Where have all the experienced nurses gone? - page 4

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
    Quote from Marylou1102
    btw, it isn't just the cnas that leave the floor for extended breaks, I have seen plenty of nurses do it too. It isn't the category of people, it 's the quality.
    That is so true and I will acknowledge that.
    Plenty of times I've been bombarded with patient call lights and family questions and concerns, only to find out that I'm the only licensed nurse on the entire floor at the time.
    Sometimes the only warm body employee on the floor period.

    I guess I expect more from the CNA's (and shouldn't) because in the case of the CNA/PCT assigned to my patients, it reflects on me when things aren't getting done.

    If other RN's and LPN's are slacking off, then I shouldn't expect any more quality work from the PCT/CNA assigned to my patients because we are supposed to be setting a good example.

    If the nurses themselves aren't up to par, then I guess we need to start there first, rather than having high expectations of CNA/PCT's that are either the same as, or perhaps even well beyond the performance levels of the nurses that they work with every day.
  2. by   kadokin
    Quote from RN34TX
    That is so true and I will acknowledge that.
    Plenty of times I've been bombarded with patient call lights and family questions and concerns, only to find out that I'm the only licensed nurse on the entire floor at the time.
    Sometimes the only warm body employee on the floor period.

    I guess I expect more from the CNA's (and shouldn't) because in the case of the CNA/PCT assigned to my patients, it reflects on me when things aren't getting done.

    If other RN's and LPN's are slacking off, then I shouldn't expect any more quality work from the PCT/CNA assigned to my patients because we are supposed to be setting a good example.

    If the nurses themselves aren't up to par, then I guess we need to start there first, rather than having high expectations of CNA/PCT's that are either the same as, or perhaps even well beyond the performance levels of the nurses that they work with every day.
    YES! EXACTLY!
  3. by   kadokin
    Quote from Aidy
    God you lot have put the fear into me as I start my medical placement in a few days. I'm male, not that that should matter but I actually joined nursing as I enjoy the caring profession plus I thought it would be a doss, being womans work and all. How wrong I was, six weeks placement on the surgical ward felt like an eternity. I was coming home from work and going straight back to bed. Life was hell and I was so glad to go back to university. I shall never take up a position on a surgical ward!

    25 male Ireland
    Ignorant, here. What is a "doss"? Oh, and btw, most work traditionally considered a woman's domain DOES tend to be exhausting, never-ending and thankless. So you were right about that.
    (couldn't resist)
  4. by   VivaLasViejas
    My feeling is, everyone who cares for patients is responsible for his or her own practice........that includes LPNs and CNAs as well. While we RNs do supervise them after a fashion, it's the state board of nursing that holds them to the standards of their licensure or certification---we are NOT responsible for their behavior or work ethic (or lack thereof). Furthermore, the employing facility has a responsibility to ensure they possess the knowledge and training to do the work correctly........ALSO not our job as RNs.

    What we are responsible for is delegating properly and following through to make sure that things are done. We can't just yell to the aide, "Grab a set of vitals for me in 223, will ya?" and not check up on it. But we also can't assume responsibility for all members of the team, nor should we let someone else's poor work ethic reflect on us---that's the facility's job. I know it's frustrating to work with ANYONE who sits around while everyone else is running, takes extra breaks, doesn't do what they say they're going to do and so on; however, bad work habits aren't unique to any one category of healthcare providers.....there are good and bad on ALL rungs of the ladder.

    Just my $.02 worth.
  5. by   Thunderwolf
    Quote from mjlrn97
    My feeling is, everyone who cares for patients is responsible for his or her own practice........that includes LPNs and CNAs as well. While we RNs do supervise them after a fashion, it's the state board of nursing that holds them to the standards of their licensure or certification---we are NOT responsible for their behavior or work ethic (or lack thereof). Furthermore, the employing facility has a responsibility to ensure they possess the knowledge and training to do the work correctly........ALSO not our job as RNs.

    What we are responsible for is delegating properly and following through to make sure that things are done. We can't just yell to the aide, "Grab a set of vitals for me in 223, will ya?" and not check up on it. But we also can't assume responsibility for all members of the team, nor should we let someone else's poor work ethic reflect on us---that's the facility's job. I know it's frustrating to work with ANYONE who sits around while everyone else is running, takes extra breaks, doesn't do what they say they're going to do and so on; however, bad work habits aren't unique to any one category of healthcare providers.....there are good and bad on ALL rungs of the ladder.

    Just my $.02 worth.

    I echo this.
  6. by   RN34TX
    Quote from mjlrn97
    I know it's frustrating to work with ANYONE who sits around while everyone else is running, takes extra breaks, doesn't do what they say they're going to do and so on; however, bad work habits aren't unique to any one category of healthcare providers.....there are good and bad on ALL rungs of the ladder.

    Just my $.02 worth.
    I think we all agree on good and bad workers existing on all "rungs of the ladder."
    The OP was asking "where have all of the experienced nurses gone" and I answered it, as a former med/surg nurse who plans to never go back to it, mostly because of bad CNA's, not because of bad nurses.

