I went back to a Med-Surg floor after a long time, I had previously worked on a med-surg unit once years ago and dont remember it being this bad. There are no unions in this part of the country and I would like to hear from some union nurses to see if things are better. I work night **** 7p-7a and we have usually 6 nurses at night and take 6 and rarely 7 pts. each. Except for newer nurses, RN's take turns being charge nurse and do added chores such as staffing and paperwork and still take 6 pts. We are regularly slammed from the ER with admissions, some coming up before we even get report on new patients and got 9 admissions the other night and no one got any breaks or lunch because they were to busy, every left about 10am next morning. The nurses dont really help each other out because they are all to busy. We do not have a ward clerk to answer phones and put in orders except one who may stay until 11pm or the house clerk who is pulled to all floors to put in orders and leaves at 5am. Nurses are pulled to every floor in the hospital except ER and ICU, labor laws state you are to have breaks and lunch, no one seems to care. For all our trouble this system pays new RN's 18.00-19.00hr, nurses with experience 23.00-24.00 hr. and 3.45 night premium (which is only reason I work nights). We have many new grads in ER and ICU. There are only 2 hospital systems here and they are both about the same, what is it like working for union hospitals? Why are nurses worked like dogs now and paid so little? I have done home heath, OR, geriatrics, med-surg and OR was the best, every place else worked you like dogs, I would like to go to Calif., any info on unions would be helpful.