Here's my input. I'm an RN of 2.5 years on med/tele. I think the shortage is due to #1)inadequate staffing. First of all, the biggest problem seems to be that patient acuity (the needs required or severity of patient illness) is never taken into account when # nurses are scheduled to care for patients. If a patient is acutely ill, and needs a nurse every 15 minutes to monitor and treat them, that is RARELY taken into account. Many hospitals only provide a certain number of nurses for a certain number of patients. It's all fine if the patients are not acutely ill, or need care from the RN no more than once/hour. However, they NEVER take this into account! They give the RN a set # of patients. What if patient #1 has chest pain and his blood pressure is dropping? What if patient #2 can't get up out of bed to use the bathroom without 3 people to help?What is patient # 3 is confused & yelling out for help, and trying to climb out of bed every 5 minutes? There is only one RN for X number of patients. But they staff by # patients per nurse, not by how sick and how much help the patients need.
I can't tell you how many times I have worked without a single break from 7am to 4 pm to even urinate or drink a sip of water! Why????!!!Because staffing is inadequate. We fill out forms about "acuity" (the amount of nursing care a patient needs) but it doesn't influence staffing one iota.I am sick of filling out these bogus acuity forms!!!! I am paid a fair wage (not ALL NURSES ARE), but when you consider that I am responsible for people's lives, and that I don't even get a 15 minute break in my 9 hour day, then you begin to wonder... why did I get into this profession anyway!?
Yesterday I had a cup Of coffee at 6 am, before work. I worked 7 am- 4:30 pm, without a single break. I didn't get to use the bathroom, eat a bite of food or drink a sip of water. I told my supervisor I needed help, and she was pitching in to help me. I am 30 years old. I love what I do. I enjoy the challenge. I think it's important & satisfying. But often I feel angry & unappreciated. I constantly consider, "Hmmm, what else can I do? What other careers interest me?" All I want is a 30 min. break to eat lunch and maybe time to pee if I need to. Is that too much to ask!!!??Why can't I get that? Why can't I get enough help? That is why there is a nursing shortage! My work calls me 4x/ week to see if I can "come in" to work all other shifts. They even call me up in the middle of the night (no matter if I work the next day) and ask if I can work extra. I am tired & grumpy. I already gave 200% yesterday & today!!!! That's why we have a shortage! Thanks for letting me vent & thank you for caring enough to write a paper on this important subject.