I think nurses share some of the blame for the nursing shortage. - page 4

I read recently that only 12% of all nurses are under the age of 30. Being a new graduate BSN and practicing nursing for 18 months, I found that statistic pretty horrifying. I have been visiting... Read More

  1. by   fergus51
    Definitely Pebbles! I actually took a job at a hospital that had a year long mentorship/preceptorship combo fully supported and paid for by admin. I still talk to my mentor years later. She is the single biggest role model for me in my practice, and she was able to have such an impact on me because administration recognized the value of it and didn't give her a ridiculous patient load while precepting me.

    From what I understand some hospitals in BC and Alberta are starting formal mentorship programs up again and I think it would be a HUGE benefit to everyone. The floor nurses are able to help retain new staff (because shortstaffing only gets worse when we burn out 6 new grads a month!) and new grads get a great base to start their career with and ease the transition from student to nurse.
  2. by   Snoopd
    I agree with what you say about the nursing "shortage", although I feel it's more a shortage of attractive jobs than a shortage of actual licensed nurses. However, one problem that contributes to the negative aspects of nursing is the way student nurses are treated by their instructors. In nursing school one has a target on their head from the day they start until the day they finish. They can be dropped at any time for almost any reason. This is so unlike medical school, where once one is accepted into the program, it is almost impossible to be dropped. True it's harder to get in, but once you are in you are in till the end. The support and respect and encouragement are temendous. One of my friends just completed the first year of medical school and he said on the first day the director told them "we will not allow you to fail, you are here till you finish the program." This is in sharp contrast to what our nursing director told us on our first day - "by the end of the program, only half of you will be here". Is that supposed to impress anyone? Does that make it a good program or reflect the level or quality of education that can be expected? So at my school there seems to be a tradition of "let's see if we can find reasons to drop people", then we can "show" everyone how hard our program is, rather than educating them and building up their confidence. Ironically, this program has one of the worst historical NCLEX passing rates in the state. Their justification for this is of course two things, "patient safety", and "critical thinking". It's amazing how the nursing education and profession continuously trumpets these two phrases and uses them as justification for everything they decide to do to themselves and their students and fellow employees. You don't hear doctors and other health care workers braying about this every minute of the day - it's so obvious, it doesn't need to be constantly trumpeted, yet in nursing education these phrases are applied and used to justify every action, however bizaare, misdirected, or unjust. This results in being tested on materials that were never covered in class, being expected to perfect clinical skills when there is no lab time to practice them except at the clinical site itself- how scary is that- and instructors who use their own subjectivity in deciding who will pass and who will fail. What is the solution? We need to set higher standards for incoming nursing students and then educate them and support them until they finish- and see to it that they finish on time, like medical students. There should also be high standards set for nursing instructors. Many of them have no prior teaching experience and no education certification. There is a noticible difference in the teaching ability of nursing instructors and teachers who teach other subjects such as biology anatomy, or ethics. Thus, nursing instructors need to be carefully screened and evaluated before being allowed to teach. Even though there is a nursing "shortage" and a shortage of nursing instructors, hiring someone "off the nursing floor" who happens to have a masters just doesn't necessarily create a good instructor. An additional problem that this creates is that the "fresh off the floor" instructor brings all their biasses and past grudges and opnions with them, and often the students are exposed to these and often negatively affected. That "eat their young mentality" is transfered to a new generation of future nurses and the pathetic cycle continues. I believe that is why many nursing students drop out, or are unjustly graded and end up being dropped from their program. The instructors "set the atmosphere" and the atmosphere today is a very bad one.


