Reading these threads and evaluating my OTJ frustrations, I wonder what we really think we deserve. Quantitatively the big issues seem to be pay, patient load and hours worked every week. Qualitatively patient acuity and respect seem to be the big intangible frustrations.
Qualitatively I require enough free time to unwind from work _and_ have some fun as just a plain old human. I don't think I am super-nurse, but to clock in and really throw myself into doing the best job I can, there has got to be some time for me to relax. Mandatory overtime ain't it.
On the respect issue I think we really need to put out own house in order before we look to outside sources for support. There is no reason for anyone in the general public to have any more respect for us than we have for each other. Read some of the random invective on this site, imagine we were all plumbers, and try to imagine hiring one of the posters here to fix the pipes in your basement. While we are failing to respect nurses, no one else is going to respect nurses.
I thought my pay as a new grad was pretty good until my student loans came out of deferment. I held on for six desperate months for my first annual review (hahahaha), and had to leave the field for a little while to go make some money. With five years in the field I think I am worth about double what I am making now. That is assuming I don't go into a higher tax bracket because of the big raise. The warm fuzzies I get from helping other people make up for some of the difference; but at the end of the day all the warm fuzzies from helping other people and all the respect I get from participating in an honorable profession don't pay the phone bill.
I can't imagine anything happening in the US that is going to change rising acuity. The only way I see that we could actually do that would be to demolish the entire healthcare system, and rebuild from the ground up as a social rather than capitalist system.
I am not holding my breath for that one. Americans don't want to lead healthy lifestyles. They want to eat greasy food, drink too much beer, smoke cigarettes, and then be "fixed" during a ten minute appointment with an MD as an outpatient so they can go out and drink more beer, eat more greasy food and smoke more cigarettes while complaining the MD was ten minutes late for the appointment. What is a caring sharing underpaid professional to do?
The only solution I see, the only solution the system in place can provide is money. The big money invested in healthcare is capital invested with the reasonable expectation of financial return on the investment. In a nutshell, that is the state of healthcare in the US. When the root is evil, it does not matter how good the grafts are, the vine will be afflicted.
I am oficially infected. I don't expect less acute patients, I've given up on getting respect from the public, nursing hours are always going to suck. Pay me what I am worth or have your colonoscopy with no sedation.
I really hate having come to this place, but my ideals have met the real world and the real world won. It was no contest. If someone knows of a profession where I can have more responsibility while getting less respect and make even less money, I would like to know what it is.
How much do you think you are worth, what would it take on your paycheck for you to go back to work tommorrow doing the same job you did today, only going going in glad to be there? As a percent I mean, 50% raise in takehome, double? Half the patients you had today and 50%? Keep it general like that please, the cost of living does vary dramatically in places. How long have you been in practice?