Is there REALLY a nursing shortage? - page 13

This is an interesting article guys/gals... Here's the letter I wrote to the President, Vice-President, U.S. Congress Rep. and Senator: "I'm an R.N. and I recently started working as an agency... Read More

  1. by   lyceeboo
    Quote from Retired R.N.
    To all unhappy school teachers thinking of switching into nursing:

    The grass is always greener ... etc. How many evenings, nights, weekends, and holidays do you work? How many of you have mandatory twelve-hour shifts of work that can include hard, manual labor? How many of you can be sued and/or have your professional license revoked for making a mistake?
    True. Just go into it with eyes wide open. The mandatory long shifts that often run over 12 hrs, back-breaking work, stress, liability and frequent threats to your license should be considered. You will also face many ethical problems and second guessing from all levels of staff.

    At times you will feel like you are almost expected to be perfect, nurses can't have an "off day". And the reason we make more than teachers is due to working nights, holidays and over-time year round. The over-time is sometimes mandatory.

    Also if you don't report to work during any crisis such as a storm you will be fired. During 3 different storms I've been put on lock-down & had to sleep and work at my hospital during storms. Never mind that my family needed me too. And please be aware that school nurse jobs are scarce and most office nurses don't make much money.
  2. by   PiperLPN
    Quote from jeffrey_rn
    It may be a bit perverse, but I think a crisis will be the best thing for nurses. If it gets bad enough, perhaps that will be the fuel that drives the motor for change. When hospitals have no more nurses to pick on, they'll have to play nice. It's kind of like the situation in Iraq. It's so bad and hopeless now, Bush and those who tell him what to do (e.g. Cheney) are now having to entertain the idea of holding talks with Syria and Iran, their sworn enemies.

    Well my fellow nurses... I'm pretty sure that the hospitals (the boards), in all their greedy arrogance, hold us in similar contempt- we are their Syria's, Iran's, and North Korea's. So when it gets bad enough, then they'll HAVE to talk with us. Just like the Bush Administration has to make nice with Iran & Syria in order to make things better in Iraq.

    I'm sorry to compare our profession to states of terror, but I do so from the eyes of the hospital executives. We are the terrorists that threaten their profits. THEY know that. They're just hoping we don't collectively realize that. Perhaps our "bomb" is a union. Hmmm.... or just a matter of time and critical circumstance.

    I hear a code blue...
    It's an extreme comparison, but I understand your point...
  3. by   mvanz9999
    Quote from lyceeboo
    True. Just go into it with eyes wide open. The mandatory long shifts that often run over 12 hrs, back-breaking work, stress, liability and frequent threats to your license should be considered. You will also face many ethical problems and second guessing from all levels of staff.

    At times you will feel like you are almost expected to be perfect, nurses can't have an "off day". And the reason we make more than teachers is due to working nights, holidays and over-time year round. The over-time is sometimes mandatory.

    Also if you don't report to work during any crisis such as a storm you will be fired. During 3 different storms I've been put on lock-down & had to sleep and work at my hospital during storms. Never mind that my family needed me too. And please be aware that school nurse jobs are scarce and most office nurses don't make much money.
    It sounds so pleasant. Why doesn't EVERYONE want to be a nurse?
  4. by   Mulan
    Quote from mvanz9999
    It sounds so pleasant. Why doesn't EVERYONE want to be a nurse?

    :roll
  5. by   busylady61
    Quote from Retired R.N.
    To all unhappy school teachers thinking of switching into nursing:

    The grass is always greener ... etc. How many evenings, nights, weekends, and holidays do you work? How many of you have mandatory twelve-hour shifts of work that can include hard, manual labor? How many of you can be sued and/or have your professional license revoked for making a mistake?

    Retired RN, your point is well taken.

    Though I work often on evenings and weekends on my teaching stuff, I don't think I have the level of stress you are describing.

    But I think just as there are good teaching jobs and bad teaching jobs, there must be nursing positions that are less stressful than others.

