Young, Thin, and Cute New Hires

by TheCommuter Asst. Admin

51,518 Views | 295 Comments

The management at my place of employment recently hired a group of nurses who are all youngish, slim, and physically attractive as a response to declining patient satisfaction scores. Is the solution working? We can only wait and see.

  1. 12

    Young, Thin, and Cute New Hires

    My workplace, a freestanding specialty hospital owned by a for-profit corporation that operates multiple facilities across the United States, has been having recent troubles with low Press Ganey patient satisfaction scores. This does not bode well in an era where patient satisfaction scores are tied to Medicare reimbursement rates.

    Patients typically complain on the survey forms about random issues such as the food, the semiprivate rooms, their loud roommates, and the aloof manner of some of the physicians. Some mention that nursing staff failed to keep them informed. Once in a blue moon a patient comments that the hospital employs too many ’foreign nurses’ or has staff who cannot ’speak English.’ Whatever.

    To combat the chronically low patient satisfaction scores, the managerial staff implemented a mix of interventions which they believed would make patients and families feel more ’cared for.’ Hourly rounds, bedside rounding at the change of shift, more scripting, and more smiles have been put into action without much positive effect on the Press Ganey scores.

    “What was management’s next solution?” you’re probably wondering. Administration announced they were hiring good people who were more friendly, skilled, positive, and indicated during their interviews that they actually wanted to care for patients. Well, the latest new hires have initiated more questions than answers.

    Where do I start? They are all youngish, ranging from early 20s to early 30s. They are all fairly slim, nicely shaped, and physically attractive. The most experienced new hire has about six years of nursing experience, while the remaining nurses have anywhere from one to three years under their belts. The majority have no acute care experience and are learning certain procedural skills for the very first time: starting peripheral IV access, administering blood, performing wound care, operating feeding tube pumps, and so forth.

    Don’t get me wrong. I’m not an ’old nurse’ who is ’eating the young.’ I am 32 years old with seven years of experience, and I had no acute care experience prior to taking a job at this facility several years ago. The new hires all have good personalities and are seemingly pleasant to work with. In addition, we all must start somewhere.

    However, they are not necessarily more skilled or more eager to care for patients like management said they would be. Several of these nurses remain seated at the nurses station while staring into a smart phone as call lights are ringing. A few walk into patient rooms without employing basic relational skills such as knocking, introducing themselves, or explaining what they are planning to do. I’m not complaining; I’m merely observing.

    Here are my thoughts on this issue. Rather than hire a mix of highly experienced and relatively inexperienced nurses, the managerial staff opted to save on labor costs by hiring younger nurses with a certain attractive look that patients and families might find appealing. They hired no new grads because, I assume, they did not want to spend the staggering amount of money on 3-month orientation periods. They hired no one with 15, 20, 25, or 30+ years of experience because human resources would be forced to offer highly experienced nurses a significantly higher rate of pay per the wage grid. They hired no nurses who were badly overweight, gray-haired, or outwardly appeared to have health problems that would drive up insurance costs. To presumably get the most bang for their buck, most of the new hires have between one and three years of experience.

    How is this experiment turning out? We shall wait and see.
    Last edit by Joe V on Feb 28, '13
    Paws2people, carolLeeAnn, thatldo, and 9 others like this.
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  4. About TheCommuter

    TheCommuter is a moderator of allnurses.com and has varied workplace experiences upon which to draw for her articles. She was an LPN/LVN for four years prior to becoming a registered nurse.

    TheCommuter joined Feb '05 - from 'Fort Worth, Texas, USA'. Age: 33 TheCommuter has '8' year(s) of experience and specializes in 'acute rehab, long term care, and psych'. Posts: 26,376 Likes: 36,317; Learn more about TheCommuter by visiting their allnursesPage Website

    295 Comments so far...

  5. 13
    I think I read about this type of thing in the past... have they mentioned new uniforms?



