Questions: Nurses leaving the Profession - page 2

I have a question about nursing. I am currently an elemenatary school teacher who has been accepted to Nursing School for Spring 2007. I read an old article in "Times Magazine", that stated that the... Read More

  1. by   ginger58
    Quote from RN007
    This hospital has an RN-to-pt ratio of 10:1 with one LPN and maybe a CNA that has an even greater pt load. Can you believe it? .
    .
    I'm glad you have a goal to become an APN. No I can't believe a 10:1 ratio. I work in CA and thank goodness for the 5:1 because that can even have its' challenges. I know I'd never make it with 10 patients and so little supportive help. Here the RN is also responsible for the assessment of the LVN's patients and must cosign her charting.
    Best in 2007 and in your career.
  2. by   SaharaOnyxRN
    Quote from anouk
    I have a question about nursing. I am currently an elemenatary school teacher who has been accepted to Nursing School for Spring 2007. I read an old article in "Times Magazine", that stated that the average nurse last about 5 years in the profession (similar to the burnout rate for teachers). I want to know why nurses leave the profession at such a high rate. I know that every profession has its problems and even lawyers and CEO's who make a lot of money gripe about their jobs. But on this board I've heard a lot of nurses post comments about doctor mistreatment, cattiness between co-workers, ill-tempered CNAs, charge nurses, and the like. I've also noticed that many nurses post about a lack of respect from administrators and co-workers even though nurses receive professional training. I 'd like to know some of the reasons why nurses are leaving the profession at such an alarming rate. I'd also like to know if it is better (work atmosphere wise) to work in a hospital, home health, doctor's office, etc.
    For me, it's not about the cattiness or the doctor's acting a fool. I can deal with them. They bleed red blood just like I do. And I'm pretty sure a bullet will stop anyone. But for me, it's the significant responsibility that is put upon the nurses. In my facility, there has been downsizing. With downsizing, they expect you to take on much more than one nurse can handle. The patient acuity has increased and it is hard to be there for all of them. Even if you never stop, something is going to go lacking on most days.

    To me, that's unacceptable. I cannot go to bed and get a good night's sleep knowing that I can only do just enough to get by. These patients, no matter how horrible they can be at times, deserve EXCELLENT care, not standard care. And with nurses being increasingly used more and more and not given more help, it makes for a volatile situation waiting to happen. And last, but not least, no one appreciates you and you get misused on a daily basis. After a while, the body and mind cannot take anymore and you have burnout.

    I do plan on leaving the nursing profession within the next 5 years. I know that every job has it's qualms, but these are people's lives we are dealing with. Something needs to change.
  3. by   Ruby Vee
    Quote from moonrose2u
    the aging of the nursing profession is something that the powers that be need to recognize and deal with accordingly. that means better staffing, more autonomony, and better salaries. for those of us who devote our lives to helping others we must be paid accordingly.
    [font="comic sans ms"]speaking as an aging nurse, i have few complaints about my salary. i realize that i work in one of the best paid hospitals around, but my salary and benefits are fine. my hospital has made an attempt to recruit older nurses and is doing it with some of the benefits that mean most to us: tuition reimbursement for our college-aged children and step-children and a disability insurance package that kept my paycheck coming (albeit at a reduced level) and my health insurance in force through the nearly six months i was incapacitated with a job-acquired injury.

