Nursing shortage? Read this and respond please - page 2

In the recent months our hospital appears to have trouble hiring new nurses, and/or keeping nurses in the hospital. This seems most prvalent on the evening and night shifts. A few thoughts enter my... Read More

  1. by   sharonmcneill
    Originally posted by CEN35:
    In the recent months our hospital appears to have trouble hiring new nurses, and/or keeping nurses in the hospital. This seems most prvalent on the evening and night shifts. A few thoughts enter my mind right from the start.

    #1 - Are there a lack of new grads entering into hospitals?

    #2 - Are experienced nurses getting out of the hospital to work with corporate companies, legal nursing, insurance companies, etc?

    #3 - Is it d/t pay scales, and shift differentials. I know that in the past shift differentials have decreased. They have decreased to the point, where many nurses working nightshift had their yearly raises (let's say .43 cents an hour), but then the differential was reduced by .50 cents a year for 4-5 years. So they lost .07 cents a year. Currently there is no differential between the evening shift and night shift.

    So what is it like at your hospitals? Do they have problems hiring, or keeping the positions filled there? Is there a shortage in your area or part of the country? Any thoughts on this would be appreciated.

    Rick RN CEN
    Well I just had to respond to this discussion due to the fact that I have been in nursing shortages in the past..Not to sound ancient, but this is an ongoing battle with our profession. We have historically created this problem.. In 1980, and 1989 we experienced the same type of shortage..We continue to go backwards as the new graduates come out..The nurse patient ratio increases and the pay drops.. I was making $18/hr staff and $25/hr via the agency in 1980...The RN from N.C. discussed a pay scale of $15/hr in 2000. That is ridiculous that one would except that type of salary for saving lives in 2000, when computer operators are making three times that amount sitting in front of a machine..We have major strikes going on the east and west coast at the present time...The fight is for reasonable nurse patient ratios and a competative salary.. I live in Maryland and at the prestigous John Hopkins the salary is not even competative, the nurses work short in many departments, and the parking is outrageous..WHY SHOULD WE PAY TO PARK??? We settle for what administration gives us and they receive large bonuses at the end of the year...We need more men in the nursing profession and things would change. Most nurses with many years of experience have left due to unsafe working conditions, poor quality of patient care, poor salary structures, the introduction of insurance care, and health care being nothing but big business..I have worked in every field from ER to home care and this will continue in this path with the exit of the baby boomers. In 1980 they gave away cars and large bonuses to attract nurses..Two years later they drop the annual salary,compromised the benefits, forced overtime, and increased the patient load..It took us almost ten more years to realize they took back what they gave us.. Now its happening again.. No nurse in this year should under estimate what they are capable of doing and settle for less...
    Sharon
    Maryland
    symc655@aol.com
  2. by   Flashman
    Originally posted by CEN35:
    In the recent months our hospital appears to have trouble hiring new nurses, and/or keeping nurses in the hospital. This seems most prvalent on the evening and night shifts. A few thoughts enter my mind right from the start.

    #1 - Are there a lack of new grads entering into hospitals?

    #2 - Are experienced nurses getting out of the hospital to work with corporate companies, legal nursing, insurance companies, etc?

    #3 - Is it d/t pay scales, and shift differentials. I know that in the past shift differentials have decreased. They have decreased to the point, where many nurses working nightshift had their yearly raises (let's say .43 cents an hour), but then the differential was reduced by .50 cents a year for 4-5 years. So they lost .07 cents a year. Currently there is no differential between the evening shift and night shift.

    So what is it like at your hospitals? Do they have problems hiring, or keeping the positions filled there? Is there a shortage in your area or part of the country? Any thoughts on this would be appreciated.