    (The first stewardesses had to be RNs as well).
  6. 1
    Astute as usual Commuter! Ageism is real in nursing and will get worse I'm afraid......
    nursewannabe71 likes this.
  7. 9
    At my hospital, a memo was circulated to reflect the issue of low-rise scrub pants that were dragging the floor and high-rise nursing tees. We see enough skin on our patients. Why nurses feel compelled to look like this is beyond me. There's no wonder some don't view nursing as a profession.
  8. 5
    I was a flight attendant for seven years prior to pursuing my BSN. I can assure you that 90% of them do not look like this. Hahaha.
    tnmarie, HM-8404, Paco-RN, and 2 others like this.
  9. 34
    I don't think it is about looks. We too have hired alot of young, female, smaller build nurses. The turn over rate in hospital is huge, what nurse in their right mind would actually WANT to go back to bedside nursing?? A nurse in their 40-50's has probably figured it out and has been at the bedside and wants to be done at the bedside. So they leave it up to the young ones who need to figure that out, and need to gain experience before going anywhere else.

    Oh trust me, i've heard our experiened staff joke around with things and let me tell you, it actually hurts. They all crack jokes about how it should now be a requirement that "You are under 30 years old, slim with brown hair and a bubbly personality." I fall under that category of "Slim, young, brown hair"...im not an idiot. but the question i have for them is, do you ever think to look beyond that?? How about the fact i graduated with a 3.7GPA and made the deans list 4 years running. how about the fact i worked nights as a CNA while attending nursing school? How about the fact i have worked my butt off getting certifications in things you probably never heard of. How about the fact that my computer skills are far more superior than the 50 year old they just interviewed that can hardly even type? Look BEYOND the surface of these people.
    Yes, i think hospitals are hiring young, new grads because the are cheaper. It's a smart business move. if i were running a business and had to pick between a 55 year old with a great personality, 25+ years of experience and wanting $30.00 an hour and a 24 year old with 2 years experinece with a great personality and wanting $24.00 an hour...i would choose the 24 year old. The hosptial wants great satisfaction scores. A Patient really isn't going to care how much experience their nurse has (to a certain degree). Their satisfaction scores come from a smily face, a good personality, friendly nurses, good customer service etc. I've never heard a patient give a hospital a low satisfaction score because "My nurse only had 2 years of experience." So the way hospitals are shifting now days...experience really doesn't matter. I can do the same exact tasks as any nurse on my floor.

    Im 24 years old, and i am already training to be charge nurse...i have an orientee with me that has a daughter 1 year old than me. Sure, she has admitted to feeling a little uncomfortable with me being her superior. She has stated once she got to know me that has changed. She has taken me seriously.

    yea i do feel a little offended beause people judge all these newbies coming in. Look beyond that, get to know them. No i do NOT have my smart phone out all the time. I am professional when i am at work. yes ill pull it out on my break...because that is my BREAK, that is my time for me to be me and do want i want to do for 30 minutes. So yea...all in all, i have to say hospitals are making a smart BUSINESS move by hiring young, new and eager nurses to work the floors. They are cheaper and can do the same exact thing as any other nurse on the floor. I'm probably repeating myself a lot but think about it...
    Paws2people, KimberlyRN89, KarinaJ., and 31 others like this.
  10. 9
    Quote from Violach
    I was a flight attendant for seven years prior to pursuing my BSN. I can assure you that 90% of them do not look like this. Hahaha.
    Sure, not on US or Western European carriers... I've spent a lot of time on Singapore doing the Hong Kong Hustle and they clearly hire for appearance.

    Regarding nursing, when there is a glut of candidates on the market, they can prioritize anything that they choose, including appearance. Many restaurants and casinos do precisely the same thing.

    I'm neither young nor cute (nor female since that's an implication)... With my patients, I rely on humor and wit to complement my technical skills.

    Much as we'd like to think otherwise, nursing *is* a customer-service job. Sure, the service transcends what many people simplistically consider as customer service, but it does include many of the basics, too (so does doctoring, for that matter).

