Good article re: Nurses shortage in todays'

  1. New York Times...Go to www.nytimes.com
    They report 800,000 nurse shortage in 15 years.
    And report what the government needs to do.

    In the left column, where it says OPINIONS _ -
    click on the Editors opinions.....
    Last edit by passing thru on Jun 10, '03
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  2. 8 Comments

  3. by   pickledpepperRN
    Truly important. I have attended meetings at my hospital. The HR director actually told a nurse who C/O unsafe staffing, "Well get your friends to come to work here and make your daughter become a nurse so I don't have to listen to you whine!"

    How can we encourage people to attend school? The waiting list for ADN programs in this state is FOUR YEARS!
  4. by   oramar
    HR directors and other managment persons who make snotty remarks like the one spacenurse just reported are high on the list of causes of the nursing shortage. Ifyou pay attention to the situation that spacenurse describes you will notice the HR manager quickly shifted the blame for the problem to others. This is the main reason for the shortage, managment has to go look in the mirror and recoginize it is the prime culprit. As long as blame shifting and nasty reponses to the concerns of nursing PROFESSIONALs continue the nursing shortage will continue.
  5. by   Tanker
    I agree. Management can be part of the problem. I am not a nurse yet (2005 I will be) but have been a manager in Telecom and in marketing. It would seem to me that a hospital would want as close to 100% staffing as possible. So how do you get there? Well, if you are serious you can raise pay rates, create better benefits, and create a better working environment.

    I keep looking at the want ads and see a full page and a half of nursing/medical positions, even here in little Mississippi. Granted MS is one of the lowest paying areas but the cost of living is also pretty low (compared to say CA, where I am from; no regrets either!) Even here there are waiting lists. I was on the waiting list but was high enough that I made it for the Fall. Whew! So getting in right now is tough. And that part can't get better until they get more instructors and grow their programs. I think that is going to be the hardest part.

    So, like in the military, they lose a lot of troops after their first enlistment. Recruiters work furiously to get new boots. While internally management works on retention. It seems that nursing needs to work on retention as well. I have read a lot about burn out. One of the things that attracted me to nursing as a 2nd career was the breadth of the field. Don't like changing bedpans go into the OR, ER, office nursing or any other area. It irks me when people complain about their situation but do nothing about it. If managers are doing their job they will take care of their people and the job. I learned from being in the military that if you take care of the troops they will take care of you. Its win-win. Its too easy if you try. Good management is an art. Need to prune the dead wood.

    The pay is not that bad. Could it be better? Sure. I know there are a lot of considerations for pay when you have a bottom line to attend to. Management just cuts below them. As it is in virtually every business. The execs get richer and the ones actually doing the work get cut. And I see the nursing shortage analagous to sports. PLayers in demand command higher salaries. Why isn't that happening here? Collusion? Oh, sign on bonuses are given. $3000 (+/- a couple 1000)! Well if you divide that over a year that is $250 per month. Not a whole lot and you are committed to them. Maybe even longer than 1 year? Plus after you take out taxes you would be lucky to see 65% of it. Perhaps there should be a pay structure for education. I know that in other public services (ie firefighting) that they gave you a differential if you had an AS or a BS or Masters. Why not here?

    Benefits seem to be pretty standard right now. But other ideas might be to encourage (perhaps with gov't backing?) nurses to become teachers. Why not offer a sabbatical to teach for a year and come back after that period? I know back in the '80s and early '90s some high tech firms gave sabbaticals to personnel after something like 6 years. they were paid while on it. Why couldn't something similar be done here to help eleviate the teaching crunch. Then the hospitals are helping to resolve the shortage by possibly opening more nursing slots in schools. Be part of the solution! I know teaching pays less than actual nursing but if the nurse/teacher were paid thair regular salary supplemented by gov't funding to the employer... Too easy.

    How easy is it to foster a good work environment? How much does it cost to say "good job" or "I appreciate your efforts"? A lot of times that is all that is required. I see and have seen too many idiot managers that can't even do that. They are too busy sucking up to their next higher. It is too easy to be creative to reward employees even with non-monitary rewards. How about a parking spot that is close by for employee of the month? How about a team movie/lunch?