    Rick RN CEN
    In my opinion the nursing shortage is like the gas shortage of the 70's. There was no gas at $0.50 a gallon but at $1.50 you could have all the gas you wanted. If nurses are paid for and respected for what they do and they still can't find any nurses then, that truely is a shortage. However when a hospital needs to find money and looks to nursing salaries and nursing staffing to find it, sure there is a shortage. Why would anyone, without a major commitment to helping people, want to be a nurse?
  3. by   joj
    I recently graduated and am 44 years young. Our local hospital hired 30 new grads. Seven to the units, two to surgergy, two to peds, two to ob, and the rest med surg. They put together a terrific orientation program for us. They had been using agency nurses, but finally realized that the money spent was not well invested. Some of the old dinosaurs have been ruffled, however, overall the nurses and rest of the staff have been very supportive. P.S. They still need two ER nurses! Hang in there and take your vitamins....
    Originally posted by CEN35:
    In the recent months our hospital appears to have trouble hiring new nurses, and/or keeping nurses in the hospital. This seems most prvalent on the evening and night shifts. A few thoughts enter my mind right from the start.

    #1 - Are there a lack of new grads entering into hospitals?

    #2 - Are experienced nurses getting out of the hospital to work with corporate companies, legal nursing, insurance companies, etc?

    #3 - Is it d/t pay scales, and shift differentials. I know that in the past shift differentials have decreased. They have decreased to the point, where many nurses working nightshift had their yearly raises (let's say .43 cents an hour), but then the differential was reduced by .50 cents a year for 4-5 years. So they lost .07 cents a year. Currently there is no differential between the evening shift and night shift.

    So what is it like at your hospitals? Do they have problems hiring, or keeping the positions filled there? Is there a shortage in your area or part of the country? Any thoughts on this would be appreciated.

    Rick RN CEN
  4. by   Youman
    I'm about to begin my final year in nursing school and I thought the future looked very bright. Well, about two months ago the hospital connected to my school announced that they would be laying off nurses at a time when they need them the most. Then I found this topic on the BB and I'm starting to freak out abit. Reloction is not a very good option for me because of having to up root my husband and children. Hopefully there will be a place for me here and for all those who need it but I'm starting to doubt it!
  5. by   nightstar41
    I would not recommend nursing to anyone I know even though I have been nursing for 20 years. There is little chance of advancement, poor wages, increase need for education and skills that are required ususally at our own cost to access, we are undervalued, underpaid, overworked and stressed...I could be doing so many other things with the same education and so much more in the form of money and benefits. Do not get me wrong, I love nursing but I would not recommend it to my daughter. Nurses need to be acknowledged from our own profession, doctors and consumers of health care. The health care system is in shortage and I do not see it getting any better. Nurses as we know it today, are a dying breed. Do I sound gloomy?? I am and it saddened me so.
    Nightstar
  6. by   goldilocksrn
    I agree with everyone here. We are expected to mother our patients, hold their hands while they are ill and dying, giving birth, grieving. We are also supposed to have enough time to pass meds, assess, assist doctors, answer phones, chart to perfection, and get off without racking up a bunch of overtime. At In N Out Burger in the city I live, the cashiers make 10.50 an hour with benefits to flip burgers (thats 1.50 an hour more than our CNA's) When I started at the hospital where I work, I made 15.00 an hour. Just think, I went to college for 5 years to make a little more than the gal at the burger joint! And just think, at the burger joint, the only work you take home with you is delicious
  7. by   Julie, RN
    Southeastern NC=Nursing Shortage!
    I recently graduated and had a job eagerly handed to me before my graduation. They hired for any area (ER, ICU,Med Surg,...). My orientation has been great, along with being fully accepted by my senior nurses.
    I have heard this shortage is regional, some places feel the crunch, others don't.
    All those looking for a job....take a look into North Carolina!

    Good Luck,
    Julie M.,RN
  8. by   CEN35
    Thanks for all the replies so far.

