note to Pittsburgh nurses

  1. There is going to be a report about Pittsburgh area hospitals finally being hit by the nurse shortage on KDKA this evening. Well what did they expect? After a decade of using and abusing their staff the hospitals in this area are finally finding that things are catching up with them. I know what they will say. They will sight demographics and the economy as the cause of the problem, young people are not going into the field. No mention of the facts. Facts like the massive exodus from nursing by older RNs like me due to overwork and mandatory overtime. No mention of recent exodus of young RNs to areas of the country where benefits and pay are better. I will be suprised if they mention that pay scales are 20% lower in Pittsburgh than Philadelphia. I will be surprised if they mention that all nurses young and old have had their pay cut or frozen for years and that benefits like vacation time, sick time and health insurance have also been reduced. Will they mention that nurses are doing twice as much work as they were just 5 years ago, I wonder?
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  2. 19 Comments

  3. by   oramar
    Well the segment pretty much followed along the script to which we have all become acustomed. A CEO talking about nurses getting older and no one going into nursing school. No one ever asks them what happened to the nursing surplus of only five years ago, who chased all those RNs you used to have out of the business Mr. CEO? In addition the CEO gave the usual "but patient care is not compromised" load of crap. How would any of these people even know if patient care was compromised, most of them never set foot on a hospital unit or in an ER. There was a brief exception though, they interviewed one honest to God ICU RN who used her 30 seconds to lambast manditory overtime. Good for her, she will probably be out of a job tomorrow but good for her.
  4. by   RNS2GO
    My Husband and I graduated nursing school in Pittsburgh in 1995. They were laying off nurses left and right at the time. We moved out of state to get a job. Of course when we went into school the hospiatls were crying for nurses. Now the hospiatals wonder why that can't get any nurses. I think the Pittsburgh shortage will get much worse in the next few years with nursing school enrolment being way down. Who wants to spend all that time in a stressful nursing program to get a more stressful job with inadequate compensation?
  5. by   Mark Lunt
    There was a similar interview done in Richmond back in the latter part of last year. It sounds as if the ceo's got together. Self employment was the way to go.

    [This message has been edited by Mark Lunt (edited January 23, 2001).]

    [This message has been edited by bshort (edited January 23, 2001).]
  6. by   Charles S. Smith, RN, MS
    The Pittsburg situation is very much like the Richmond situation as Mark indicated. I have posted on other topics that this particular time in our nursing history is the time of opportunity to make a real change in the way nursing care is delivered in this country. By the way, when the story broke in Richmond, many of us wrote letters to the editor. Mine showed up in the newspaper and got pretty good support from colleagues, citizens and even doctors! Basically what I said surrounded the issue of asking the real questions of real nurses about why there is a shortage. I wrote that the article fell short of anything newsworthy at all. The real story was not going to come from CEOs, CFOs and the professional nursing organizations. I suggested the newspaper do an indepth series of articles on what nursing life is like and told them that the public whom we serve deserves to know just what they can expect when they access the health care system.

    regards
    Chas



    [This message has been edited by bshort (edited January 23, 2001).]
  7. by   Zee_RN
    Yeah, Oramar, I cut that Chambersburg Hospital ad out of the paper and put it up in the staff room at work (my community hospital in suburban Pittsburgh). Can you believe it?! Didn't get a chance to see the KDKA bit but I heard from fellow nurses at work about the "patient care is not affected" statement. What a kick in the face for all nurses! "Yeah, we have fewer nurses but that doesn't affect patient care." Well, then, guess ya don't need us then, do you? Harumph.
  8. by   ratchit
    Similar thing happened in Boston. When I entered nursing school in 1992, the job market was iffy. When I graduated in 1995, there were no jobs anywhere. In 1997, I quit to go travel nursing a mere couple weeks before I would have been laid off. Boston has dozens of colleges and a steady stream of new grads that want to stay in the area so the shortage hit later there than other places. But the ratios are often unsafe, the signon bonuses are significant, and the same HR people that wouldn't return my phone calls 5 years ago were rolling out the red carpet when I considered returning home. One major teaching hospital has over 200 nursing positions open and the same ads are in the paper every week. But care isn't affected. Right.... The new buildings are nice and pretty, but the nurses are struggling to say the least.

    I lived in Pittsburgh while in college and love the city. I've asked companies about Pittsburgh positions many times in the past few years- no one had any contracts there. In the last 4 months I've been approached by 3 or 4 companies about going to the Univ of Pitt hospitals- not the right time for me but you guys may be getting some help. I haven't heard anything about any other hospitals though.

    Treat your travelers well, though- we talk and if you treat your travelers badly you won't find many coming your way.

