I left the nursing field in '95 and opened an assisted living facility with my family. Even though business is good and I make 35K, quite frankly, I am bored stiff! I miss using my nursing skills. I started reading these posts because I was considering going back... thinking of moving to a large city and that maybe a large hospital would be better. (I would still be part-owner, just not actively employed there). I already have a B.S. degree and was also considering going through the Regents program to get my RN. But now I think I need to have my head examined for even THINKING about it!
From what I've read things have only gotten worse... something I have a very hard time even imagining. Things were BAD 10 years ago and I could see this crisis coming even then. When I'd suggest we form a union the other nurses would look at me like I was from planet Mars! After reading 100's of posts all I can think is OHMYGOD!!! This is sooo tragic! In 10 frickin' years not one thing has changed! I watched nurses age rapidly, have stress-related disorders, depression, nervous breakdowns, heart attacks.... It was so bad at times we would hide in the supply room and cry. What was so disheartening was that there were more people down in laundry FOLDING SHEETS than nurses taking care of patients! And now I see that hospitals still have not gotten the concept that WITHOUT NURSES THERE IS NO HOSPITAL! They are and will always be the BACKBONE of a hospital.
I have a very hard time feeling sorry for the very people who created this crisis!!! You cannot consistenly treat nurses like second class citizens, take away their basic human rights, throw them into the pit of hell with no support whatsoever and then wonder why they are leaving the 'profession' in droves and not entering nursing schools
! And I see that you can still go to work out of high school packing potato chips and make more money!
I obtained my LPN degree in '91 and went to work in a small community hospital. Even back then it was 'feast or famine'. On the days we worked we ALWAYS had 11 patients each. On the med/surg floor we had one RN and two LPN's for 22 patients. On a "busy" day, if they opened the West wing of the floor one of us had to take part of that hall plus keep some of the patients we had on Main. In other words, sometimes we had more than 11 patients each! They finally 'gave' us some CNA's to help but they were the first to be called off. Famine? If the census was low the LPN's were called off next (they would schedule three LPN's "just in case") and I was regularly called off about once a week. We worked 3-12's and needless to say, losing 12-24 hrs a paycheck HURT. It was as if the hospital refused to let us have a good day where we could actually give adequate patient care! My last year at the hospital I made 10K!!! (I started out at $6.83/hr and after a YEAR received a .35 raise! I used tojoke that after taxes I would be able to buy an extra pack of gum a month!) In the peice of crap hospital I worked in we weren't even paid time and a half for holidays! And I remember working the night they rolled the clocks back for daylight savings time.... no pay for the extra hour!
To every nurse who is sticking it out all I can say is "Brava!!!" To those who want to leave... I don't blame you one bit. I can hardly imagine the shape of things to come if things don't change STAT!!!