    Rick RN CEN
  9. by   walkaway
    I've been an RN since '68 and I am most discouraged now. The only reason I can go to work these days is because I am a float pool nurse at the hospital where I work. It is a suburban 220 bed hospital and what keeps me afloat is the fact that I can pick and choose my hours and shifts. Of course, this is only possible because we do have too few nurses. Originally, float pool was constantly called by co-workers, because they wanted off. Now I am called each week by the staffing office to pick up needs and if I took them all I could do doubles about 5-6 days a week. This has been the situation for well over a year. Right now this month we have been running at 67-97% bed census. So the pace hasn't been real killing. Weekends when they are desparate they will throw in a bonus. These have ranged from $25 to $200 a shift. Of course we are not to tell any coworkers about our bonus. And I could go on and on. What really tears me is that my high school age son's girl friend is a nurse aide at a local nursing home. She has been there for 3 years and earns $6.15/hr. for 3-11 shift. The kids who work at the grocery store start at $7/hr in the evenings. She is taking the vo-tech high school medical program and she wants to go on to nursing school. I think it is in her heart but I keep telling her that she has to get pro active for nurses or she will end up as tired as me. My other desire with nursing is to join a travel agency and see some or most of these United States in the next few years. I sort of picked up a negative vibe on the posts that someone's hospital pays tons of big bucks to travel agency nurses. It will be the only way I can afford to travel as I have not been able to save any of my hard earned money.If I do travel nursing, I hope the nurses in far away places won't hate me.
  10. by   oramar
    Originally posted by walkaway:
    I've been an RN since '68 and I am most discouraged now. The only reason I can go to work these days is because I am a float pool nurse at the hospital where I work. It is a suburban 220 bed hospital and what keeps me afloat is the fact that I can pick and choose my hours and shifts. Of course, this is only possible because we do have too few nurses. Originally, float pool was constantly called by co-workers, because they wanted off. Now I am called each week by the staffing office to pick up needs and if I took them all I could do doubles about 5-6 days a week. This has been the situation for well over a year. Right now this month we have been running at 67-97% bed census. So the pace hasn't been real killing. Weekends when they are desparate they will throw in a bonus. These have ranged from $25 to $200 a shift. Of course we are not to tell any coworkers about our bonus. And I could go on and on. What really tears me is that my high school age son's girl friend is a nurse aide at a local nursing home. She has been there for 3 years and earns $6.15/hr. for 3-11 shift. The kids who work at the grocery store start at $7/hr in the evenings. She is taking the vo-tech high school medical program and she wants to go on to nursing school. I think it is in her heart but I keep telling her that she has to get pro active for nurses or she will end up as tired as me. My other desire with nursing is to join a travel agency and see some or most of these United States in the next few years. I sort of picked up a negative vibe on the posts that someone's hospital pays tons of big bucks to travel agency nurses. It will be the only way I can afford to travel as I have not been able to save any of my hard earned money.If I do travel nursing, I hope the nurses in far away places won't hate me.
    It seems every Pa. nurse you talk to is stressed and tired like you or out of the business like me. I have a few friends who have done travel nursing in other states and they seem happy and energetic. Perhaps it has something to do with having so much power over where and when they work. They tell me the money isn't bad either. Anyway, if I were you I would at least look into it. One other thing, I have a aquaintance who is a career consultant at a major Pa. university. She told me she is being swamped by request from their nursing school alumni for advice about changing careers. She says they all say the same thing, "I want OUT".