    other ways to retain aging nurses would be a lift team to do the heavy work of lifting and transferring our patients for us or more lifting equipment. better staffing would be helpful, but the right kind of staffing. five cnas on a shift whom you can never find because they're in the supply room on their cell phones or who have taken themselves off to the market to buy lottery tickets aren't helpful. a change in culture would be helpful -- work comes first and then you play. asking for help with a heavy turn rather than trying to do it yourself. those things are disdained in my unit culture, and that's what's going to have me looking for a new job sometime soon.
  4. by   Daytonite
    anouk. . .I worked as a hospital RN for 30 years. The only reason I am not working now is because of my back. Because of microfractures and a slowly developing ruptured disc, my back finally died and I can no longer stand long enough to be able to do clinical nursing. I found that going back to school and getting my BSN helped in dealing with the communication issues which is what I would classify all those things you mention in your post that you say are driving people out of nursing. My BSN program specifically focused on communication skills and was a big help to me. What I found was that at about 5 years, most nurses generally have finally mastered the hands-on, delegation and prioritizing skills that nurses need to know. Up to that point, that was what I primarily focused on. Once those skills were mastered, the communication problems then became of concern. Communication skills are just that--skills. Many nursing programs do teach them, but it is hard to find good clinical examples for students to learn with. Unfortunately, many times RNs are left to self-learn and develop these skills later in their career. This is true of most all skills learned after nursing school. For some reason many nurses don't see communication skills as being just as important as the hands-on, delegation and prioritizing skills. It is too bad because it is probably what drives them out of the profession. I think there is still a feeling that nursing is a blue collar profession and that once school is over, you are done with formal education. That is so-o-o-o wrong. As long as there are nurses who do not want to learn to tackle their professional problems, there will be people who quit the profession. This is not an easy career. As a teacher, I'm sure you can appreciate the importance of understanding psychology and behavior in others.
  5. by   RN007
    Quote from Daytonite
    What I found was that at about 5 years, most nurses generally have finally mastered the hands-on, delegation and prioritizing skills that nurses need to know. Up to that point, that was what I primarily focused on. Once those skills were mastered, the communication problems then became of concern.
    Daytonite, I appreciate your post. What specific communication problems do you see in nursing? I have a strong background in it from my former career and always consider effective communication an important component of whatever I do. I'm always surprised when I don't see it, especially in my nursing program. I would appreciate any wisdom you can pass my way. RN007
  6. by   Daytonite
    Quote from RN007
    Daytonite, I appreciate your post. What specific communication problems do you see in nursing? I have a strong background in it from my former career and always consider effective communication an important component of whatever I do. I'm always surprised when I don't see it, especially in my nursing program. I would appreciate any wisdom you can pass my way. RN007
    All I can tell you is that I just tried to do my part. I did my best to keep my mouth shut and let my patients do the talking. I would literally talk myself into calming down and staying a few minutes longer with patients to hear what they had to say to make sure I wasn't missing anything that might be important to their assessment. It helped immensely with getting their later cooperation and trust, I can tell you. When I was on my nurse practice committee I went out of my way to advertise meetings and talk them up to everyone I came into contact with. I developed my own report sheet ("brains") because the ones provided for us by the hospitals just wasn't good enough. (You can see my current one at Attachment 5032). It has everything on it I need for report. My working copy actually has important extension numbers and doctor's phone numbers that print out at the top of it, but I deleted them when I posted it on allnurses. I also carry a pocket calendar (I'm working on my 2007 today) in which I immediately write in committee meetings that I need to go to. This little calendar goes with me everywhere and there is no way I can make a doctor's appointment without referring to it and accidentally scheduling something at the same time as a meeting I need to be at. I keep a list of things that have to be done on blank 3x5 cards that fit inside this pocket calendar. This way something goes on the list right away because I'll forget about it 2 hours later. I heard somewhere that the more you write down on lists, the less you have to worry about remembering.

    The biggest thing, however, was dealing with interpersonal conflicts with coworkers or subordinates. I can be very opinionated myself. I left a couple of jobs because the stress of dealing with this was too much. When you are a new grad, you have enough on your plate to just deal with mastering being a good nurse. For me, part of the problem was me. It took me a while to learn that I wasn't the center of the universe. I attribute that to a mostly positive attitude and willingness to change when my faults were pointed out to me. Being a spoiled brat to begin with was quite an admission for me. I won't say that it didn't hurt emotionally because it did, but I understood that I would grow and become a better person. I am able to work happier and deal with conflict much more efficiently.
  7. by   hollyvk
    Quote from anouk
    I have a question about nursing. I am currently an elemenatary school teacher who has been accepted to Nursing School for Spring 2007. I read an old article in "Times Magazine", that stated that the average nurse last about 5 years in the profession (similar to the burnout rate for teachers). I want to know why nurses leave the profession at such a high rate. I know that every profession has its problems and even lawyers and CEO's who make a lot of money gripe about their jobs. But on this board I've heard a lot of nurses post comments about doctor mistreatment, cattiness between co-workers, ill-tempered CNAs, charge nurses, and the like. I've also noticed that many nurses post about a lack of respect from administrators and co-workers even though nurses receive professional training. I 'd like to know some of the reasons why nurses are leaving the profession at such an alarming rate. I'd also like to know if it is better (work atmosphere wise) to work in a hospital, home health, doctor's office, etc.
    Dear Anouk,