    Being a 2nd career nurse, these are some areas I will be inquiring when I graduate. I may want to get into management but not somewhere where the type of envirionment I want to be in is not supported. I would take a little less pay to be happier. I have read a lot of posts on this BB and it has been great. I am going into this profession with eyes wide open. I have been around the block and know what it is like on the "outside". How would you like to be making nursing wages, or a bit more, and worrying every day if you have a job tomorrow because some exec cooked the books and now has to let go thousands of employees? But he still keeps his millions and you have lost your retirement.
  6. by   Hellllllo Nurse
    Originally posted by oramar
    HR directors and other managment persons who make snotty remarks like the one spacenurse just reported are high on the list of causes of the nursing shortage. Ifyou pay attention to the situation that spacenurse describes you will notice the HR manager quickly shifted the blame for the problem to others. This is the main reason for the shortage, managment has to go look in the mirror and recoginize it is the prime culprit. As long as blame shifting and nasty reponses to the concerns of nursing PROFESSIONALs continue the nursing shortage will continue.
    Exactly.
    I am an RN. I have been treated horribly by hospitals and administrators, and put in situations that are unsafe for nurses and pts.

    These people created the "nursing shortage", now they want to whine about it.

    As has been said here before by many nurses, many times, there is NO shortage of nurses. Stats show there are anough licensed nurses in The U.S. to fill all current opeings. The real shortage lies in nurses who are willing to put up with unsafe and horrendous working conditions.

    Count me as one of the many RNs who has left the hospital setting due to unsafe working conditions, and being treated like a dog.

    As for getting more people into nursing school, that is not the answer. I work with three new grads, all have been nurses less than one year. All three are planning to leave nursing because of the working conditions.
    Last edit by Hellllllo Nurse on Jun 10, '03
  7. by   roxannekkb
    The article in the Times was nice, but as usual, did not address the real problem. First, there have always been waiting lists for nursing schools. In the 70s, 80s, and even 90s. When I went to school in the 80s, I went to a private college because the waiting list at the state school was too long, and you had to meet all sorts of criteria.

    Second, in times of economic downturn, health professions always attract people. The dotcoms broke, unemployment is high, so nursing looks more attractive. You can always get a job, live where you want, etc. Not the best reasons for becoming a nurse, but still, that's why a lot of people do it.

    Third, the reason for the nursing shortage is not a lack of students, not a lack of nurses, but a lack of tolerable places to work. And as long as working conditions remain as poor as they are, there will continue to be an exodus of nurses from the profession--or at least, from jobs where the shortage is most acutely felt, such as hospitals and LTC facilities.

    I notice that the authors of this article mention retention as the last item. Yadda, yadda, haven't we been this route before? When a nursing shortage becomes bad enough, recruiters start getting out the bonuses, the big push is it "get" more students into nursing, while virtually nothing is done to retain staff. That recent thread about the nurse getting her finger bitten off by an abusive drunk patient, and now being blamed that it was her fault, says it all. Take a look at it if you haven't read it--it's an eye opener. Physical abuse, mental abuse, mandatory overtime, exposure to virulent microbes, unable to take breaks, having to work weekends/holidays, no support from management, having no one take your word for anything, being treated like a child, poor compensation, unsafe work conditions, too many patients (and if something happens, you're liable)--and yet, some think the solution to the shortage is just to recruit more students and offer more scholarships. Nurses like the academics who wrote that article probably haven't set foot in a hospital in 50 years.

    The shortage will only grow worse, as long as no one wants to address the real issues.
  8. by   passing thru
    on nurses shortages..........I recently applied at a hospital -- to see what they were offering.
    Their best o_ff_er was what I was earning 10 TEN years ago. !!!!!!!!!!!!!
    And 1/3 the sign on offer I was getting 10 years ago !!!!!!!
    This was a HCA hospital...

    Thanks, I will stay agency !!
  9. by   zudy
    great post, roxannekkb. You said it all.
  10. by   Hellllllo Nurse
    Originally posted by zudy
    great post, roxannekkb. You said it all.
    AGREED.

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