    Situations as you describe, Commuter, is one reason why I'm very pro-union... treat us all the same, irrespective of our age, weight, or appearance.
  11. 3
    Quote from Violach
    I was a flight attendant for seven years prior to pursuing my BSN. I can assure you that 90% of them do not look like this. Hahaha.
    Back in the day, the requirements for the stewardess was strict.
    When I was a little girl in the 70's, I came across an old text, in the library, about becoming a stewardess.
    This book was probably 20 years-old when I go my hot hands on it, but what did I know back then?
    Do you know I actually cried because I just "knew" I could never be slim or tall enough to be a stewardess?!?
    How stupid is that?

    Well, Commuter, fill us in on how that goes.
    Let us know when the uniform gets changed to short tight skirts and a saucy little seam running up the back of the stockings... oh and kickin' red pumps.
    That should shoot some PG scores and some BP readings through the roof!
    Last edit by Hygiene Queen on Feb 28, '13 : Reason: all fired up--can't type
    nursel56, Violach, and SummitRN like this.
  12. 15
    Trust me when i say this, when you are sick and in the hospital the last thing you care about is how your nurse looks. yes there are the few exceptions but i'm talking in general.

    Its all in your head...get over it.
    RNFiona, reeveslpn, Keep_Calm, and 12 others like this.
  13. 28
    Quote from Jenni811
    I don't think it is about looks. We too have hired alot of young, female, smaller build nurses. The turn over rate in hospital is huge, what nurse in their right mind would actually WANT to go back to bedside nursing?? A nurse in their 40-50's has probably figured it out and has been at the bedside and wants to be done at the bedside. So they leave it up to the young ones who need to figure that out, and need to gain experience before going anywhere else.

    Oh trust me, i've heard our experiened staff joke around with things and let me tell you, it actually hurts. They all crack jokes about how it should now be a requirement that "You are under 30 years old, slim with brown hair and a bubbly personality." I fall under that category of "Slim, young, brown hair"...im not an idiot. but the question i have for them is, do you ever think to look beyond that?? How about the fact i graduated with a 3.7GPA and made the deans list 4 years running. how about the fact i worked nights as a CNA while attending nursing school? How about the fact i have worked my butt off getting certifications in things you probably never heard of. How about the fact that my computer skills are far more superior than the 50 year old they just interviewed that can hardly even type? Look BEYOND the surface of these people.
    Yes, i think hospitals are hiring young, new grads because the are cheaper. It's a smart business move. if i were running a business and had to pick between a 55 year old with a great personality, 25+ years of experience and wanting $30.00 an hour and a 24 year old with 2 years experinece with a great personality and wanting $24.00 an hour...i would choose the 24 year old. The hosptial wants great satisfaction scores. A Patient really isn't going to care how much experience their nurse has (to a certain degree). Their satisfaction scores come from a smily face, a good personality, friendly nurses, good customer service etc. I've never heard a patient give a hospital a low satisfaction score because "My nurse only had 2 years of experience." So the way hospitals are shifting now days...experience really doesn't matter. I can do the same exact tasks as any nurse on my floor.

    Im 24 years old, and i am already training to be charge nurse...i have an orientee with me that has a daughter 1 year old than me. Sure, she has admitted to feeling a little uncomfortable with me being her superior. She has stated once she got to know me that has changed. She has taken me seriously.

    yea i do feel a little offended beause people judge all these newbies coming in. Look beyond that, get to know them. No i do NOT have my smart phone out all the time. I am professional when i am at work. yes ill pull it out on my break...because that is my BREAK, that is my time for me to be me and do want i want to do for 30 minutes. So yea...all in all, i have to say hospitals are making a smart BUSINESS move by hiring young, new and eager nurses to work the floors. They are cheaper and can do the same exact thing as any other nurse on the floor. I'm probably repeating myself a lot but think about it...
    What happens when you are that nurse with 25 years of experience and you are un-hireable? And nurses with a fraction of your quality, hard earned experience think you are some technological dummy.

    Will you look back on this post and shake your head? Because I'm sure at that point, the young buck who is more desirable, will think you are incapable of using the computer.

    Ageism sucks, even if right now I'm not subject to it. I know one day I will be. I hope I'm so invaluable to my company that they won't lay me off or fire me, but who can guarantee that?
    Last edit by FlorenceNtheMachine on Feb 28, '13
    LadyFree28, stevief, Psychtrish39, and 25 others like this.


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