Ageism in Nursing: A Pervasive Problem - page 2

Mary stewart, age 62, has worked as a registered nurse on the postpartum unit for the past quarter century. She began her long career in nursing in 1972, with her graduation from a nursing diploma... Read More

  1. Visit  VICEDRN profile page
    3
    Quote from Esme12
    I have been a nurse for 34 years and I work holidays and nights and weekends. I know what the job requires and I expect it. I have had but a handful of Christmases off.......one was my 40th birthday, I was born on christmas. The other's? I work my share out of respect for my peers.......and yes even when my children were small.
    Preach it sister. I work my half of the holidays and so should we all if we work in a setting that's open for business on a holiday.

    Will say again: not safe for the patients for every ER nurse to be a new grad RN just because its Christmas, Memorial Day or whatever. Its gotta be a balance and we have to show people that we value them and want to keep them here regardless of their experience level.

    And yeah...VICEDRN is the mother of 3 so I get to miss holidays with my little ones!
    Last edit by VICEDRN on Jul 1, '12 : Reason: added thought
    lamazeteacher, Susie2310, and VickyRN like this.
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  3. Visit  wooh profile page
    2
    If only everyone would just do their job....
    marymary and VickyRN like this.
  4. Visit  HM-8404 profile page
    3
    I have two thoughts here.

    1. I find it funny the Federal Gov't makes age discrimination illegal but they practice it every day. Try becoming an Air Traffic Controller at 31 years old. You can't be hired if you are past your 30th birthday. Try joining the FBI if you are 40, even if you have 20 years experience as a police officer. There are many examples.

    2. Those that are interested in becoming a union nurse just remember in unions seniority is king. If you are on the bottom of the totem pole you will work nights, weekends, and holidays until you have enough seniority to hold a better shift.
    lamazeteacher, lindarn, and VickyRN like this.
  5. Visit  OldnurseRN profile page
    6
    I know first-hand about age discrimination. I lost my job for medical reasons and then no would hire me. The medical reason was resolved, not revealed, and the reason for termination was my position "was no longer available" after my medical leave was 12 days longer than allowed. Having applied at vitually ALL hospitals, large, small, critical accesses, clinics, nursing homes, etc. I now do travel nursing. I am given a position based on my qualifications. They don't see age and gray hair on the phone!
    If I, as a travel nurse and over 60 years old can learn new policies, procedures, and charting systems every 13 weeks it's fair to say I can learn new things, I can accept change, and still have something to bring to the table! By the way, I did collect unemployment for that termination but what I wanted was a job where I could go home to my family every day not every 3 months.
    lou12, GM2RN, lindarn, and 3 others like this.
  6. Visit  Susie2310 profile page
    3
    Quote from VictoriaGayle
    Ageism goes both ways.
    What you are refering to is not ageism.
    As far as ageism against younger workers, I have seen that. It's in any profession. People complain about having a boss or supervisor that is significantly younger than them all the time. Sometimes a younger person has more education and experience in their field than an older person that only recently entered the field.
    Why can what is written in the article not be construed as ageism? A highly trained, experienced, older nurse was written up for petty things and micromanaged, while the younger nurses she works with were not subjected to this treatment. The nurse was then suspended and fired. Surely it's not unreasonable to think ageism is happening. The nurse certainly appears to have been discriminated against.

    My personal thoughts are that probably the older, highly trained, experienced nurse's
    medical insurance, worker's comp insurance, and other benefits were costing her employer more than they were willing to pay. Unless I am mistaken, her employer would have to pay more for these things for an older nurse versus a younger nurse.

    It is very sad, in my opinion, that one's years of service, loyalty, clinical experience and expertise, often appear to mean next to nothing to an employer.

    The author did well to point out that age discrimination is prohibited, and that there are avenues of recourse. I think that if I was in the above situation, once I recognized I was being subjected to a discriminatory pattern of behavior from my employer, I would probably want to consult with a lawyer who specialized in these kind of situations. And I would do it early on, after the first few occurrences. I would also keep notes for myself of when I was written up, the circumstances, and the date and time, and anything else I felt was pertinent. Mary took no action in her defence that we know of.
    lamazeteacher, lindarn, and VickyRN like this.
  7. Visit  VickyRN profile page
    3
    Quote from Susie2310
    The author did well to point out that age discrimination is prohibited, and that there are avenues of recourse. I think that if I was in the above situation, once I recognized I was being subjected to a discriminatory pattern of behavior from my employer, I would probably want to consult with a lawyer who specialized in these kind of situations. And I would do it early on, after the first few occurrences. I would also keep notes for myself of when I was written up, the circumstances, and the date and time, and anything else I felt was pertinent. Mary took no action in her defence that we know of.
    Even though Mary is an entirely fictional character, she is the composite of many sad cases of ageism I have heard about or witnessed over the years. I suppose in Mary's case, that she was just too humiliated, heart-broken, and worn down to try to fight. Age discrimination can be very tough to prove, and perhaps Mary decided this was one battle she did not have the resources to fight. However, you bring up an interesting point and some sage advice for others, like Mary, who feel they are being singled out and targeted solely because of their age. What should Mary have done? What are her recourses in the tough situation she faced? This would make an interesting sequel to the article.
  8. Visit  Susie2310 profile page
    2
    Quote from VickyRN
    Even though Mary is an entirely fictional character, she is the composite of many sad cases of ageism I have heard about or witnessed over the years. I suppose in Mary's case, that she was just too humiliated, heart-broken, and worn down to try to fight. Age discrimination can be very tough to prove, and perhaps Mary decided this was one battle she did not have the resources to fight. However, you bring up an interesting point and some sage advice for others, like Mary, who feel they are being singled out and targeted solely because of their age. What should Mary have done? What are her recourses in the tough situation she faced? This would make an interesting sequel to the article.
    Vicky, I certainly know that your point about being too humiliated, heart broken and worn down, is true for many people, and that age discrimination can be hard to prove. I know too that Mary may not have had the resources for any legal action, let alone legal action that could be lengthy. But perhaps, if Mary was able to summon the strength and the will to fight, even a single consultation with a lawyer, just to explore what is possible, even to gain information on approaching the EEOC etc., even if she decides not to take legal action, would be beneficial. I can only say what I think I would do, and initially, it would be that first consultation.