    Speaking as an RN (and a lawyer), I advise you to very carefully consider if this is a career change you want to make. The differences in the working conditions between the 2 professions are many.

    You currently have a mostly 5 days/wk job with generous school vacation time off. While I'm sure you're working into the evening on lesson plans and grading homework, you aren't consistently working weekends, nights, or holidays.

    I'm assuming you work for a school district (rather than a private school), so most likely while your pay isn't outstanding, but your benefits probably are much better than you'll find in nursing (unless you work for a governmental healthcare provider, e.g. university hospital, or a facility with union representation for nursing).

    One of the most significant differences is retirement funding. In private healthcare, there essentially isn't any (unless you can put in 20 yrs at one facility, and you hope the retirement fund isn't eliminated down the road). The majority of nurses are funding their own retirements with 401k's (employers generally do a nominal fund match, but rarely more than 3% of your salary).

    And another major difference is that in teaching you are paid according to your educational level. Not so in nursing. An RN with a 2-year degree makes the same money as one with a 4-yr degree. You may be able to make more as an RN with a master's degree, but it depends where you work. Nursing schools generally want master's level faculty, but pay less then healthcare providers (another reason why there aren't enough nursing schools to meet current demands).

    You should chat up some of the school nurses in your district (assuming there are any--I know many districts have really cut back or eliminated school nurses) about why they chose to do school nursing (big paycut, but better work hrs and benefits).

    I hope this is helpful.

    HollyVK, RN, BSN, JD
  8. by   HealthyRN
    There are many reasons that I believe that nurses are leaving the profession. I have been in nursing for almost a year and I keep dreaming about when my "real" job is going to start. Sometimes it feels like a nightmare and I can't believe that I went to school for four years for a job like this. The patient load is unrealistic and the pay is not worth the amount of stress I experience while at work. And I do not believe it is just my work environment or practice area, as I have already switched jobs and encountered similiar problems. Also, I have met many nurses who feel the same way that I do and have been around a lot longer than I have. Although I am able to take a lunch break at my current job, I have been in places where it was considered lucky to get a 10 minute break in a 12-hr shift.

    As someone else mentioned, nurses are never respected for our professional knowledge. If the hospital is short on housekeepers, guess who is cleaning the room! It's not that I consider myself above such tasks (in fact, I used to do janitorial work), but I did not go to school for this. Also, I am expected to add this to my current workload of caring for 6 patients, several of which may be critically ill. It becomes impossible to balance everything you are expected to complete with excellent nursing care. After awhile, it becomes very frustrating to realize that you could be delivering better care, but don't have the resources to do so.

    Nursing is just not what I envisioned it to be. I have thought about quitting my job to work at Wal-Mart, or a bridal shop, or anywhere else, but I've decided to stick it out for awhile. I guess it's a sign that while I don't enjoy my nursing job, it is at least for now, tolerable. I feel like I worked too hard to give up so easily. My current position is allowing me to work toward a professional goal of becoming a family nurse practitioner. That is really the positive thing about nursing- there are many options. There are many practice areas and the ability to move into advanced practice with more education. Just be prepared that you may not find your niche right away.
  9. by   incublissRN
    Quote from P_RN
    HARD isn't the word for it. I think we handle weights equivalent to dock workers. Except if their load drops oh well it's probably be OK.

