WHERE HAVE ALL THE NURSES GONE?

  1. i AM THE PUBLISHER OF A MEDICAL NEWSPAPER REACHING 31,500 HEALTHCARE PROFESSIONALS IN KY. ONE OF THE TOPICS WE WISH TO DISCUSS IN OUR JULY ISSUE IS THE NURSING SHORTAGE. CAN ANYONE PROVIDE THOUGHTS AS TO WHY THERE IS A SHORTAGE, ARE NURSES LEAVING FOR OTHER JOBS AND WHY?
    wE'LL PUBLISH RESULTS IN OUR JULY ISSUE IF APPROPRIATE AND PROTECT YOUR PRIVACY - INITIALS ONLY.
    SANDY

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  2. 30 Comments

  3. by   justanurse
    Boy did you ask a loaded question! Here's my take on it. Is there a true nursing shortage? Yes, and no. Yes, because it seems there may be fewer people going into this career than there used to be. No, because there are plenty of nurses already out there, just fed up with working in the environment that they have had to. Are they going to other jobs? Yes, there are many, many different fields of nursing that some are branching out into. There has been a huge increase in the amount of home-based care, and out-patient care. Also, some of the nurses have just chosen to not work in the nursing field. Why? BECAUSE WE ARE SICK AND TIRED OF WORKING LIKE DOGS! No respect, bad staffing, poor administrations trying to work us to death with mandatory overtime, and not adequate compensation for the jobs that we do, to name a few.

    Just my view.

    Sign me:
    justanurse
    from a town near you
    no initials please, wouldn't want anyone to recognize me.
  4. by   bunky
    Justanurse gave you and honest answer but the one thing that she has left out is the fact that nursing is now also a scary business to be in. It's not even that there aren't enough of us, it's more that they want to cut costs and don't staff us with enough to work safely. We are working understaffed routinely, our areas of responsibility keep growing and growing, but still we must somehow complete all the work safely? It has become an unsafe balancing act dictated by money, not by concern for anyone's safety, and certainly not for our job satisfaction. We are considered an exploitable waste of money by many in management. Why not read some of the other posts on this bulletin board to get a real eye opener on why there'd be a shortage.
  5. by   Julie, RN
    Nursing Shortage?
    At one of the local hospital's they have a "you asked for it" nursing shortage.
    OK here is what I mean, the CEO gave all nurses a pay cut accross the boards to help pay for new construction. Since it was just the nursing staff that received the pay cut, morale went way down and I think about 80+ nurses quit. In a nutshell, all new grads were hired (this was good for me), they had to call in travel nurses (which costs the hospital alot more money), and they had to turn non-priority patients away sometimes (which made the community upset with the hospital).
    After about a year of all this going on, they gave the nurses a raise across the board.
    The local university noticed that admissions were down for the nursing program, so they started a part-time track for those potential recruits that can't go to school full time (b/c as we all know, nursing school can be very time demanding!).


    [This message has been edited by Julie,SN (edited June 03, 2000).]
  6. by   Mijourney
    Hi Sandy,
    I'll first refer you to all the posted topics and responses in this bullentin board as an answer to your question.

