    I was a CNA, then an LPN and for some reason, I didn't see the writing on the wall...in May I will be an RN. I truly enjoy providing quality care. That's why I chose to stay in Nursing.
    BUT: I resent having to work short every day...it compromises care. That's not to say clients don't get quality care, but OH, I could do SO much for them!
    I resent being so rushed, that I cannot spend an extra few minutes w/pts that need additional TLC...that's the part of nursing I love!
    I resent the fact that I am told I will stay late, even after my replacement has arrived. If I remember correctly, I have a family too. And I don't see administrative nurses staying to assist.
    I resent the fact that I am underpaid, and that person's w/less education and fewer responsiblities make more $.
    But, in the end, I still love what I do. I just want a pat on the back every now and then, and a "job well done" from those that matter. I want a bit of consideration. I want to PRACTICE NURSING. (not housekeeping, maintenance, courrier-ing or any other non-nursing task) I want to care for my client...
    Recently our facility attempted to unionize. Many of us were torn. Prior to bringing in the union, the nurses attempted to communicate w/administration, only to be threatened, shaken and quieted...so many saying "oh, I can't afford to lose my job!"
    The biggest thing about the union that so many disliked? - Non nursing personnel representing nursing personnel. Sorry that's definitely a no go. That's what's happening now, in hospitals and LTC facilities and clinics all over the country! Non nursing personnel in positions that can dictate WHAT will happen in the environment in which we provide care...
    What do we do about it. Get involved. It's part of our profession. Get involved in EVERYTHING, governmental, institutional, political, social, you name it, we should all be there. Raise our voices. My community was appalled at the wages nursing made, once they found out about it. It forced some changes. We are a long way from complete, but we're on our way...
    (I use my e-mail SO MUCH! Thank God for my computer! It saves me a bunch of time.)
    Thanks for listening...
    Julie LPN, soon to be RN
  7. by   mande
    With all the replies posted this seems to be a world wide problem,The major budget usage in a Hospital is on Nursing Salaries,this seems to make it very difficult for hospital administration to increase or pay better salaries as they then dont make any money.
    Drs and other staff are able to increase their income depending on the amount of work they do.
    No matter how hard we work we still earn the same.
    In south Africa i work in a major 30 bed Trauma Intensive Care unit and you would be shocked to hear that i earn the equivelent of 7 Dollars an hour.
    This rate ensures that i have to work at 3 jobs in order to care for my family.
    So when you work at more than 1 job no matter what you feel about nursing you feel overworked and underpaid.

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  8. by   shee1a
    Yes absolutely. It goes right back to the same thing. If nurses were able to charge for each service they perfoemed rather than their pay be included as part of the hospital room cost we could better negotiate wages. Resp. therapists charge $30. to put a pulse ox on someones finger yet at my place but every service i do for the patient is considered part of his room fee. HR tells me that this is one reason why it is hard to change nurses salaries, because they would have to increase room fees and then comes the concern that the hospital is not as competitive as the one down the street.
  9. by   suenurse
    While I agree that nurses are underpaid, the real issue is the way our nurses are overworked. What other profession has mandated overtime? Where I work, if a nurse on the incoming shift calls in sick, staffing is so thin that a nurse from the present shift must be mandated to cover that shift unless a nurse can be found to come in on short notice. If that nurse has young children in daycare or any other obligation, they are told that they must stay anyway or be fired. Only recently have they begun rotating who gets mandated, otherwise it was always the lowest senior nurse getting nailed over and over again. I myself was mandated for double shifts on Easter weekend, twice on July 4th weekend, 3 times in August, once in September, 4 times in October and once in November. I also was mandated for overtime on Christmas Eve. One nurse got mandated for overtime against his will 8 times in one 2 week pay period. He left nursing to go be a truck driver. No wonder we can't get any new nurses to come and work for us! Our staff keeps getting cut, and management keeps telling us that we can do all of the work without the help that we used to have. If the work doesn't get done, we are told that we are disorganized and need to learn how to make better use of our time. Unit managers are taken away to constant meetings and not available to assist in the unexpected happenings of the day. We are constantly inundated with pool staff who are unfamiliar with the facility and prone to more med and treatment errors because of this. What a dangerous situation! These nurses also have a higher tendency than our regular staff to "cancel" their scheduled hours on very short notice so that it is almost impossible to replace them without mandating a regular staff nurse. All I know is that a person would have to be crazy to go into nursing. Especially when anyone else with a similar education investment is more adequately compensated without having to work holidays and weekends!
  10. by   BC512RN
    Oh-my-god! How did we all get into such a mess. I read everyone of the preceeding messages and I could cry. I am working like a dog at a profession I still love after 25 years in critical care.

    I also am the chairperson of my bargaining unit. The NYSNA, New York State Nurses Association represents our nurses here on Long Island. I can tell you all that some of your problems will go away if you stick together. Not organized necessairly, although it is the best way. As women we have be programed to back off, back down,shut up and just get the job done. Not any more. I am well paid, the average nurse here makes $55,000, with 4 weeks vacation, excellent health benefits with a small copay. We fought hard and won our way to one of the best contract here on Long Island. Senior nurses, greater than 20 years get 6 weeks vacation, make about 65,000 but we all work like dogs. It appears it is only getting worse everywhere. Meal time, breaks, what the heck are they. I am getting ready to take this bargaining unit out on strike because of the Mandatory OT issues I read about in many of your stories. We also had someone fired because she left to care for minor children. We also had her reinstated when we confronted the DON on the leagality of her decision. We need a single voice, a loud voice, when will we learn or will we have to start losing lives to realize enough is enough. They, the patients are counting on us. Speak up, make the call, tell someone we are drowning and the public is going down with us.

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    Barbara
  11. by   emhkirkpatrick
    Boy do we sound like a bunch of BOB's--That's bitter old *******.
    Unfortunatley the profession suffers from a lack of cohesiveness among it's members.
    And I am just as guilty as everyone else of compalining and not doing anything about it. What is the solution? I'm not sure there is one. I do make good money compared to a lot of other people but am I paid for what I 'm worth? No.
    Hospital costs whether for profit or non are driven by government regualtions and insurance compaies......And that means both the unsafe situations we are asked to work and the money they pay us....are here to stay.
    On this bulletin board is a petition that can be signed and will be sent to George Bush and Al Gore to call attention to our plight ......will it help.....I doubt it. (Look for the petition under Unsafe in the bulletin board list)
    Our solution may be to report thes situations to the head of the hospital board in writing to our state and federal legislators.
    Did I help this discussion find answers and solutions? No !
    But it felt good to vent.
  12. by   mfpres
    We are not overpaid. We are overworked. I would go back to the hospital tomorrow if I could have 1/2 the pay for 1/2 the patient load I had. Being a postop surgical floor nurse and going from 8-10 patients to 15 patients was unbearable. No amount of money could have made me stay. However, I miss my patients terribly. Money is not the issue, its definitely workload.
  13. by   mcrow
    Being overworked may not be the issue as much as working unsafely understaffed as most nurses do. The pay is not a big issue either other than when you compare other jobs in the hospitals where I've worked. A position requiring a license is often paid less than one which requires no formal training or continueing ed. It's a matter of respect. Working for myself at my home based business gives me the most satisfaction. At least I know the work I am doing is appreciated and there's a lot less stress.

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