    Another is the attitude of corporate/money grubbing/micromanaging $UITS

    There's not a task in the world that the $uits don't think should fall on nurses. NO dietary-pass the trays, no phlebotomy-draw it yourself, no unit secretary? answer the lights do the orders and ALSO be a nurse. Fall down go boom-hire another nurse and sweep this one under the carpet. Warm bodies I believe is the bottom line to the $uits.

    And to me IMHO is why we leave the job we love.
    I agee with this. As a new nurse my biggest frustration is all the extra responsibilites that fall on me. I feel like my biggest task as a nurse is problem solving. It's frustrating when you come home from work and you feel like you spent the whole day on the phone with pharmacy fixing a MAR, straighting out a lunch order with dietary, figuring out why a tech couldn't administer CT dye through a port a cath, etc. The list goes on and on.

    On the cardiac medical unit I first worked on after graduation it was mostly primary nursing. I thought that was extremely hard because it was difficult to find help to transfer heavy patients, I had to spend time passing trays, picking up trays, beds and baths, lab draws, answer call lights....All this garbage takes away from more important tasks.
  10. by   Epona
    Ok everyone.. I need some REAL advice here. I have been reading all these postings and I have some questions.

    I am starting RN school in less then 2 weeks. I already have a BS degree, but it's virtually useless. LONG story there. Anyway, I have always loved medicine and biology (studied this in college... was a double degree student). So Nursing will be a second career for me. I have taken out BIG loans to go to RN school. Anyway.. I HOPE to work for my cardiologist after graduating OR at a local heart hospital in my area. I DO NOT PLAN on working on the "floor" like Med Sug, etc. I am a heart patient myself and have always been fasinated with the cariovascular system. The heart is for me. With my own condition and previous medical classes, I know a fair amount going in. My docs. have encourgaed me to go into Nursing. Anway.. this gets me to my question.. what are the ODDS that I will get into a docs. office or my local heart hospital?????? Again, THAT is what I want to do period. I don't want to go through the shananagans of all this hospital floor junk. From what you all have posted on here it sounds like a nightmare!!! I don't mind cleaning up on occassion if housekeeping is out and so forth, but don't want a steady job of it. I just hear more and more of how new nurses are hating it and having to deal with all this mess. Yikes!! At 34, I know the world is not a bowl of cherrys, but I just hear all the time how new nurses want to run away as fast as they can! Oh no! I guess I need some REAL HARD advice from you all. I am starting in less then 2 weeks and have taken out a LOT of $$$ to go. On the other hand, I really don't have a choice as there is not much else I can do career wise. I am gung-ho to go, but hearing all this really scares me badly. I don't want to take out these large loans, get out, hate it and be stuck owing THOUSANDS back. Not good. Not good. Really... can one get out and go right into their speciality? Like myself at the heart hospital?? A docs. office?? That is what I want to do, and I wonder how realistic it is.......
  11. by   hollyvk
    Quote from Epona
    Ok everyone.. I need some REAL advice here. I have been reading all these postings and I have some questions.

    I am starting RN school in less then 2 weeks. I already have a BS degree, but it's virtually useless. LONG story there. Anyway, I have always loved medicine and biology (studied this in college... was a double degree student). So Nursing will be a second career for me. I have taken out BIG loans to go to RN school. Anyway.. I HOPE to work for my cardiologist after graduating OR at a local heart hospital in my area. I DO NOT PLAN on working on the "floor" like Med Sug, etc. I am a heart patient myself and have always been fasinated with the cariovascular system. The heart is for me. With my own condition and previous medical classes, I know a fair amount going in. My docs. have encourgaed me to go into Nursing. Anway.. this gets me to my question.. what are the ODDS that I will get into a docs. office or my local heart hospital?????? Again, THAT is what I want to do period. I don't want to go through the shananagans of all this hospital floor junk. From what you all have posted on here it sounds like a nightmare!!! I don't mind cleaning up on occassion if housekeeping is out and so forth, but don't want a steady job of it. I just hear more and more of how new nurses are hating it and having to deal with all this mess. Yikes!! At 34, I know the world is not a bowl of cherrys, but I just hear all the time how new nurses want to run away as fast as they can! Oh no! I guess I need some REAL HARD advice from you all. I am starting in less then 2 weeks and have taken out a LOT of $$$ to go. On the other hand, I really don't have a choice as there is not much else I can do career wise. I am gung-ho to go, but hearing all this really scares me badly. I don't want to take out these large loans, get out, hate it and be stuck owing THOUSANDS back. Not good. Not good. Really... can one get out and go right into their speciality? Like myself at the heart hospital?? A docs. office?? That is what I want to do, and I wonder how realistic it is.......