    Secondly, I feel that increased educational and political attainment of women in general has led to the increased desire for women to participate in less traditional roles. Women have always made up the majority of workers in nursing. However, I do feel that if the economy were to take a downturn, we would experience an increase in nursing school applications.
  7. by   colleenr
    I am an extinct RN, not due to shortage, but policy that I am fed up with. I was offered many med-surg positions, however declined. With patients lives "in danger" due to the cutbacks to save the almighty dollar, nurses are being sued daily. The patient cannot sue the HMO due to congressional games. I believe that patients are frustrated, and reasonably so, and that nurses do not want to have to live with the fact that a patient may have expired because they couldn't reach the patient in time due to short staffing. The individual nurse must live with not only that anxiety provoking thought, but would probably be sued, lose the license that they had worked hard to get, lose self-confidence, and most likely suffer from depression. It appears a no win situation in todays medical politics. Personally, I have returned to higher education to enter another field. There's actually not a nurse shortage, as the administrator's would like us to think, but there is danger that many of us choose not to participate in!!
    Frustrated in NY
  8. by   Marilou26RN
    Originally posted by sandy wensley:
    i AM THE PUBLISHER OF A MEDICAL NEWSPAPER REACHING 31,500 HEALTHCARE PROFESSIONALS IN KY. ONE OF THE TOPICS WE WISH TO DISCUSS IN OUR JULY ISSUE IS THE NURSING SHORTAGE. CAN ANYONE PROVIDE THOUGHTS AS TO WHY THERE IS A SHORTAGE, ARE NURSES LEAVING FOR OTHER JOBS AND WHY?
    wE'LL PUBLISH RESULTS IN OUR JULY ISSUE IF APPROPRIATE AND PROTECT YOUR PRIVACY - INITIALS ONLY.
    SANDY

    I agree w/ what everyone said. I've advised my daughters NOT to go into nursing becuz of
    what was stated. I love the majority of pts I took care of & still take care of but hospital politics, administration policies, lack of respect, understaffing, safety issues, lawsuits, etc. have made me disappointed w/ my career choice. I started late in life when I received my degree, & still have 2 kids to send to college. I can't concentrate on advancing or changing careers right now, but making more money to help support my family. This means getting another job.Yes, I'm married but the cost of college tuitions are constantly increasing as well as the cost of living. Hospital administrations keep getting their bonuses, while they cut our on-call wages, add more workload, & give us .45-.50cents/yr raise & this year an additional .25 raise becuz other area hospitals have been giving their RNs across the board raises. Wow, & to think a new graduate almost makes the same salary as me & I've been an RN w/ the same hosp. for 6 yrs!!!
  9. by   nanjam
    I think the shortage is partly due to the disillusionment many of us feel, in particular the increasingly higher demands of our profession coupled with the lack of respect and compensation we usually see. Our jobs are hard, the hours long, the work taxing physically, mentally and emotionally. The lack of recognition of who and what we are is wearing. The perpetual demands of management can be exhausting. Overall considering our level of maturity, 40's predominantly, many of us have also reached a reevaluation period of our worth and I know that in my case I was not willing to be treated unfairly in the workplace.
  10. by   Roach
    Well, let's see. I worked for the same hospital for 8 years(16.57/hr). I quit in January to work for an Agency (31.00/hr). Twice the money, less stress, practically no commitment,(only short term contracts) and I'm alot happier. But I had to give up health insurance, retirement benefits and guaranteed work. I can now pay my bills and I can work at the same hospital doing the same job as before only on contract making more money than my coworkers. Not fair to them at all. That same hospital just built a large medical building(for the Dr's offices), rebuilt many different floors, added carpet to the entire hospital and recovered the entire hospital walls in wallpaper. But....they then laid off 300 nurses and aids. They expect the left over staff to do the same amount of work w/half the staff. The big wigs don't get laid off or a cut in pay. Half of the rest of the staff quit because they can't handle the load. Now they are going to have to pay my agency for nurses like me who could have stayed at that hospital if they just would have raised my salary in the first place. I would have stayed for 22/hr but now they will pay an agency 60/hr for me. Sure, I am rolling in more dough but I would have stayed if they would open they're eyes and looked at the big picture. Now I know that this is all due to politics and bosses etc.. but it's hard for someone like me to accept, especially when you see your friends(coworkers) suffering and getting laid off. I also worry about the patients who have trusted that hospital for years. Now I won't even send my dog there for care.

    This is why so many nurses have left the profession. It is scary, dangerous and sad.