    ------------------
  11. by   oramar
    Originally posted by Mijourney:
    Hi Rick,
    Got to get my two or more cents in on this topic.
    I agree with your summaries and the previous posts. Lesliee is correct in indicating that new grads don't get enough of what they need to practice confidently as a competent nurse. PPL is correct in writing that it is not the pay that is the major problem in nursing.
    Since I have been a member of this BB, my review of posts indicates that:
    1.There is a problem with intradisciplinary support in nursing. It starts out in nursing school with nursing educators who are not objective, not politically(not to be confused with party affiliation) savvy, and have inadequate people skills.
    2.Managed care has disrupted the comfort zones of all health and medical professionals.
    3.Demands of the aged along with the aging "me" generation baby boomers and their "no, me" gen-xer children have increased the frustration level of bedside nurses who already are stressed out from all the restructuring going on in the name of "the bottom line."
    4.Many nurses are not wholly engaged in formal life long learning activities which is required nowadays to keep up with the increasingly rapid pace of change in health and medical care.
    Also experts write that the average age of nurses in practice today is mid 40's. No doubt, this is one reason many experienced nurses are going into nontraditional fields of health and medical care. This along with potential nursing candidates going into other fields that are less challenged than nursing will possibly contribute to a longer than expected shortage. Some experts predict a severe nursing shortage for the next 20 years. Also, need to include the fact that the proliferation of for profit health and medical services in the last decade have probably negatively impacted entry into nursing practice and nurse retention.
    Currently, I am in home health(HH). As a former hospital nurse, I feel that in the future, it will become difficult to distinguish between hospital and home nursing practice in terms of frustration levels. In the last several years, increasing pain has been inflicted upon us. With the advent of PPS which is similar in many ways to DRGs, the pain will become unbearable for many nurses, aides, allied health practitioners, and patients. All this in the name of "the bottom line."
    With regards to your specialty Rick, I recently read that many ERs are having a time of it with the increased number of nonemergency visits. It seems like the health care delivery system needs a good restructuring. In fact, this problem probably should have been addressed long before the money and power issue.
    Once again I find an excellent, right on the money post by Mijourney. I have to add a comment that pertains to health care in Pennsylvania only. A few years back the no fault workmens comp. we had in Pa. was changed to a law that allowed employers to wiggle out of workmens comp. claims by claiming injured workers were negligent and at least partially responsible for their injuries. The new law has been a disastor for health care workers and employers. Why, because health care workers, as we all know, are much more prone to injury than on average. Employers on the advice of their lawyers{who understand the price of everything and the value of nothing} contest every single injury, accusing employees of being responsible for their own injuries. A large number of cases end up in litagation with laywers being the only winners. The system was created to reduce employer cost but I bet it is increasing them. There are many more anti employee clauses in this law like the one that allows MDs on the employers payrole to treat workers and the light duty clause of law, I know nurses who have very sever back injuries who have been told that light duty includes passing meds. Anyone who has had to pass meds knows there is nothing light about it, every single time you go into a room there are a million heavy duty things that are screaming to be done, not to mention that pushing those big unit dose carts around is hardly light duty. Anyway, I have never mentioned fear of injury as one of the negatives of nursing in the past but now that I must fear being treated like a criminal and con man if I get hurt it certainly gives me pause.
  12. by   Daisy
    I have worked in hospital nursing for over 22 years. Its just a different world we live and work in than it was 10 or 20 years ago. Anyone remember the last nursing shortage? We got good raises then to keep us in our jobs. Is anyone getting good raises now to keep us? Probably not. Health care institutions just don't have that kind of money now. Instead we work harder with less people. Oh yeah they will pay overtime or bonus dollars when they are desperate but raises are very few and far between. The new grads want their cake and to eat it too. When there is competition to hire they go to the best place for the best money stay awhile and if they don't like it move on. We veterans are committed or maybe stuck in the situations we are in. We are close to retirement age and what else can we do, go to another hospital for the same thing so we stay and put up with the misery of watching people come and go each and every day? New grads don't want the evening and night shift. When we got out of school we were thrilled to get a job in the hospital, now they are picky and want the best. There is no solution just down the road. Is it really money that we want to stay? How about good stable working conditions? How about nurse to patient ratio guidelines to help keep the nurse in the hospital so that he or she knows what they are walking into each and every day? How about better orientation programs? We have big city hospitals one hour away from our little community hospital. We can't compete with the money, maybe we can compete with the quality of the care.
  13. by   datbzrn
    [Dear 44 years young,, The so-called dinosaurs that you refer to are the exact nurses that you will look to for help when your first patient goes bad!! Is it so wise to ruffle feathers when there is such a lack of experience in the hospitals now-adays? It seems to me that hospitals would want to find a way to retain experienced RNs. The hospital where I work is 300 beds. My floor is a med-surg floor with the capacity for 53 patients. Split that with 4 RNs,$ LPNs, and 4 nurses aides for day shift and see what kind of care there is. Also, administration doesn't care one lick about the staff, regardless of the many and frequent complaints that they get. Is it any wonder nurses want to unionize? It's only going to get worse. There is no incentive to be hired or to stay. Relocation is a big step in your mid forties. There is no clear answer for the problems that RNs are going through, so the best answer at this time is to up your mal-practice insurance

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