I graduated from an ADN program in '96--there were 27 in my class that finally made it to that coveted "RN" title. Great people in my class, all wonderful nurses, all so enthusiastic, good as gold. Fast-forward to the year 2002. Though I have no exact figure, I would estimate that only 1/4th of my original class are STILL at the bedside. Many have left for home health, health department, supervisory roles, management, doctor's offices, aren't working, etc, etc. And I just realized that I (gasp!) have now officially left the bedside also, in becoming an RN clinical instructor (although I still work part time at my local hospital). I am very thrilled about my job change and look upon this as a great opportunity. However, as I look back on all that I went through, these past six years--- two nurse-eating units (one as a new grad that nearly destroyed me), one DISASTROUS hospital management change (slash--burn--rape--pillage) that took away my sense of trust and security, one very large "teaching" hospital that is as bureaucratic and anal as can be (just doesn't realize it) --- chaotic working conditions for its floor nurses. I realize that over the years, I became burnt out, worn down. Perhaps my age has something to do with it--I am 47. I don't know. These hospitals really need to become more HOSPITABLE to nurses, because nurses just aren't staying.
Nurses have no REAL voice in these environments.
So, the question I am asking all of you--how many out of YOUR graduating class are STILL at the BEDSIDE????