I have just started working as a staff nurse again after 17 years as a specialty nurse (finishing masters degree). I was apalled at the salary offered me and after every hectic day am more appalled. I work in a major teaching, trauma center in upstate New York and get paid $19.49/hr. This is the highest salary a staff nurse can make and includes consideration for years of experience and education. I don't remember what the shift differential is. This hospitals has unions and multiple levels of care. I been told by the CT's they are too busy to do something for me but don't understand why I'm not helping them with bedbaths. I've been told by the ward secretary she is just doing her job according to union rules when she accepts a new patient without informing any of the nursing staff. I'm tired of tripping over med students, residents, & fellows. I'm tired of all the orders being changed when the attending makes rounds an hour later. I'm tired of tripping over all the equipment in the hallways because their just anyplace to put it (but they find a place if JCAHO is coming). I'm tired of going home wondering how many mistakes I made instead of thinking of how I helped someone. $19.49/hour isn't worth it. My stint as a staff nurse ends in August and not a moment too soon. Would a higher salary make all this better -- no it wouldn't. But staff nurses have an awesome responsibility; they literally have people's lives in their hands and should be paid more for the responsibility they have. Other systems need to be fixed to make the job less frustrating.
May 19, '00
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