Now that is a loaded question.
Here are some clues;
Legislation is being pushed hard to import more nurses from other countries by raising the limits that were reduced just 5 or 6 years ago.
Legislation is also being pushed to make bargain basement deals to bring in new student for nursing.
There is no definitive legislation to cure our problems except for the staffing ratios in California and the actual ratios are still being debated with the hospital association in opposition to setting them to a realistic and nursing approved level.
There are still hospital out there cutting back on staffing in order to get the most bang for the buck and talking about lay offs. Lets just say the CEOs and others at the top want more profits to eventually go into their pockets.
So where do you think salaries will be in 2 years?
There is a large number of nurses who have already left or who plan on leaving in the immediate future.
There are many places already replacing existing nursing staff with paramedics, UAPs, and medical assistants. They say they can not find nurses, but we know from multiple surveys that there are enough experienced nurses available to fill the positions but refuse to work under the conditions and salaries being currently available. And still hospitals are continuing to cut staff while CEOs and other higher ups drive away from hospitals on a daily basis in their brand new luxury cars with mega salaries and bonuses.
To this day, nurses have not joined in any type of organized national protest against it. We do not have any type of National Organization with the leadership qualities needed to organize us in a protest or to unite nurses into actually taking control of our own profession.
The labor union movement has a lot to be desired in that it consists of not one movement but several smaller movements where the demands, and conditions, and salaries change from one institution to the next. There is no national consistency even among the same union.
We have nurses who say that money is not that important to them, but some want better benefits. They can not seem to understand that benefits boil down to money.
We have nurses who say "it could be worse" instead of "it must get better".
We have nurses who will not speak up and sit in the corner and take what ever is dished out to them.
We have nursing students who think that we are all burnt out and have forgotten what nursing is all about giving us advise on something they have not faced yet. Do not take this personally. The nursing school version and the reality are 2 different things. Even clinicals do not come close to having your own set of patients who you are ultimately responsible for. A charge nurse is not in charge of your patients if you are a RN. If they were then there would not be any issue of patient abandonment, because technically, you can not abandon someone you are not in ultimately responsible for.
We have nurses who have left the bedside so long ago that they do not have a clue or were never there in the first place dictating what we as bedside nurses should do, or coming up with off the wall proposals on ways to fix things. Many of these same nurses have written commentary after commentary suggesting that we as nurses have lost our focus as nurses.
We have a lot of nurse managers with no leadership capabilities who will not rally us as nurses to fight back. They will call people off who were accidentally scheduled even when we are fighting to keep our heads above water. These people should just take the nurse out of the title all together.
You will be able to get a job when you graduate. Now the chances are that the conditions, ratio, and pay will not be all that great compared to other professions who carry the same responsibility or accountability. If that does not matter and you are willing to work under those conditions then you will not have any problems finding a job at all.
The Cleveland Clinic has just added a new kicker to the pay issue that I am sure will spread through out the country. Someone very smart has figure out a way to lower nursing salary and I am sure it is the beginning of things to come.
People can use this to bust unions eventually if it is done in the right way.
Imagine going to another country and signing up 200 or more nursing students to come to the U.S. when they graduate to work for your hospital with the condition that you will pay for relocation and all other expenses. The requirement being that they agree to work for 3 or 4 years at a certain wage and also agree to sign a non-union participation contract. Then for good measure give them $5,000 to help them through school. In the contract have a clause that all expenses are subject to immediate repayment and visa sponsorship will be also revoked if the contract is broken. And to ensure that they pass boards and to expedite the process, they will provide tutoring and guide them through the process directly. When all these new employees arrive on the same day at a hospital what do you think will happen to the other employees? I bet when word got out that American Companies were offering this that enrollment in someone's nursing program would increase.
I truly believe this is what is to come and the groundwork is being set right now for it.
Someone very wise once said there is more than one way to skin a cat. Money and profits are very good motivators for coming up with alternative ways.
I did not mean to ramble on but you did ask a hard question to sum up a responce in fifty words of less. In fact, I could add on to this. But since I have probably all ready offended several people, I will stop now.
I just want to add one thing to this before I leave. As a group we are all looking to put the blame for our problems on management, administration, the government, JACHO, the insurance companies, etc... Yes they set the rules for us to follow, but in many ways it is our fault for agreeing to follow them. In so many ways we did this to ourselves and continue to allow it to happen. We need a national organization now more than ever before with the leadership and guts to organize nurses nationally both union and non-union alike to stand up and say no more. We also have to literally kick some of the people we work with in the behind and make them understand if they do not want to have our patient load on top of what they already have then they had better stand up along side of us and not run off and hidewhen confronted.
It is good to be back.