    I would like to read a sequel to your article, where you explain more about Mary's recourses.

    Thank you for a very important choice of topic.
    VickyRN and lindarn like this.
  9. Visit  Esme12 profile page
    3
    "Mary" found herself jobless....unable to make bills. She cut into what was left of her retirement to keep her home. HS tried talking to many lawyers but pro bono was never an option. She just got tired of fighting, got used to her fate and tried to find work wherever she could. She filed all the reports with the "proper authorities" she continues to wait.

    Sad...... after a lifetime dedicated to a profession who just threw her away. Who would have thought?

    I know I didn't....
    Last edit by Esme12 on Jul 2, '12
    lamazeteacher, VickyRN, and kcmylorn like this.
  10. Visit  JZ_RN profile page
    0
    I was the RN, I should have been caring for the more difficult patients, dealing with IV's, etc. Not stuck caring for all the IV patients, doing all the wound care, AND stuck on the long-term floor with new admission with dementia and a million falls. I accept more responsibility and more work, but to have to deal with the difficult patients of every assignment and be given an assignment with 50 other patients, that's just ridiculous.


    I am not complaining about getting the worst assignments, but when I have to do half of the other nurse's assignment because she doesn't like the long-term floor and dementia patients, then do that assignment as well? No. No and no.

    I am not complaining about working holidays. We all have to work holidays. We have floating holidays. Why was I, the youngest one there, working EVERY single holiday? No one else had to work every single holiday.

    I don't condone discriminating against anyone because of age, young or old. Period. The facilities just need to set up fair systems with rotations, etc.


    I am NOT bashing older nurses. I am bashing a system in which if you are young or new, you're treated like complete garbage and abused.
  11. Visit  kcmylorn profile page
    2
    Esme- that nurse, Mary and your follow up, could be me also. And sadly enough- it happened at age 52, hardly nursing home material.
    lamazeteacher and VickyRN like this.
  12. Visit  HM-8404 profile page
    2
    Quote from JZ_RN
    I am not complaining about working holidays. We all have to work holidays. We have floating holidays. Why was I, the youngest one there, working EVERY single holiday? No one else had to work every single holiday.

    I don't condone discriminating against anyone because of age, young or old. Period. The facilities just need to set up fair systems with rotations, etc.


    I am NOT bashing older nurses. I am bashing a system in which if you are young or new, you're treated like complete garbage and abused.
    Welcome to working in an industry that operate 24/7. Being the last hired really sucks. You typically get stuck with the shifts the more senior people don't want, such as nights, weekends, and holidays. Do you think it is more fair for someone that has been there for 20 years to be forced to work Christmas when someone with less than a year is home with their family? Trust me, when you gain seniority you will think differently.
    VickyRN and Szasz_is_Right like this.
  13. Visit  wooh profile page
    2
    Quote from JZ_RN
    I am NOT bashing older nurses. I am bashing a system in which if you are young or new, you're treated like complete garbage and abused.
    You're not being "treated like complete garbage and abused" because you're young, it's because you're new. Which has nothing to do with ageism. It's seniority.
    VickyRN and HM-8404 like this.
  14. Visit  JZ_RN profile page
    0
    When I am given a double-patient load assignment compared to every other nurse in the building (As in, OVER 50 patients, ALONE) because the other nurses "don't like that assignment", and it's the only assignment in which I won't have to do IVs, wound care, and other RN only tasks (facility policy and BON policies) and I'm the only one qualified to do certain procedures on the 2nd assignment- it's abuse. When some of the other nurses there get every holiday off and I work every holiday, when company policy is ROTATING HOLIDAYS but the nurses who have been there longer complain to the scheduling manager, so they get their way, that's wrong. Sorry. Seniority doesn't mean you have to make work life miserable for the new person. Do I expect to get the best assignments? No, but I don't expect to not only get the worst assignments but also have to do a portion of other nurse's assignments as well. When the new person doesn't even have access to the supplies they need because the people who have been there longer lock them in their lockers so they have it for their next shift? I mean come on.
    Last edit by JZ_RN on Jul 2, '12 : Reason: clarification


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