Where have all the experienced nurses gone? - page 2

On my floor, all the staff nurses have 5 yrs or less experience and are all about in the their late 20's. Has anyone else noticed this trend? Where do the med/surg nurses go after 5 yrs?... Read More

  1. by   RN34TX
    I never say never, but.....I'd have to be on the edge of being homeless before I'd EVER go back to doing Med/Surg.
    Thank God I got my RN and got out, because at the end of my LPN/LVN career, I was fed up with Med/Surg and would have left nursing all together if I had no other options.

    I was screamed at by family members one too many times over the wrong flavor of juice on mother's food tray.

    I truely enjoyed Med/Surg for a few years and was totally content to stay there. I would have stayed and become an experienced, seasoned, Med/Surg nurse but administration drove me and others like me away with their catering to abusive and unreasonable family members every request.

    I also got tired of taking care of an entire group of patients (up to 8 at times) with no help because of yet another CNA/PCT who disappears off the floor for long periods of time on smoke breaks with the unit clerk and a charge nurse and manager who do nothing about it because the CNA/PCT and unit clerk have "worked here for years" and are afraid to discipline their non-licensed staff.

    BTW, that characterization was not at one particular hospital, that was my experience on EVERY med/surg unit I worked on in 4 different states.
    Not every PCT/CNA or clerk on every floor is bad, nor every family member is abusive, so please refrain from the "don't generalize" speeches.
    Yes, I've worked with some excellent PCT/CNA's who really cared about providing good care and being a team player, but they've been the more of the exception and not the rule in my experience.
    PCT/CNA's can have such an incredible impact on patient outcomes and so many do not realize their worth. It's also unfortunate that hospital pay also reflects this lack of recognition of CNA/PCT worth.

    I suspect that many of the good PCT/CNA's are often driven out as well as nurses like me. I've seen the nurses grow to depend on and lean on the good ones because the bad ones are either nowhere to be found or cop an attitude whenever you ask them to do something, so the good ones end up answering call lights and toileting patients, etc. that they aren't even assigned to and get over-burdoned as a reward for being a great PCT/CNA.
    It's no wonder that the good ones always seemed to leave.

    Even in the midst of troubling family members, if I had the support and help from the majority of CNA/PCT's that I worked with in Med/Surg, I could have stayed in that area. But the combination of the two over the years literally drove me out of floor nursing.

    But that's why I no longer work Med/Surg and almost every colleague I have today that worked Med/Surg at one time, left it for the same reasons.
    Last edit by RN34TX on Dec 30, '05
  2. by   Thunderwolf
    Well, RN34TX, I would have sent a response to you via PM...BUT your PM BOX is FULL. Please empty it.


    RN34TX, I feel your pain. I currently work Ortho-Neuro Med Surg. You went a little thick on the PCA/CNA thing, though. I empathize with you. Seen it myself. However, you will get flamed if your post stays the way it is. I would like to try to prevent that a little if I can. Small request here...could you edit it a bit. I'm glad you did not generalize it to all of them. Whew! But, as it stands, you set yourself up for an attack. Acknowledging your frustration with having experiences of lacking pca/cna and secretary support and folks taking frequent smoking breaks could be worded a little better. It does make a nurse's work unnecessarily more difficult. I would emphasize that! I hear you. I really do. But, let's not invite the attack that you might get. The post currently sounds a little prickly.

    Thanks for your understanding.


    Thunderwolf/Wolfie
  3. by   kadokin
    Quote from RN34TX
    I never say never, but.....I'd have to be on the edge of being homeless before I'd EVER go back to doing Med/Surg.
    Thank God I got my RN and got out, because at the end of my LPN/LVN career, I was fed up with Med/Surg and would have left nursing all together if I had no other options.

    I was screamed at by family members one too many times over the wrong flavor of juice on mother's food tray.

    I truely enjoyed Med/Surg for a few years and was totally content to stay there. I would have stayed and become an experienced, seasoned, Med/Surg nurse but administration drove me and others like me away with their catering to abusive and unreasonable family members every request.

    I also got tired of taking care of an entire group of patients (up to 8 at times) with no help because of yet another CNA/PCT who disappears off the floor for long periods of time on smoke breaks with the unit clerk and a charge nurse and manager who do nothing about it because the CNA/PCT and unit clerk have "worked here for years" and are afraid to discipline their non-licensed staff.

    BTW, that characterization was not at one particular hospital, that was my experience on EVERY med/surg unit I worked on in 4 different states.
    Not every PCT/CNA or clerk on every floor is bad, nor every family member is abusive, so please refrain from the "don't generalize" speeches.
    Yes, I've worked with some excellent PCT/CNA's who really cared about providing good care and being a team player, but they've been the more of the exception and not the rule in my experience.
    PCT/CNA's can have such an incredible impact on patient outcomes and so many do not realize their worth. It's also unfortunate that hospital pay also reflects this lack of recognition of CNA/PCT worth.