    Quote from thegame
    I read recently that only 12% of all nurses are under the age of 30. Being a new graduate BSN and practicing nursing for 18 months, I found that statistic pretty horrifying. I have been visiting this site for about three months now and various nurses are trying to find out solutions to the nursing shortage and who to blame.
    First off I think nurses need to share some of that blame. Like I said am a new nurse that graduated with my BSN and also with a Business degree. So I am keen to pick up on why things do not work. First off our normal nursing class size usually max out at thirty-five students. Our class started out with 27 students because the program did not receive enough applications to fill the class. During my last two years we lost 5 students out of the program not because of low grade or they failed out, most were top of our class, mostly because of lack of respect they received from nursing instructors and nursing staff at the local hospitals where we did our clinical.
    LPN's and Rn's alike would ridicule most of the students. They would openly complain about us to the patients and to staff members alike. During report we would hear the RN's say "al my gosh we have students today, today would be a good day to call in sick". Don't get me wrong there was some educators that did a good gob and greeted us with open arms, but a majority of the time the staff was very disrespectful from RN's to Nursing Assistant's. Most of the teaching came from physicians if we had the opportunity to rounds with.
    After graduation I passed my boards on the first try and took a job on a Medical Surgical floor. The first night was highly anticipated and was looking forward to my new career. I reported to the charge nurse who did not expect me and did not know who to put me with. Eventually they put me with a LVN who was very intolerable to teaching others and I seemed like a burden to her. Eventually I just left and told the charge nurse I was very disappointed by the way things was run here and left in middle of my shift.
    Eventually I did land a job that did really well in teaching me the ins and outs of nursing. I would actually check on my fellow graduates after a year of last seeing them. One of my fellow students informed me that four other nurses got out of nursing they did not feel safe with the patient load given to them and very little mentoring from senior nurses.
    I am 26 years of age, kind of old for a new graduate. I worked in other professions such and engineering as a drafter and sales. Never have I worked in a profession that fellow professionals were so rude and uncaring to each other. I have several friends who are physicians that talked me to going back to school and finish my classes to apply to Medical School, they openly joke about how nurses are very disrespectfully to each other and how senior nurses eat their young.
    If the nursing profession were such a great career as most of you described, there would not be a shortage. I agree that that the aging baby boomer poses a challenge and is one of the reasons but I think we need to look in the mirror and accept some of the blame.
    So in closing if you get a new graduated in the floor, accept them with open arms instead of treating them like a burden.
  3. by   Altra
    Quote from Snoopd
    However, one problem that contributes to the negative aspects of nursing is the way student nurses are treated by their instructors. In nursing school one has a target on their head from the day they start until the day they finish. They can be dropped at any time for almost any reason. This is so unlike medical school, where once one is accepted into the program, it is almost impossible to be dropped. ... This is in sharp contrast to what our nursing director told us on our first day - "by the end of the program, only half of you will be here". Is that supposed to impress anyone? Does that make it a good program or reflect the level or quality of education that can be expected? So at my school there seems to be a tradition of "let's see if we can find reasons to drop people", then we can "show" everyone how hard our program is, rather than educating them and building up their confidence. Ironically, this program has one of the worst historical NCLEX passing rates in the state. ... Many of them have no prior teaching experience and no education certification. There is a noticible difference in the teaching ability of nursing instructors and teachers who teach other subjects such as biology anatomy, or ethics. ... I believe that is why many nursing students drop out, or are unjustly graded and end up being dropped from their program. The instructors "set the atmosphere" and the atmosphere today is a very bad one.
    Snoopd, if the above is truly what's going on at your school, then I feel very badly for you. It's not the way things should be, and it's apparently unproductive, if the NCLEX pass rate is as poor as you say. Perhaps there is another school which will be a better fit for you as you pursue your goals.
  4. by   eb_rn
    It's true, some nurses eat their young...this happened to me shortly after I graduated from nursing school. I did have a couple of nurses stand up for me. I was too "green" to really realize that the nurse yelling at me was just trying to cover his own a$$...Now I go out of my way to help students/new orientees..... and I have had several students thank me...repeatedly!!! but I still remember what it was like to be in school. I do think that nursing school should continue to be stringent....just b/c we have a shortage doesn't mean we should just settle for any living, breathing human who decides he/she wants to be a nurse..... I had a couple of former classmates who were rather scarey....and I am glad that they didn't pass. As nurses, we just need to remember what it was like to be new and "green." and have patience with the newbies.
  5. by   KacyLynnRN
    You know, I have heard all the hoopla about older, more experienced nurses 'eating their young' or new grad nurses. Maybe I am in the minority, but I have never had this experience! When I graduated school, the people on my med/surg floor welcomed me with open arms, showed me everything they could, and never laughed at me, even when I asked 1,000 dumb questions a shift. I'll admit, I have had a few bad experiences as a student (I had one person tell me, 'I don't do students') but out there on the floor as a staff member, I have had a fantastic experience. Maybe it is because I wouldn't settle for anything less.
  6. by   Asterias Aureus
    wow this is a hot topic!



    i too just graduated from a nursing program (an accelerated bachelor's program that was only a year long) and am a new nurse working in an icu. nursing is my second degree too.



    i don't think it is exactly appropriate to say that we need to "blame" a person or group or whatever for the nursing shortage. ok, so there is a nursing shortage, what are we going to do about it? it is one thing to recognize that it is wrong, but facilitating change works better than just getting upset.