    RC, San Antonio Tx.
  11. by   goldilocksrn
    I must agree with everyone. We are not compensated enough for what we do. At least in construction work you get hazard pay. I went into nursing because it is what I love, but some days I go home thinking, "Is this really worth the headache? I could get a government job and help people and make more money!"(better hours too) Most importantly, nurses get burned out when they have no control over their practice and don't feel valued for their efforts.
    signed, goldilocks, RN
  12. by   oramar
    Originally posted by goldilocksrn:
    I must agree with everyone. We are not compensated enough for what we do. At least in construction work you get hazard pay. I went into nursing because it is what I love, but some days I go home thinking, "Is this really worth the headache? I could get a government job and help people and make more money!"(better hours too) Most importantly, nurses get burned out when they have no control over their practice and don't feel valued for their efforts.
    signed, goldilocks, RN
    I know a construction worker very well. This person has been in his respective union for 25 years and has half a million dollars in his retirment fund and at 62 will qualify for about $2000 a month from his pension fund. Not to mention the fact that his base pay is $27 a hour. I see the disparity between the way he is compensated and the way a nurse is compensated as primarily being due to sexism and secondarily being due to the difference between being unionized and not being unionized.

    [This message has been edited by oramar (edited September 11, 2000).]
  13. by   nursedude
    Well,

    A reporter... I hope Sandy that somehow you can report to the 31,500 healthcare professionals in KY. just "what ails them". (Please pardon the sarcasm).

    Perhaps Sandy, you can explain to your subscribers that maybe the nursing shortage has to do with the lame salaries that nurses earn. Maybe it's due to the fact that nurses who actually have medical benefits have plans that are worse than the medical plans that their patients have. Gee wiz, how is it that the people (nurses) who are the largest part of manpower in healthcare somehow get medical benefits that stink?

    (Again, please pardon the sarcasm Sandy.) Sandy, Are you a nurse? Have you ever worked in a hospital? Have you ever been thrown up on or maybe spit on or been at risk of acquiring A.I.D.S.(or hepatitis, Tuberculosis or the flu) because of the risks of your job? Have you ever held a strangers hand while the died? Have you ever delivered a baby that you were afraid to touch without gloves because of worrying about infection? Have you ever wiped someones butt? Have you ever performed C.P.R. on a dead or dying eight year old or have you ever told someones husband or wife that their spouse just died? Have you ever pumped the stomach of someone who overdosed on pills and listened to them MF you and threaten you and your family while you did it? Have you ever been punched by a drunk driver while drawing his blood for the police? Have you ever been chewed out by a doctor for no reason?

    So Sandy, my point is: What is it(the nursing profession) worth to you? What is it worth to the citizens of the US? What is it worth to the CEOs and CFOs of large managed care companies and hospitals? What is the profession worth to the parents of that dying 8 year old I mentioned above? EXACTLY what is it worth? How much would you want to be paid? Sandy, isn't it strange that we keep hearing about nursing shortages? Why don't we hear about doctor shortages? Or actuary shortages or bus driver shortages or airplane mechanic shortages?

    Sandy, the bottom line of why there is/are nursing shortages around the US is "The Bottom Line". Nurses are not compensated enough. Pay nurses $50.00/hr and I doubt you would have an article to write. Again Sandy, What is the nursing profession worth? Answer that question and you'll have the answer to your question...

    JCI toungetwist@hotmail.com
  14. by   Joe
    My position is good compaird to most nurses- I make 20 dollars an hr after 2 years. Still I am amazed anyone goes into nurisng now. You can make more money at other jobs with better hours, better benifits,better working conditions and less stress-and this is with no specific trianing and no experience! You can't even say it is to help people because you constantly feel that you are harming the paitent with the poor staffing ratio's we put up with.
    Further you can't reasonably expect any big changes, because Nurses don't work together to make changes. I really wish I knew why that was true.

    on the staffing side I do know most RNs are blissfuly unaware of the true economics and business dynamics of the situation- staff nursing is not nearly as big a cost as most nurses think (do the math).

    Joe

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