    I suspect that many of the good PCT/CNA's are often driven out as well as nurses like me. I've seen the nurses grow to depend on and lean on the good ones because the bad ones are either nowhere to be found or cop an attitude whenever you ask them to do something, so the good ones end up answering call lights and toileting patients, etc. that they aren't even assigned to and get over-burdoned as a reward for being a great PCT/CNA.
    It's no wonder that the good ones always seemed to leave.

    Even in the midst of troubling family members, if I had the support and help from the majority of CNA/PCT's that I worked with in Med/Surg, I could have stayed in that area. But the combination of the two over the years literally drove me out of floor nursing.

    But that's why I no longer work Med/Surg and almost every colleague I have today that worked Med/Surg at one time, left it for the same reasons.
    So funny b/c it's so true and yet, so sad
    Last edit by Thunderwolf on Dec 31, '05 : Reason: quote fixed to reflect member self edit
  4. by   RN34TX
    Thunderwolf,
    Did I remove enough offensive thorns in my post?
    I've kept some of the comments firm because as someone who's worked in plenty of different hospital med/surg floors in different parts of the U.S., I feel confident that I'm qualified to make the statement that good quality PCT/CNA's are by far the minority on most units and the fact that no one does anything about them is a big part of the problem with floor nursing.

    I added the part about draining the good PCT's because that's what's happening to my partner, who coincidentally, is a PCT on a Med/Surg unit.
    I ran my new post by him and he didn't see any offensive or unfair statements about PCT/CNA's in it. He thought it was an accurate picture.

    Sorry, but someone already quoted me before I could fix and soften my post. I tried.
    Last edit by RN34TX on Dec 30, '05
  5. by   General E. Speaking, RN
    Quote from MHarrah
    On my floor, all the staff nurses have 5 yrs or less experience and are all about in the their late 20's. Has anyone else noticed this trend? Where do the med/surg nurses go after 5 yrs?
    they are too tired to get out of bed. I've worked in med-surg off and on for 16 years. I am posting from my bed as we speak...
    Last edit by General E. Speaking, RN on Dec 30, '05
  6. by   CseMgr1
    To hell in a handbasket, that's where! I am now unemployed after working for the last 36 years of my life. The dominoes began falling after I was forced to quit a good paying job with an HMO because I could no longer tolerate the physical or emotional strain of an impossible workload and 15 hours of commuting time per week. I have held three temporary positions since last June, the first of which only lasted a month, after I was overheard venting to a coworker by the wrong person, the second was for four months, because the facility couldn't "afford" to keep me on full-time...and last, but not least, my brand-new job which began this past Tuesday only lasted one day....after the Manager complained that I had "problems with the computer", not even giving me a chance to prove that I could do this job, which I was more than qualified for!

    I have sent out resumes and applications to at least ten potential employers this week, with no response. In the meantime, unpaid bills are piling up...and I just discovered that my five-year-old car is leaking oil. What am I going to do, if it breaks down on me? How am I going to even interview for a job, then, if I do get a response?

    While I will admit that I deserved to get canned for shooting my mouth off, I don't deserve what I am going through now. I am not eligible for disability or unemployment (I'd get laughed off the face of the earth, for even trying), so what do I do next? This is the thanks I get, for a lifetime of work...DOWN the drain!

    I am on the verge of a full-blown panic attack, and I know it. Am going to go and lie down for a while and try and pull myself together, for this is not helping me at all. Thanks for listening.
    Last edit by CseMgr1 on Dec 30, '05
  7. by   kharma09
    "Small request here...could you edit it a bit. I'm glad you did not generalize it to all of them. Whew! But, as it stands, you set yourself up for an attack. Acknowledging your frustration with having experiences of lacking pca/cna and secretary support and folks taking frequent smoking breaks could be worded a little better."

    Thunderwolf, I feel a need to respectfully disagree with you regarding your response to RN34TX. This nurse seemed frustrated, as we all get at times, and I do not think that encouraging that person to censor themselves is particularly therapeutic nor respectful of their personal experience. Nearly any statement a person makes may be misinterpreted or considered outright inflammatory (by some) but as long as reasonable measures are taken not to demean a particular person, abuse or foul language utilized, then what's the problem? One of the best things about this forum is the ability to vent and share experiences/feelings. Sure, I do not agree with some people. Sure, I feel that some even appear hateful - and those are the ones which I skip over. Still, I respect that sometimes it's only human just to want to be 'heard'. Which is more important, being politically correct or being honest regarding ourselves? Minimizing (or sweeping under the rug) one's personal experiences or feelings only hurts us all in the long run as problems are then less easily identified or addressed. Just my opinion. Thanks for letting ME vent.
  8. by   Thunderwolf
    I support folks in venting...I have too. No problem with that. However, we do need to be mindful that other health care folks, such as PCAs/PCTs/MAs/CNAs, are members here TOO. What would you say if the shoe was on the other foot....with a CNA name calling RNs/LPNs? Would that thread survive the onslought and would it have to be closed down by a mod as a result? I wish no threads to be closed. I needed to intervene to prevent a bad situation...it's my job. The other thing about venting is that I have also read that members can also regret later what they post after the rant. I always recommend to members if you can't post it as if the person was right next to you face to face, you may need to rethink how you post it. I gave a member a chance to rethink it...I didn't censor. Censor would have been my jumping right in and editing it myself or removing it totally from the board...which of course, I didn't do as you see (I only reserve that for very bad language, editing out personal identifying info to protect member anonymity, and troll porn..which I am sure you are very grateful for). So, kharma09, I hope you understand. And for additional info, members are not to criticize mods on the board...against TOS. You might want to review it.

