Nurses as day laborers (rant)

  1. I was replying to another thread on the paltry pay we receive for working the weird hours we do, and it occured to me that, as a professional who holds so much responsibilty, my pay "bonuses" are measured by mere pennies per hour.

    We have SO MUCH legal and professional responsiblities sitting squarely on our shouldres, and our yearly merits are rewarded with compensation to the right of a decimal point. That is SO WRONG!!!

    We take years to prepare and are required in many states to maintain current on our learing, but we are at the whim of the facility to send us packing in the middle of the day when census drops, only to be called back when it, predictably, picks up again a few hours later.

    I think part of the reason we all feel so frustrated here is that we are charged with so much responsiblity, but have very little authority on how we practice, and are treated poorer than checkout clerks. Heck, do you see the grocery store sending their employees home in the middle of the day "Stay by the phone, we'll call you when more customers come in".

    And, employers know our jobs are high risk for back and other injuries, but do not purchase the proper aids that would make lifting and transferring patients easier on us. Like we are held in contempt by the facilities that hire us. And then when nurses DO get injured, they are dropped like hot potatoes.

    Ladies, if you are a nurse, you are smart enough to make it through law school, vet school, or anything else you want to do. If I wasn't so old and had so many people riding on my salary, I'd switch professions in a heartbeat.

    We are ALL too smart to take this maltreatment, and we have NO POWER to do anything. Strike? Union you say? Hah!! Just look at what Petoskey Michigan did....the nurses there went on strike YEARS ago, and the hospital never caved. They just hired temps. Some nurses came limping back with their tails between their legs, some never got their jobs back.

    Do your firefighters take this kind of abuse? Your police department? I think not. These "professions" consist of mostly males. Could this be why?? I think so. I thought when more men entered nursing things would change. They did not.

    Whew.......have a good day!
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  2. 33 Comments

  3. by   clee1
    There are more and more men entering nursing all the time.

    Just relax, honey. Give us time and we'll fix it.

    (tongue planted firmly in cheek....)
  4. by   rnin02
    I have to say that while many times I feel overworked, underpaid, unappreciated, etc, etc if I actually look at my pay, its really not that bad! I would love more of course, and I would love to have all the suplies, equipment, staff,etc to make my job perfect, but in general the pay and benefits are pretty good. I made almost $60,000, working 36 hours a week, was able to take 3.5 weeks off for vacation, and nearly every week I get 4 days off. And when I get put on call, or sent home early, its feels really good, and the majority of my coworkers feel the same way. Honestly I don't think firefighters, or police officers get treated any better than us. Maybe you need to move this way, I think our nurses are treated with some decency here
    Last edit by rnin02 on Jan 28, '07 : Reason: typos
  5. by   Megsd
    Quote from RunningWithScissors
    Do your firefighters take this kind of abuse? Your police department? I think not. These "professions" consist of mostly males. Could this be why?? I think so. I thought when more men entered nursing things would change. They did not.
    I can't speak for cops, but my boyfriend is a firefighter, and yeah, they take that kind of abuse too. It's just not as publicized as healthcare issues seem to be. My BF's department formed their union 25 years ago because they did not have enough equipment (like facemasks for fires) to go around and no one would provide them with more.

    And when I graduate, I'll make more money than he does, and he works 24 hour shifts!
  6. by   kenny b
    Running...,

    Out of genuine curiosity, what would you do if someone were willing to meet your obligations and send you back to school right now? What's your dream job?
  7. by   KellNY
    I agree with a PP. Yes, I'm stressed, and yes, I'd love more money, but what other profession can someone with an associates degree make $65k/yr plus benefits right out of college? And that's not including OT potential.

    I'm a single mother (with BSN, but not getting paid the extra--long story) living pretty comfortably working as a nurse. I live in a 3bedroom townhouse (rented) in a nice neighborhood, we're taking a weeklong paid vacation next month, as well as one in June. I've also taken "vacation" days and personal days here and there to break up the months and be home with my son.

    And I haven't finished my 1st year at this hospital! So, no, I don't feel like a day laborer at all, and I think either you don't realize how good you have it, or how bad they have it. To complain about your bonus and compare it to a job that offers NO benefits, no access to unions, often no workers comp even, few if any bonuses, often dangerous working conditions, no job security, etc is a little much, don't you think?

    My sons father has been a teacher for 3 and a half years now, and even with the required masters degree, he just broke the $50k/yr mark.

    And our firefighters don't make any money-it's all volunteer here.
  8. by   AfloydRN
    Not all nursing unions are the same. Ours is pretty good and we usually get what we ask for. Our pay is great and our benefits rock. I can;t complain about that. Yes, some days ( most) our staffing sucks and we have too many patients and way too many responsibilities, but we pretty much knew that going in. There is no nursing utopia.
  9. by   RunningWithScissors
    Hey, KellNY, I graduated from nursing school in 1980 and still don't make as much as you, and I'm near top of scale here. Your sig other, the teacher? Making over 50k for a 9 month school term plus spring break, winter break, etc.....that's one awesome gig there.

    And my sister, who is a firefighter up north, makes almost as much as I do.