    nursing is a difficult profession. it certainly isn't glamorous, but i don't think that many of us go into this job looking for glamour. we see people at their worst and it can take a physical and emotional toll on us. i think most of us go into the profession because we are caring people and want to make a difference in our clients' lives. (not just for the salary!) there are some parts of nursing that we will never get away from or ever improve, i.e., cleaning a soiled patient, dealing with difficult family members, and working nights and weekends and holidays.



    another thing that can make the job difficult are our co-workers, but this can occur in any job. i have never had a problem with people being rude or uncaring towards me--i don't allow that to happen! unless you work in a job where you are isolated from people, you are going to have to deal with a variety of attitudes, no matter what your profession. as for nurses "eating their young", i am still walking around, fully intact, yet to be eaten. lol



    my middle school principal used to often tell us "you get out of life what you put into it". this still sticks with me. so, i don't work at a teaching hospital, maybe there aren't always new things going on, so i create my own learning opportunities. i keep my eyes and ears open, and find out what is happening on my unit. if i don't know something i look it up. if, at the end of the day, i haven't run into a situation that is new, i will find a different topic to look up that interests me. (i do most of my looking up at home, after work, by the way.)



    as for nursing instructors being tough on their students, i think that's great! i went to a school where my instructors were not that tough--they expected a lot from us, but were not really tough. i am not saying that i think student abuse is ok, but sometimes i wish my teachers were a little tougher--not everyone in the medical profession, be it doctors, nurses, patients, or whatever are going to go easy on us. i think nursing is a field where you need to have a good solid backbone, as we have to stand up for what is right for our clients.



    game, i hope that medical school works out for you. just remember, that there are meanies everywhere. don't get discouraged, no matter what you ultimately choose.



    maureen

  7. by   angel337
    i don't know what it is about nursing, but when people don't do well in it or aren't as successful as they thought they would be ...all of a sudden a million excuses come up as to why nursing as a whole isn't a desirable profession. as someone else stated..nursing is not for everyone. it is not a glamorous job (at least bedside nursing isn't) and i really think it depends on the nurse and his/her personality. some people have strong leadership qualities that inhibit them from being in a position where they are taking the orders. in the beginning, nursing can be hard because you are learning alot and it takes time getting used to, but it isn't fair to generalize or point fingers when things don't go exactly as expected. i have worked with very difficult people and i have worked with great people. it is all about how you perceive your environment. i don't take things personal when a coworker is crabby, because i am there to do a job, which is to take care of my patients. i am in no way excusing inappropriate behavior, i'm just looking at it from a different perspective. if i ever thought a coworker was being less than supportive i have always been diplomatic enough to approach the situation with an open mind. sometimes people just need someone to say "are you having a bad day too..want to talk about it?" instead of going off the deep end and saying "nurses do this. nurses do that". i have a few friends that are former nurses that are honest enough to admit that they knew nursing was not a career they wanted in the first place but they did it anyway for various reasons. when you do something that you really don't want to do, the results are not the same as for someone that know what they are getting into. to the OP: i am glad that you figured out early that being a doctor will probably make you happy. it is unfortuante that you have had such negative experiences, but just be aware that all professions have its ups and downs. you seem like a very head strong person who knows exactly what they want so you shouldn't have too much trouble. healthcare in general is a hard profession...not just nursing. and as our population ages we all will be faced with multiple challenges. caring for people never have and never will be easy, but can be done with the right intentions. good luck in your new career.
  8. by   KMSRN
    Quote from suni
    you know i thought about not replying to this thread and then i thought what the heck, i would agree that some nurses should not precept but to start with the staff development department should alert the staff of a new hire coming to the floor and let someone know your orientation schedule. if you just show up and no one knows you are coming sure they shouldnt take it out on you but you also have to be in a mind set that you know you are precepting. most of the nurses i know are happy when anyone is hired it means less mandatory overtime for us we try to get you oriented and up to speed as soon as possible. we don't rush it though because we know in the long run if you have a good preceptorship period it will be better for you and us, if you want a strong building you need to start with a good foundation. will i take my share of the blame, sure, but when you start a new job you should ask for an orietation schedule , ask for the name of the person you arel looking for when you hit the unit, ask to see the unit so you know how to get there and maybe meet your preceptor then at the very least meet the nurse manager of that unit. nurses are overworked, overwhelmed and under respected, the brightest, most organized, humorous people i know are nurses .
    In most institutions that I know of, nurses are hired by the department manager along with HR. The department manager is well aware of when new hires are coming on board and should have preceptors lined up well ahead of time. Staff development usually provides hospital and nusring orientation, on a well established schedule, to new employees hired by the department manager. A newly hired person is not aware of how the organization works so it is not up to the them to arrange their orientation and preceptorship. It is up to the department manager to arrange orientation on the unit. If you don't know when a new nurse is coming to the floor or who will be the preceptor, look to your department manager.
  9. by   LadyMadonna
    I saw some pretty lousy attitudes in nursing school from nurses toward student nurses and even nurses towards each other. (you see it on this message board, too)
    I have never seen a doctor backstab one of his colleagues, but see it among nurses all the time, petty bickering and arguing and malicious gossip...then these are probably the same nurses who wonder why they are not respected like they feel they should be. I was ashamed to be in nursing school when I saw this RN who worked on OB standing there complaining and whining to a nurse anesthetist about how crummy her job and life was and how she didn't make any money at what she was doing. This is at a small rural hospital, and this nurse looked like she stepped straight out of 'Deliverance.' She was a victim of her own foibles. But her attitude was what turned me off the most. She was not a very nice person to be around. Kind of gave new meaning to the term 'white trash.'
    A lot of nurses were not like this but as they say, a few bad apples spoil the whole batch.
  10. by   Snoopd
    Did you hear any banjo music in the background? How many teeth did she have? Ha, Ha! Just kidding!:chuckle
    Quote from LadyMadonna
    I saw some pretty lousy attitudes in nursing school from nurses toward student nurses and even nurses towards each other. (you see it on this message board, too)
    I have never seen a doctor backstab one of his colleagues, but see it among nurses all the time, petty bickering and arguing and malicious gossip...then these are probably the same nurses who wonder why they are not respected like they feel they should be. I was ashamed to be in nursing school when I saw this RN who worked on OB standing there complaining and whining to a nurse anesthetist about how crummy her job and life was and how she didn't make any money at what she was doing. This is at a small rural hospital, and this nurse looked like she stepped straight out of 'Deliverance.' She was a victim of her own foibles. But her attitude was what turned me off the most. She was not a very nice person to be around. Kind of gave new meaning to the term 'white trash.'
    A lot of nurses were not like this but as they say, a few bad apples spoil the whole batch.
  11. by   RNPATL
    What a shame that we are giving our new nurses such a bad impression. But, I have to say that I too have witnessed this type of behavior from nurses to each other and to new graduates. For the most part though, I think there are more nurses that are kind, compassionate and caring toward each other and to new nurses.