  9. by   oramar
    To nurse ratchet, I bet you lived in the Oakland Shadyside area, really cool place. Sort of like being in Europe I am told. I am from South Side, a place that just keeps getting neater and neater. Yes I have that funny accent and use odd euphemisms that no one but a Burg person would understand. I was in Georgetown for my sons graduation and I realized South Side was a mini Georgetown. UPMC is a large medical conglomerate and has many facilities to pick from. I am personally partial to Shadyside because some of my friends graduated from the diploma school there. They love their school, if it was on fire they would rush down and beat the flames out with their bare hands.
  10. by   oramar
    I have recieved several personal emails about this subject from young nurses. It appears that after successfully chasing many baby boom nurses away from bedside with over work and low pay the hospitals in this area are now losing young nurses to out of town facilities that offer much better money and benefits. Still I see no mention of improvments in these things in the advertisments in the newspapers. Most advertisments say COMPETITIVE WAGES. I do not even answer ads like that cause that means lousy.
  11. by   Tiara
    There was a big article in a New Jersey newspaper a couple of weeks ago by the CEO of the New Jersey Hospital Association. The theme was being kind to nurses 365 days a year. It was the most patronizing, infantile junk I've read. All about the perks and tuition monies being offered new nurses. Not a word about conditions, safety and the reasons nurses have left the hospitals. I think more than a pat on the head is required at this point!!
  12. by   lsmo
    Originally posted by Charles S. Smith, RN, MS:
    The Pittsburg situation is very much like the Richmond situation as Mark indicated. I have posted on other topics that this particular time in our nursing history is the time of opportunity to make a real change in the way nursing care is delivered in this country. By the way, when the story broke in Richmond, many of us wrote letters to the editor. Mine showed up in the newspaper and got pretty good support from colleagues, citizens and even doctors! Basically what I said surrounded the issue of asking the real questions of real nurses about why there is a shortage. I wrote that the article fell short of anything newsworthy at all. The real story was not going to come from CEOs, CFOs and the professional nursing organizations. I suggested the newspaper do an indepth series of articles on what nursing life is like and told them that the public whom we serve deserves to know just what they can expect when they access the health care system.

    regards
    Chas

    Re: The "Real Story" not coming from CEO's, CFO's or Professional Nursing Organizations regarding the nursing shortage:
    I agree with Chas and would like to encourage everyone to respond to any inflammatory news spots or articles that fail to give the working nurses the spotlight on matters of the shortage. Recently, I have responded in writing to those who have undertaken similar reporting tactics in my home town. I did so in an effort to encourage the reporters to get the "Real Story" on why nurses are struggling to remain hearty in this profession. For example, it is my belief that working for hospitals over the past few years has been traumatic for nurses who are soley viewed as costly financial liabilities by the number crunchers. This has certainly been morale depreciating and sends signals loud and clear to nurses that they are not valued by their employers. This is evidenced by the drastic RN cuts which began surfacing in the mid 90's--in spite of the RN's best efforts to articulate their value in terms of improved patient outcomes and patient safety. The real story about falling nursing recruitment and retention lies with the working nurses who most certainly are experiencing a sense of loss. Loss in terms of respect and value by their employers for the contributions we make to this nation's health care. Nurses feel undervalued regarding their employers interest in them--case in point--nurses have some of the most pitiful retirement benefits in the country. Nurses might consider staying on a few years longer in the work force if they thought it would improve their financial quality of life at retirement. Unfortunately, longevity in nursing rarely provides financial securities or guarantees of health care coverage in our "older years". This has always astounded me. That nurses can spend 20-30 years or more in a health care career, yet receive no health care benefit at retirement..This is completely unacceptable! It would seem that if the nursing shortage was such an issue, working nurses would be solicited for their input on how to retain and recruit them! Nurses can clearly tell the real story about what it would take to keep us involved and committed to this profession--my question is simply put--Why not just ask us? L.Smo RNC


    [This message has been edited by bshort (edited January 23, 2001).]


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    L.Smo RN
  13. by   oramar
    Dear L.SMO, I like your response. Gona make a copy of it and send it to the TV and Newspapers in my area if you do not mind.
  14. by   oramar
    On the noon news today they mentioned that Pa. is thinking of forgiving the education loans of nurses educated in this area as long as they promise to work in this state. Now this is not a bad idea. It does not go far enough however. What about all the nurses who have loans that they have been paying on or have paid off? What are they going to do about the fact that they can double their salary by going to NY? What about the baby boom nurses who have worked at the bedside for years? Many of which have not had a raise since 1995? Guess my state congressman's office is going to get a visit from me. I do not write letters these days, I email and make personal visits to his office which is very close by my home.

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