    As for what I would do if someone handed me the $$ to go back to school and all obligations were met, I'd go to law school in a heartbeat. And I'd make a darn good lawyer at that.
  10. by   Kanani_Ikike
    Quote from RunningWithScissors
    I was replying to another thread on the paltry pay we receive for working the weird hours we do, and it occured to me that, as a professional who holds so much responsibilty, my pay "bonuses" are measured by mere pennies per hour.

    We have SO MUCH legal and professional responsiblities sitting squarely on our shouldres, and our yearly merits are rewarded with compensation to the right of a decimal point. That is SO WRONG!!!

    We take years to prepare and are required in many states to maintain current on our learing, but we are at the whim of the facility to send us packing in the middle of the day when census drops, only to be called back when it, predictably, picks up again a few hours later.

    I think part of the reason we all feel so frustrated here is that we are charged with so much responsiblity, but have very little authority on how we practice, and are treated poorer than checkout clerks. Heck, do you see the grocery store sending their employees home in the middle of the day "Stay by the phone, we'll call you when more customers come in".

    And, employers know our jobs are high risk for back and other injuries, but do not purchase the proper aids that would make lifting and transferring patients easier on us. Like we are held in contempt by the facilities that hire us. And then when nurses DO get injured, they are dropped like hot potatoes.

    Ladies, if you are a nurse, you are smart enough to make it through law school, vet school, or anything else you want to do. If I wasn't so old and had so many people riding on my salary, I'd switch professions in a heartbeat.

    We are ALL too smart to take this maltreatment, and we have NO POWER to do anything. Strike? Union you say? Hah!! Just look at what Petoskey Michigan did....the nurses there went on strike YEARS ago, and the hospital never caved. They just hired temps. Some nurses came limping back with their tails between their legs, some never got their jobs back.

    Do your firefighters take this kind of abuse? Your police department? I think not. These "professions" consist of mostly males. Could this be why?? I think so. I thought when more men entered nursing things would change. They did not.

    Whew.......have a good day!
    I'm with you on this one. The responsibility is very overwhemling at times. Everything that doesn't happen the nurse gets the blame. It's like we are a policeman of the entire facilty. If the patient doesn't get his tray, the nurse gets the blame, not dietary. If there is no laundry on the floor, the nurse gets chewed out by family members; nevermind that we don't do the laundry and have no control over it. If something breaks and maintenance doesn't get to it, who gets blamed? Why, the nurse of course. We get blamed for everything that does not go right because we are the ones that the patients and their families see. I don't think that they sometimes realize that because we are so busy making sure they stay alive and are taken care of, we just don't have time to sit at the desk and stay on top of other department's jobs. But, if you don't, you get pulled aside and written up for not satisfying the "customer".

    I understand where you are coming from. I don't feel that the $29,000 a year (that's before taxes) is a very good rate of pay when with one mistake, my license can go down the toilet. And since I'm human and am going to make mistakes no matter how hard I try not to, I'm just waiting for that day. It's quite sad. I wish I could leave all the stress at work, but I often have residual stress when I even think of going to work. My mental exhaustion has spread to my body and I am not physically tired and don't have the energy to do anything.

    I have not been to work in 4 days and I feel that I may have an ulcer. I can't sleep at night and my appetite is not so great anymore. All this for $29,000? And I pray all the time to be able to cope with my job, but it's getting harder by the day. Because not only do I deal with irrate family members and the demands of the workplace, but I have to deal with immature, back-stabbing co-workers that seem to focus their time on who they can get in trouble. I often get upset because this is not what I looked forward to when I went into to nursing. Remember when we were going to save the world when we graduated from nursing school? Well, if the world would just let us do OUR job (not everyone else's) we could do that. I'm just waiting for when my heart stops working. Because surely, with it in constant distress, it's just a matter of time. Lord help us all who just want to endure in this profession.
  11. by   Roy Fokker
    Wait....

    ... so suddenly it's we men who are to blame that progress in nursing is still languishing?

    We're all in it together - for better and for worse.
  12. by   Kymmi
    I think in any profession people will find something to complain about. I know that police officers do not make the money nurses make and they are not only dealing with the public but put their life on the line every minute they are on the job. Nurses might take verbal abuse from families, doctors, adminstration..etc however people will treat you the way you let them treat you (thanks Dr. Phil)....with that being said for the most part I feel I am treated very well by my coworkers and also my bosses.
    I also agree with the poster who said the potention for earning was great. My base pay is 65,000/year and that is working 36/hrs/week and taking 4 weeks vacation every year. With overtime I was able to make 87,000 last year and because of the flexible schedule and having 4 days/week off I was able to actually take 7 week long vacations. I dont think police,firemen, lawyers are afforded that much time off because their schedules arent as flexible as ours.
  13. by   gerry79
    A close friend of mine is a policeman and has been for 5 years and I will make more as a new grad than he makes now. Also a friend of mine is a LICSW (Masters Degree clinical social worker) and makes far less than what I will make as a new grad nurse. I am not saying that nurses arent underpaid, but I hear the same complaint from others.
  14. by   Soup Turtle
    "Ladies, if you are a nurse, you are smart enough to make it through law school, vet school, or anything else you want to do. If I wasn't so old and had so many people riding on my salary, I'd switch professions in a heartbeat."

    I work for a bunch of vets and they all think they're underpaid and put through a lot of BS, too. One of them told me I'd be making more $ than she was after becoming an RN. A few of them really seem bitter about deciding to become vets and spending the money/time on school. It's kind of sad.

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