When I read about Tommy Thompson and his plan, I thought, what am I missing? But in actuality what is he and all the others missing? When all these students attend school with the money Tommy Thompson alotted for them and then they graduate----how long will they be able to continue to stay in the nursing profession and keep up with the cost of living, maybe raise a family and do whatever else they wish to do? How about the nurses who attended school without this kind of help and who now struggle day to day while the hospitals keep expanding, redecorating and having meetngs with the big people about how to keep unions out of hospitals. Lets also not forget that the CEO's salaries and bonuses are raised higher and higher every year even though they say they cannot afford to give decent raises to their employees. I believe the rewards that the CEO's recieve, come from the good job they do in keeping nurses where they are. The nurses are overloaded at work, underpaid for what they do(they are even being expected to train new nurses with no change in pay and no extra pay for that extra job). Many times there are situations where their own health is at risk and to top it all off, many doctors treat them disrespectfully and the list goes on and on. When my daughter graduated college with a BSN degree in 1978, she went to work fr $18.00 an hour with benefits. That was ok then, she was just starting and after all her real reason for choosing to be nurse was her compassion and her love for people and her desire to help them. But lets face it, 23 years later she is still nursing for the same reasons, but now she earns $26.00 an hour without any benefits. She is working per diem and therefore she is not even etitled to the big 3% raise that nurses who are not per diem earn. Of course you don't have to be per diem and get benefits but then you make even less money. Is that right? Does that make any sense? All nurses are having the same problems---tremendous resposibility, they are the ones who make all the difference in the patient's lives and yet they get the least compensation and the least respect. When I read about Tommy Thompson and the solution to the nursing shortage, it made me so angry. This is not going to solve the underlying problems. Nurses are leaving the profession---profession, lets not forget, that is what thy are, they are professional men and women and again, among the most overworked, underpaid and disrespected ones at that. The recent article that you printed in one of your issues, Howling at the Moon was excellent and one of the nurses at the hospital had the guts to put it up on the bulletin board, need I say it was taken down very quickly and I would not be suprised if there were major major meetings held because of it being posted. What really is amazing about all of this is I only graduated high school. I never went to college and I had no skills whatsoever. I couldn't even type but I went to work for a phone company and I am now retired with a pension I did not have to pay into, good health benefits I did not have to pay into do and a lot of other good benefits that I am grateful for, but I have to tell you that the salaries at the company betweem wage scales and good raises were pretty close to what nurses earn and I certainly beieve that nurses who go through extra schooling and have so many responsibilities should be on professional pay scales as other professionals are. So why is it that we always seem to have to reach the point where things have to get drastic before things get fair, and in this case the drastic action is good people leaving this really noble and rewarding profession. Has everyone forgotten who our Angels of Mercy are and why that is what they are called.
Oct 2, '01
HHS AWARDS $27.4 MILLION TO ADDRESS EMERGING NURSING SHORTAGE Grants Awarded to 82 Colleges, Universities, Other Organizations
Link @ http://allnurses.com/news/jump.cgi?ID=669
Oct 2, '01
It's good to know that someone cares who isn't a nurse. I believe when the general public gets outraged about our problem is when we will see the changes we know we deserve.
Oct 8, '01
Interesting ideas, and I wholeheartedly agree. I have been in practice for 20 years, and the shortage is currently worse than I have ever observed. Also, if one looks around the clinical setting, a large majority of us are "old timers", ie many years in practice, with an median age of 42.3 years (Workforce 2000). I just don't see as many young people as I did even 10 years ago. I believe there are many reasons for this: 1) the aging population 2) chronic disease and the fact that due to better treatment people are living longer 3)increased use of technology 4) Salaries. For example, I live about 20 minutes away from the headquarters for Federal Express in Memphis, TN. True, the starting salaries are quite different, but after a short time, the workers on the package line make more than RN's do, and with much better benefits, less stress, and noone will die if a package is handled incorrectly. In terms of the grant, there is not any money allocated at all in my home state of Mississippi, and when I applied for a state grant, was informed that there is currently "no money available" for advanced practice. A lot of things will have to change. Unfortunately, it will probably have to get a whole lot worse before the problem is addressed adequately. That is because those nurses who are currently in practice, although we are stretched thinner and thinner, are still trying to provide quality care, and that is what people expect. Unfortunately, when the patient perceives that quality care has not been rendered, it is the nurse who is blamed, and not the system under which we are required to work.
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