    That doesn't mean that I don't think that bad nurses exist, I'd be a fool to not have seen plenty of that in my time, but I thought that the topic was about why us experienced nurses left med/surg, not an all inclusive summary of which category or title has the worst workers.

    As a floor nurse, a bad or disappearing fellow RN or LPN has caused me to have to take care of their patients more than I should have to, no doubt.
    But a bad and/or disappearing CNA/PCT that shares my patients can be downright crippling and affects my ability to provide good care to my patients to a much higher extent than a fellow RN/LPN who has their own group of patients.

    I don't have to rely on a CNA/PCT for help in ICU or PACU the way that I did as a med/surg nurse. There are bad/lazy nurses here too, but my patients are still well taken care of, regardless of who my co-workers are on a given day.

    As a floor nurse with a large patient assignment, you need a good CNA/PCT because you can't take care of that many patients by yourself. If you don't get a good one, you are doomed from the beginning.
    Too often, I didn't get a good one, so I left med/surg floor nursing altogether.

    And that IS the topic at hand here.
    Last edit by RN34TX on Jan 2, '06
  7. by   Aidy
    A doss means very easy.

    Ps you missed out poorly paid )
  8. by   starfrek1
    I totally agree, I was offerred a job at a smaller hospital and they were not willing to bargain, eventhough I had more experience that most who were applying. They are a level 2 now and plan to go to a leve 3 soon, scary when there are new grads ( who have NO NICU experience) and some mother baby nurses ( who are oriented in the NICU). Not sure I would have my infant in there. But my other job, yes is mostly people in their early to late 20's. I am on the brink of 30, so do I still count??
  9. by   pvjerrys
    Being on a med/surg unit is hard labor, physically exhausting, emotionally draining, back breaking work. The RNs, LVNs, CNAs, & WCTs I worked with were great.
    I lasted about 5 years as a staff nurse & moved on to administration. I hated being in an administrative position more than bedside nursing. The politics in that position is worse than working at the bedside. The physical labor was easier but the mental labor was awful!
  10. by   kadokin
    Quote from Aidy
    A doss means very easy.

    Ps you missed out poorly paid )
    Oh yeah, I forgot, that too.
  11. by   ana tomy
    I am new to posting..but I am a med-surg nurse for 9 yrs. This topic is so relevant(even in Canada). The unit i work on is physically/mentally draining everyday.As an RN on this unit you are responsible for your LPN's pts as well as your own. If the pt is unstable,you must take over their pt. We ALL do basic pt care(wiping bums,colostomy care,pericare,etc).Our unit manager also is of the mind set "Out with the OLD and in with the NEW". The experience level is dropping drastically..and it's noticeable. I hope it doesn't come to something drastic for a pt. I try to stay out of the politics at work(try)..it's my only savior.
  12. by   SharonH, RN
    This experienced med-surg(15 years) nurse left the floor for good almost 3 years because it is physically and emotionally exhausting. I was perpetually frustrated because I wanted to provide a certain level of care to my patients that due to poor staffing and poorly designed systems I was not able to provide. I was sick to my stomach at the changes implemented with the "customer-service" mentality which promoted a different style of nursing that I refused to engage in: namely style over substance. I felt quite demoralized and insulted by the suggestion of the use of scripts, the mandate to treat physicians as "customers"(translation: kiss their butts), and the emphasis on service recovery.


    I worked per diem as it was and I kept cutting my hours as I found myself unable to "recover" from my shifts either physically or emotionally. In the past, cutting back on my hours had done the trick but not anymore.


    I have been following Marla's saga and really, she described my feelings about working on the floor to a tee. To be honest, I feel quite bitter about it sometimes as well as relieved.

    I loved med-surg patients and I loved providing the care but I hated the job. Barring a financial catastrophe, I will never return to that type of work again. Please God, never again.
  13. by   VivaLasViejas
    You too, huh Sharon?

    Yanno, I had to go back to my 'old' workplace tonight because my dh was admitted for observation (long story, different thread), and it seemed that everyone was telling me I looked like a new person! This, only two weeks after I quit.........and I DO feel 110% better, both physically and mentally. It doesn't hurt that I've got a job interview Friday at another hospital in the same system (the job is in discharge planning, which is what I've been wanting to do for a couple of years) and it looks good so far. But the truth is, I don't ache all over like I used to, feel used-up like I used to, have a defeatist attitude like I used to, or even WALK like I used to........my old boss even told me I stand up straighter than she's ever seen me do before.

    Go figure........Even though there is stress in my life of another sort (not knowing where your next house payment's coming from and seeing your husband admitted to the hospital with chest pain tends to cause some distress), I'm handling it. I couldn't have said this two weeks ago, but now I have every confidence that I won't be unemployed for very long. As much as I hated to do it, I knew it was the right decision the instant I gave my two weeks' notice. It was like having the weight of the world lifted off my shoulders.......literally.

    Like Sharon, I say "Please God, don't ever make me work med/surg again". I need to be able to make a living, but I also need a LIFE. And when you're tired and hurting and grumpy all the time, that's not a life......it's barely even an existence.

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