    I happen to work at a good school. My stress is purely work load related. However there are some teachers who go to work daily in a battle zone where the students are gangsters in training. I couldn't begin to compare my classroom experience to theirs.

    The manual labor and exhausting shifts you describe are not the only type of nursing jobs available... right? What about eventually working in a doctor's office that is not open evenings and weekends, for example, and doesn't require 12-hour shifts? I am not asking that to be sarcastic. I'm truly asking this as an outsider to the field who is interested in learning more.

    Thank you again for your response.
  6. by   Sylv
    Quote from busylady61
    What about eventually working in a doctor's office that is not open evenings and weekends, for example, and doesn't require 12-hour shifts?

    Those jobs are few and far between and hard to get. After all, everyone wants one right? and there are only so many to go around. Also, in the hospitals, if there are good places to work, it's hard to get on there too, if people have a good job they tend to stay.
  7. by   nizhoni
    Hi BusyLady61,

    I work in a low stress nursing position at a managed care organization. I perform Level II utilization reviews. That is, I make sure that referrals that come to us for authorization for specialty care and procedures are medically indicated. Most of the time the indications are clear, but occasionally I have to consult with a co-worker or one of the medical directors. The atmosphere at my workplace is congenial and generally light-hearted and, while the work itself is sometimes stressful due to numbers of referrals, overall I think I have a really good situation. Certainly no 12 hour shifts. I started here as a case manager (which evolved out of doing diabetes case management at a rural clinic) and eventually moved into UR.

    It can be done! All the best to you--nurses are needed everywhere!
  8. by   busylady61
    Sylv, your point is well taken. I hadn't thought of it that way! :icon_rolleyes:



    Nizhoni, your story is very encouraging... I am so happy it has worked out for you! Your job sounds interesting! :icon_confused:
  9. by   jjjoy
    Dr office nursing is different than one might imagine from an outsider perspective. Most assistants in offices today are medical assistants (MA), though many won't correct you if you call them nurse. There are training programs for that, generally a year or less in length.

    Office RN positions tend to demand more responsibility than a layperson might originally think. Otherwise, the office would hire a MA to be cost effective.

    A good way to answer your question about office nursing would be to check job listings and to call local facilities/practices to see what kind of demand there is in the area of nursing you think you might be interested in. Do informational interviews with working nurses if you can.
  10. by   jjjoy
    Nizhoni - Do you think you would've been able to get that job without your previous experience? Could someone get that type of position straight out of school? What recommendations would you give to someone who wanted to get into utilization review? I know that my nursing school kept saying how we'd have so many options as nurses but as graduation approached they suddenly started saying that we'd really need to get a few years of general experience (eg inpatient acute care) to be qualified for many of those enticing jobs. Thanks!
  11. by   nizhoni
    I know a few posts here have said that it is necessary to obtain hospital experience in order to get a case manager position, but the only hospital areas I've worked in have been in Labor & Delivery, Postpartum and Nursery. The last year I worked in a hospital was 1988. My focus over the years since then has been my midwifery practice and three clinic settings: a terrific position in a residential substance abuse treatment facility and two jobs in public health clinics serving Native Americans. I was hired at the managed care organization where I presently work because of my experience with diabetic patients at the Indian clinic.

    I do not have the usual hospital inpatient acute care experience. If you wanted to get into UR, I would recommend that you first do a personal assessment of your own interests and skills. Would you be comfortable working primarily with computers and clinical utilization guidelines? Would a lack of regular direct patient contact be okay with you? Are you detail oriented and analytical? If so, you would probably enjoy doing UR. If you think you would like to pursue it, there are training programs and continuing education classes that will train you in these skills.

    If you would like more regular direct patient contact--even if it's telephonic--you could look into case management. There are trainings for CM as well.

    Personally, I think that a potential employer would look favorably upon someone who had pursued additional training in these areas and that such training would count for at least as much as inpatient acute experience.