    And yes, RN34TX, thanks for reviewing and self editing your post. Your message is unchanged, but it is more respectful. Again, I share your pain. Been there and seen it as a nurse for 20 years.


    And Csemgr1, I hope things improve for you and you get back up on your feet again. Wish you the best. (((((((((HUGS)))))))


    Thanks everyone,

    Thunderwolf
  9. by   Thunderwolf
    Sorry, but someone already quoted me before I could fix and soften my post. I tried.
    RN34TX....I fixed it to reflect your self edit.


    All in a days (er, nights) work.
  10. by   ICURN_NC
    I've experienced the same thing in the ICU... some nurses w/ over 15 years, a couple between 5-15 yrs, and the rest all under 5. We have a really good group in our unit- I think alot of nurses worked their time here to further their education and/or careers- they go into CRNA school or into some of our research areas. (Like, you know, "you need 1-3 yrs ICU/ED experience to pursue x,y, or z.")

    I don't know if this means either A) more people begin bedside nursing with plans laid out to go into other areas &/or get advanced degrees or B) people begin bedside nursing and get so overwhelmed/tired/physically hurt/etc, that they find other areas of nursing to go into!

    I've been a nurse <1 yr, and I'm relatively young, but even I feel run down alot and I don't know how long I can do bedside nursing.
  11. by   Marie_LPN, RN
    What would you say if the shoe was on the other foot....with a CNA name calling RNs/LPNs?
    That shoe has been on the other foot quite a bit here, to the point of that foot getting blisters.
  12. by   kharma09
    Me: "Thunderwolf, I feel a need to respectfully disagree with you regarding your response to RN34TX."

    You: "And for additional info, members are not to criticize mods on the board...against TOS."

    Thunderwolf, I did not realize you'd interpret disagreeing with your opinion as a personal critique of yourself. My intention was to be supportive of my peers. Do you feel it is unethical to occassionally question the 'establishment' or how we view our environment? Is this not exactly how healthcare issues are frequently addressed ineffectively, if at all? I did not intend any personal attack toward you, simply a review of where RN34TX may have been valid (in my own opinion). Likewise, MANY aides vent at this sight (and on the floors). Yes, i'd have no problem repeating any of this to any healthcare members face to face. I do not know what TOS stands for.

    Although I cannot agree with your opinion I do wish to thank you for your time & efforts regarding board monitoring. It must be quite time consuming. Thank you for 'hearing' me.
  13. by   RN34TX
    Quote from Thunderwolf
    I needed to intervene to prevent a bad situation...it's my job. The other thing about venting is that I have also read that members can also regret later what they post after the rant. I always recommend to members if you can't post it as if the person was right next to you face to face, you may need to rethink how you post it. I gave a member a chance to rethink it...I didn't censor.
    First off, I didn't "rethink" anything. I softened the post exclusively at your request. I wouldn't regret my post later, nor would this be anything different than what I could say face to face.

    Let me say that I think that people here should be able to post whatever they want (short of profanity, name-calling, sexual remarks, etc.) free from feeling threatened by moderators of being banned from the forum or other punitive measures.

    People are going to disagree, and this is both normal and healthy. Even though some comments are offensive at times,I have learned a lot from others here who have different and often conflicting opinions from mine.

    I'd be a lot more comfortable with being more soft and P.C. in my posts if I felt that the warnings and thread shut-downs were dealt out equally.

    I read posts every day from a select few who repeatedly preach about the need to eliminate certain groups of nurses from the profession altogether, such as LPN's, or any non-BSN's for that matter.
    If that isn't considered to be inflammatory or offensive to many in nursing, then I really don't know what is.
    I read, participate in, and even enjoy the viewpoints of those different from mine. Their comments, those offensive to many, should not be stifled or censored. We all learn from each other.

    Interestingly enough, however, whenever one of these posters writes yet another "let's get rid of LPN's, ADN's, or whatever in order to save our dreadful profession" type of post, I have yet to see any warnings or thread shut downs directed at them.

    It only seems to happen if someone objects to their "elimination" views and writes about it, rather than warning the original poster about their original offensive comments.
    Only then is there some "cooling off" period because someone dared to challenge their viewpoint.

    I was only trying to illustrate why experienced nurses such as myself don't stay in med/surg.

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