    As a nurse manager - I agree that when new nurses are hired, they should be scheduled with a preceptor. For me, I try to introduce the new nurse to as many of the nurses as possible during the interview process. I also encourage several of the nurses to sit and talk with the applicant before we make a decision to hire. This provides the nurses and the new applicant with opportunities to determine if it is a good fit or not.

    For those nurses and student nurses that are out there reading this thread, please know that not ALL nurses are like this. Quite the opposite actually .... I think more nurses are less like what has been described here. But as another poster has said, it only takes one apple to spoil the whole bunch.
  12. by   Asterias Aureus
    Maybe it is more common for nurses to "backstab" or gossip, or bad mouth each other more often than doctors because we all have to constantly work together in our units. Many (though not all) doctors work independently of each other. This may not be true in larger teaching institutions where residents work with attendings, etc. When a person must be in constant contact with others in a high pressure environment, it can be a recipe for big time conflict--especially if two or more personalities are already conflicting!

    Just another thought...

    Maureen


    Quote from LadyMadonna
    I saw some pretty lousy attitudes in nursing school from nurses toward student nurses and even nurses towards each other. (you see it on this message board, too)
    I have never seen a doctor backstab one of his colleagues, but see it among nurses all the time, petty bickering and arguing and malicious gossip...then these are probably the same nurses who wonder why they are not respected like they feel they should be. I was ashamed to be in nursing school when I saw this RN who worked on OB standing there complaining and whining to a nurse anesthetist about how crummy her job and life was and how she didn't make any money at what she was doing. This is at a small rural hospital, and this nurse looked like she stepped straight out of 'Deliverance.' She was a victim of her own foibles. But her attitude was what turned me off the most. She was not a very nice person to be around. Kind of gave new meaning to the term 'white trash.'
    A lot of nurses were not like this but as they say, a few bad apples spoil the whole batch.
  13. by   SmilingBluEyes
    i HAVE seen doctors backstab each other...it's just quieter or we are not noticing. It's less noticeable often. Where there are PEOPLE, there will be backstabbers. Nursing has HUGE problems, but we did not create them on our OWN now!

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