Nursing shortage? Read this and respond please

  1. 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
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  2. 63 Comments

  3. by   lesliee
    As a new grad I am eager to begin my career as a nurse. I've heard so much about the so-called nursing shortage, but in my search for employment I have not come across any facility gung-ho on hiring me. Most applications and resumes that I've sent in have been met with indifference and the single interview that I have had I was told that I didn't have enough experience carrying a full patient load! (Mind you, this was a new grad position) I don't know where the future will lead me. I take it one day at a time and am just hoping to get my foot in the door somewhere, anywhere, so that I can gain the experience I seem to need in order to work in a hospital. I was trying to avoid working in a SNF, (no offense to those who have that calling) but that seems to be the only option open to me at this time. Just one more hurdle to overcome...inexperience.
  4. by   PPL
    I can't speak for other facilities re hiring new grads, but our facility has a specific program that welcomes new grads. Of course, they NEVER refuse applications from nurses, at least for as long as I've been there. In my opinion, they are NOT nurse friendly. I don't believe pay is the main issue, but nurse/patient ratios and management backing is the biggest reason for turnover. Period!
  5. by   spitfire
    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
    Rick,I live in maine,last year they hired about 30 new grads in our hospital,most stayed.I have worked there 4 years as a cna,and they have paid for 1/2 of my tuition.I have always been told I had a position after graduation.Many thought they did.(I worked on a cardio-pulmonary unit)so I never applied anywhere else.The day of graduation they called to say they were not hiring anyone this year because of the budget?and managed care has put the squeeze on them.I feel it was due also to a helicopter crew and trauma nurses in service at the hospital at all times( last call out -in Feb?)many travelers last year-big bucks.Any way I am scrambling for a job and I do not see a shortage,I am being offered-11pm-7pm per deim at a nursing home.....The night diff at the hospital is 20% enough so many nurses say they could not afford to work during the day.Some have left to work for corp.but were in that field anyway-case managers.....Its depressing out there looking for work-nursing shortage?I do not see one here.jeanne


  6. 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.
  7. by   traumaRUs
    Hi Rick, Send those nurses to the midwest - IL to be specific. We can't get enough nurses. In the last two years we have even hired new grads to work in our level I trauma ctr. Love ER nursing (Really couldn't do anything else). I belong to the Emergency Nurses Assoc and get mail all the time re: sign-on bonuses, relocation, etc.

    Would advise new grads that want to work in hospitals, expand your search. If willing to relocate, contact one of the nursing societies. Also subscribe to journals in your area of interest. Take PRN if that is all that is offered.

    Someone above mentioned the aging nursing population. I'm 41 and see it everyday. You have to stay healthy to continue this pace. Rest, eat right and exercise.

    Good luck...Judi
  8. by   bunky
    Hi Rick.

    You don't mention what the staffing ratios are but I'd be willing to bet that there's your main culprit. Usually nights has less staff, and are given "extra duties". I am noticing a larger amount of admits on evening shift too but no extra staff. And tell me why in the world would anyone want to work nights if there wasn't good financial incentive to do so? It wreaks havoc in your personal life, you waste an entire day off sleeping, and you feel like some sort of zombified fringe element of society, and for what if there is no financial incentive to do it?

    In general? I think that there are a lot of nurses out here who are just plain fed up with this "Run, run, run" mentality that we are working under, and if your starting pay isn't the top in your geographic location, then they are going to run, run, run, right over to the higher paying facilities. If the work load is comparable, they may as well at least go for the place that pays them more to do it.
  9. by   JillR
    Trauma,
    New grads for ER? Where do I apply? Would love to work ER and would give my eye teeth to work in a Level one trauma center!!!!!
  10. by   CEN35
    Thanks for all the reply's so far.

    Rick
  11. by   BJA
    I too have lived in areas where there is not a nursing shortage. It can be frustrating. I moved from MN to AR 10 years ago. The nursing shortage in the Little Rock area is ridiculous. Can you breathe in and out? Do you have a license? Good, you're hired.

    Last year the Little Rock hospital I was employed at hired 60 new grads (total RN staff is almost 1000). Gave them each a $1000 sign on bonus and a nice 12-16 week orientation period. Pay is fair for the area, etc., etc.

    Sometimes moving is a good solution to the job situation.
  12. by   JillR
    I live in Central WI and to tell you the truth, no one is applying. Well I shouldn't say no-one. Just hired one and they just interviewed another. But others are leaing just as fast as they are getting hired. Pay at our hospital is competitive and staffing is excellent compared to some others but this is a very small rural hosp, with really no specialties to get into, you either work med/surg, med/surg, or med/surg LOL. May get a day or two of ER whether you like it or not. I think that a big problem in our hospital with hiring is that we have no specialties, even new grads are getting hired into specialties now. So the RN's that we are losing are going to work in specialties areas, not going to other hospitals to work med/surg.

    Oh and by the way, the majority of my graduating class opted not to work hospitals, they went into geriatrics.
  13. by   nursling2001
    [I am currently a nursing student in the middle of a 2 year ADN program in NC. We are currently experiencing an extreme statewide shortage. locally, our regional hospital is going through some severe internal political issues that make it very unappealing to pursue a job there. they are very open to new grads with adequate preceptorships, but absolutely 0 financial incentive. 35 miles down the road a small 65 bed community hospital is giving a $5,000 sign-on bonus, with $1,500 moving expense bonus and $15 an hour for RN's. Plus, if you pick up extra shifts and do not call out any of your scheduled shifts you are paid your time and a half plus an extra $100 for each extra shift. WOW!!! Talk about financial incentive! So you wonder what's wrong with them? Nothing! My boyfriend ( a new grad ) is newly employed there and loves it. so.... the "shortage" has certainly reached the southeast!! we are being told as students that it will be our market by May 2001 when we graduate. I am very much looking forward to it. But.... what do you do with these large hospitals with the HUGE issues????? Doing clinicals there it is clearly evident that they are very understaffed with patient care compromised at times, the nurses, for the most part are so grateful to have us students on the floor. they are scared, fed up, overworked, and tired of the BS.
    I am left with mixed emotions the further i make it through this program. love the field but do not enjoy watching patient care being compromised for bigwig raises and politics. but reality will have it that the absolute bottom line is $$$$$$$$$$$$.
    a mass approach to recruitment needs to occur, and it needs to be addressed at the grade school and high school levels, and to young adults. being involved in my local chapter of the nat. student nurses assoc. we currently brainstorming recruitment ideas. I do not feel that our local colleges are the problem--- my 2 year program is putting out 25 - 35 nurses a year, with close to 100% passing rate on the boards. we have had 8 first attempt failures in the past 10 years. and our local university graduates a large class every year. so who is responsible for the shortage? the employer --- our large regional hospital cut the shift diffs., no raises, and continue to give the head guy a multi thousand dollar raise yearly- every other year.and they continue to pay traveling nurses loads of money. who's responsible? you tell me.
  14. by   Mijourney
    Originally posted by sharonmcneill:
    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
    ---------------------------------------------
    Hi Sharon,
    You are so totally correct-from one nurse who has experienced previous shortages to another. You and another poster hit the nail on head with the reference to the boomers. I feel this shortage may end up being our worse one yet. Bunky, I think it was you who wrote that one should not go into health care to make a "killing." Correct me if I'm wrong.


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