Ageism in Nursing: A Pervasive Problem - page 2
by VickyRN 15,013 Views | 50 Comments Senior Moderator
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 program. Mary is capable,... Read More
- 2Jul 1, '12 by kcmylornJZ_RN
I hope you feel some what better for venting
You are the RN- you ARE the one with the greater work load and greater responsibility! That is what the RN licensure is.
I am not by a long shot, sticking up for LPN's who refuse, manipulate, fanaggle their way out of their "delegation" tasks( to delegate to an LPN is certainly in an RN licensure scope of practice) if they refused- and as long as the task was in THEIR scope of practice for their LPN license- that's insubordination no matter what their age or seniority level. They should have been written up for that.
After 32 years in nursing- I still get tested and pushed by the LPN's, and MA's and receptionists. I did have such an insident this week with an LPN who is younger than I but more years in the facility than I, the medical director(MD) and I solved this issue and inspite of the medical directors involvement in the problem and the solution - the LPN still managed to not get the patient seen. I made the medical director aware of it.- that LPN not only defied me but also the medical director( Doctors get defied also)My role in this facility is a new role to this facility, a role that has always according to the Nursing Practice Act required an RN license( because of the extensive decision making process and critical thinking that it involves- Triage); however: for years in the past, this role has been given to the LPN's but wrongfully so. Now this LPN feels 'threatened' because now she can not act like a honorary "RN" without a license. Why she would want to jeapordize her LPN license like that is beyond me which is just what she did. I certainly am not going to stick up for her in court and I doubt the MD will either. And it's quite possible this could be a senario. believe me, this LPN was not nice about this- so I could call her a crusty, mean younger, little b.... nurse.
In LTC- the LPN's ran these places, RN's were supervisors and upper managment. I surmise that the facility has made decsions as to a change in the licensure levels due to law suits, med errors, family complaints and falls to increase their RN workforce. This is not setting to well with alot of LPN's. Any RN in a LTC faility is going to be a threat to the usual flow of business because it( highering cheaper licenses and putting them in positions they were never supposed to be in to begin with) has gone on for so long.
there is no RN position that I know of where the RN sits at the desk, talking on the cell, texting or painting their fingernails while the LPN's, MA, CNA do all the work
As far as it being a game- to some coworkers, it sure is. it's a power game, they feel threatened, they have home problems, If you stay if nursing your going to have to relize it exists, count in it. Write up those who you know are pulling one over on you and continue on with your work assigment. it's more about their bizzare personality than young, old, experienced, inexperienced even RN vs LPN or MA or CNA. It an individual thing. They are the people who shouldn't be ther to begin with!!! As long as you run away from your job, let them win, throw tantrums- they will keep it up remeber- they should be in the unemployment line- not you. The patient's don't need their behavior.
- 4Jul 1, '12 by OCNRN63Quote from vickyrnwow...first post out of the gate bashes older nurses. how ironic.sorry to hear about your frustrations. but it is expected protocol in any career situation (whether the dime store or the medical-surgical unit at the hospital) that the senior employees have their pick of shifts, holidays off, etc. they have earned that right through their years of loyal service on the job. to expect anything else is a sense of entitlement. and there you go with another ageist stereotype (one i forgot to mention in the article) - older nurses are crusty old bats who are cruel and mean. some older nurses may well be crusty and mean, but i have met my share of younger nurses who are passive-aggressive and vicious. most nurses i have had the pleasure of knowing throughout my career - whether old, young, or somewhere in between - are kind, helpful people. let's throw the stereotypes out - each nurse should be judged solely on the basis of his or her merit.
- 8Jul 1, '12 by Esme12 Senior ModeratorUntil you are old enough to be the victim of ageism it is difficult to understand. Someday you will be old enough, you will be discriminated against because you are "old" and the new nurses want you to leave because they "deserve the job", and then you will understand.
Those older nurses before you who get those holidays off have worked their fair share. I am baffled as to why one would start a new position and expect to get preferential treatment over the workers that have already worked their share. 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.
- 3Jul 1, '12 by VICEDRNQuote from Esme12Preach 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.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.
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
- 3Jul 1, '12 by HM-8404I 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.
- 6Jul 2, '12 by OldnurseRNI 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.
- 3Jul 2, '12 by Susie2310Quote from VictoriaGayleWhy 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.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.
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.
- 3Jul 2, '12 by VickyRN Senior ModeratorQuote from Susie2310Even 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.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.
- 2Jul 2, '12 by Susie2310Quote from VickyRNVicky, 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.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.
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.