    I don't think it's out of the question that you could find a doctor's office position without having hospital experience, as those positions are not as sought after as healthcare facility positions (due to lower pay, fewer benefits).

    However, there's another cardiac-related career option you might want to check out--Sonographer doing echocardiograms.

    The American Society of Echocardiography

    I worked in a children's hospital for a bit and always though the echocardiograms were facinating, getting to see the real-time pumping action of the heart. And as I recall, other than being responsible for their equipment and wiping the gel off the patient after the exam, the ultrasound techs didn't look like they were having to deal with scutt work or obnoxious working conditions. Transesophageal cardiac ultrasound studies are also very interesting.

    I hope this is helpful.

    HollyVK
  12. by   Epona
    Thank you very much HollyVK. Yes.. since I am a heart patient, I have had several Echos done. I am familiar with them. I did check into that actually. The pay is not as good as an RN and there are not as many opportunities in my area of the US for Echo Techs. There are plenty for nurses with good pay. So I guess in the end, you get one thing you don't get something else. I am not in a position to move so I have to work a job were I can 1) find work 2) get decent pay

    I thank you very much for mentioning that though. I am hoping as a new grad I can go straight to the heart hospital or work for my doc. I would make pretty good $$ at the heart hospital I am guessing.... my heart doc. tells me he pays his nurses $80,000 and up. I went in to see him just to talk about nursing. I had an appt. on the books, but it was just for 15 minutes and he did not charge me or anything. He wrote me a very nice letter of recommd. for RN school. He has known me for over a decade and he says I even amaze him sometimes with the heart info. and medicines I know!! LOL. So I am hoping I can do an externship with him and then just stay on. Wish me luck!! That is the plan!!!
  13. by   hollyvk
    Quote from Epona
    Thank you very much HollyVK. Yes.. since I am a heart patient, I have had several Echos done. I am familiar with them. I did check into that actually. The pay is not as good as an RN and there are not as many opportunities in my area of the US for Echo Techs. There are plenty for nurses with good pay. So I guess in the end, you get one thing you don't get something else. I am not in a position to move so I have to work a job were I can 1) find work 2) get decent pay

    I thank you very much for mentioning that though. I am hoping as a new grad I can go straight to the heart hospital or work for my doc. I would make pretty good $$ at the heart hospital I am guessing.... my heart doc. tells me he pays his nurses $80,000 and up. I went in to see him just to talk about nursing. I had an appt. on the books, but it was just for 15 minutes and he did not charge me or anything. He wrote me a very nice letter of recommd. for RN school. He has known me for over a decade and he says I even amaze him sometimes with the heart info. and medicines I know!! LOL. So I am hoping I can do an externship with him and then just stay on. Wish me luck!! That is the plan!!!
    Good luck to you, but remember, the starting wages for a brand-new nurse are much lower than for an experienced one. There are several discussions on this site about wages and salaries, including starting salaries; I suggest you check them out. Pay scales are determined by your number of years of experience, geographic location of the facility, size of the facility, type of facility, and the presence/absence of nursing union activity in the area.

    I worked several years at a prominent, nationally-recognized children's hospital that required RNs to have BSNs and always touted that it did national surveys of other children's hospitals to determine its wage scales (almost all chidren's hospitals are located in large metropolitan areas). Imagine my surprise when I then next started working at a large general hospital in the area and was making more money!

    HollyVK

close