    These are great areas of nursing and I would heartily recommend considering them.
  12. by   nurse15dc
    Quote from nizhoni
    The last hospital nursing job I held was in 1988. When I was hired I was 5 mos. pregnant and was promised that I would not become the answer to their 11 pm to 7am shortage, but within a month that's where I was assigned . . . nicely over a barrel because I had to have the job as the family's sole wage earner.

    This for-profit hospital (aren't they all?) employed NO unit secretary and NO housekeeping staff on L&D and Postpartum after 3 p.m. They only staffed for one RN in each of those units, no LPNs, no CNAs. So when a new patient came in, the RN would assemble the chart. When a lady delivered, after the RN transferred her to postpartum it was the RNs responsibility to mop, break down the bed, wipe it down and disinfect it. The RN on those two shifts was expected to care for 3 patients in labor; if a 4th came in, the on-call could be summoned but she could be up to 30 minutes out. I just kept waiting for an abruption to come in with 3 ladies in active labor, or the emergency C with FHTs in the 40s to walk in with a full house, but it never happened, thankfully.

    When laboring women asked me if I would be having my baby there, I must admit I did derive a certain satisfaction from saying, "No, I'm having my baby at home." The supervisor insisted I had to tell patients I was having my baby there but I refused to do so.

    I'm sure more than a few people at the hospital were relieved when I left for maternity leave and didn't return. At that point I did write corporate headquarters a letter expressing my strong opinion that they were a lawsuit waiting to happen. And six months later they magically allotted two RNs per shift, round the clock.

    I have never returned to hospital nursing. NO thank you.
    Nizhoni, If you don't mind my asking, how did you move from hospital L&D to this nice job in case management? I would love to find a job like that but I have been told that you need many years of nursing experience under your belt and an advanced degree in nursing. Thank you for any information you can provide. I'm glad you got out of that hospital job!
  13. by   lisal11
    Quote from Retired R.N.
    To all unhappy school teachers thinking of switching into nursing:

    The grass is always greener ... etc. How many evenings, nights, weekends, and holidays do you work? How many of you have mandatory twelve-hour shifts of work that can include hard, manual labor? How many of you can be sued and/or have your professional license revoked for making a mistake?
    The grass is always greener: Absolutely people believe this.
    Evenings and nights: I work 'em either at the school, playing field where I have to coach, evening in the library tutoring and my "take home" work at night.
    Weekends: Planning, grading and curriculum. Not the entire weekend but at least 1 day.
    Holidays: Nope. Or very rarely if I need to finish something "take home".
    Manditory 12 hour shifts: Never.
    Hard labor: I wouldn't describe what I do hard labor... but there is lifting on occasion (not on par with a nurse of course) and I'm on my feet running around all day. Also, like nurses, I frequently don't get lunches or pee breaks.
    Can be sued or professionsal license revoked: Absolutely. I have comforted many teachers because parents or administration have threatened to take action against their license or sue them. Unfortunately, some of these teachers didn't even make a mistake, the problem usually originates from some attention starved kid who makes some false accusations. Of course, we always follow through with investigations 100% to make sure that everyone is on the up and up.

    Your point is well taken and I'm not saying that teaching is harder than nursing or vice versa. I don't think the grass is greener in nursing, I just think it's more up my alley professionally and I would rather deal with the baggage in that job than in teaching. I've had the chance to really see what nurses do so I'm aware of the "pros and cons" in that field. Before I became a teacher I was a social worker for several years. Teaching as a social worker easily translated to teaching in the field of education. I've worked in several areas of health care and with different populations. Luckily, this has afforded me the chance to work and be friendly with tons of nurses (and other healthcare staff) and see what grief that job can drudge up. Spent much time charting at the nurses station and visting patients, seeing the nurses in action. I know there can be bad days in nursing but as I said before, all jobs come with baggage. I just think nursing is the job that speaks to me and hopefully that will help me enjoy my work regardless of the "cons" in the job.
    Last edit by lisal11 on Dec 14, '06

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