Show Bedside Nurses the Money - page 2

american journal of nursing - april, 2003 - volume 103, issue 4 show bedside nurses the money new uan poll offers solutions to the staffing crisis. by suzanne martin... Read More

  1. by   Stitchie
    Quote from tiliimnrn
    Fergus51, I can see where that would make an impression on the staff, but don't you think a raise or a bonus would make more of an impression then "candy"? I work at a place where they always try to come up with "non-monetary" ways of making us "happy". The other day in a staff meeting I asked, "Why does it always have to be non-monetary?" All of the staff in the meeting started yelling and grumbling (I thought I was in trouble), but they were ALL agreeing with me. Nursing is a very intensive job, I don't care what floor, or what area you work in, we deserve more then we're getting. I know that my NM got a bonus when she screwed us with the staffing matrix. Yeah, they get bonuses when they ---- us over. She also won a trip when our floor stuck to the rule that you are to use no outside pool. We suffered, she won a trip
    And that's the kind of thing that really divides a unit. The NM who screws over her nurses on a day to day basis cannot be counted on, trusted, or confided in. Who's to say she/he won't turn on you AGAIN the next time a trip to a warm sunny locale is offered for "cutting" staffing costs?

    Do the suits have any sense at all? Wouldn't it be fun to see them shadowing a nurse for a day (if we could stomach it?)?

    "Come on, Mr Hugo Boss/ Armani suit, get your butt in gear, we've got really stinky wounds to clean. And guess what, I'll hold the patient's leg/arm/back/side etc, and since you're here for just one day, I'll 'let' you do the cleaning so you know what it's like to be a nurse for a day. But before that we have to pass meds to our five patient,s now make sure you crush those pills really good and don't forget any; they have to go down that G-Tube just right. Make sure you empty that foley and give the Lasix reallllllllly slow; before that we have to get the NG tube down on that combative patient but we need an order first to use restraints/Haldol/Vit. L -- don't you remember your policy about restraints? Oh you think you can do it by yourself? have fun man!"

    "Oh hey, you're looking a little flushed and flustered, oh YOU don't get paid enough to do this? Well how do you think I feel?"
  2. by   mercy31513
    Quote from missmercy
    I know that salary is a definate issue here -- especially now that we are offering sign on bonus perks. We are finding (understandably so) that some of our loyal, long term nurses are less than tickled to orient and precept the new kid who is making more than they are (with the bonus figured in etc.)

    Not only is salary an issue, but insurance coverage and co-pay is a huge issue here. I have worked in other hosps where an employee could go to the ED, the lab, x-ray, pharmacy etc and get greatly reduced costs for tx ( or even have just the insurance coverage be accepted as payment for services) -- here, the premiums just keep going up and seems that the service doesn't correlate.

    I believe that there is a huge issue r/t appreciation and valuing loyalty and committment too!! I am looking for ways to let our long-term staffers know how much I appreciate them!! They certainly are a huge help for my job (staff development) They are invaluable resources, calming factors, EXCELLENT care givers and truly fabulous folks!! Any creative ideas r/t how we can honor them?! I have a miniscule budget, so I have to be really creative -- any suggestions?!
    Being a long time staffer I can tell you if you have a limited budget. Nurse like appreciation. Give them a greeting card with a free lunch ticket or subway ticket. I never met a nurse who didn't eat. Most important is the card
  3. by   nursebonkers
    If it were not for my union, I would have no pay raise, crappy benefits, no pension, no filing an 'assignment despite objection form' when they hand you 13 med/surg/ tele/ post op patients( and say oh well do your best)
    God bless the UNIONS!!! NO LUNCH $10,
    STAYING 2 HOURS LATE $50
    WORKING IN AN ENVIRONMENT WITH NOT ENOUGH STAFF, BLANKETS, PILLOWS, ETC $PRICELESS

    WWW.SAFESTAFFING.COM
  4. by   Hellllllo Nurse
    IMO, it's all about working conditions. I have left high paying jobs to take lower paying jobs with better working conditions. Money is an important factor, but it's not the primary thing for me.

    A big slary isn't worth much if you hate your work environment.
  5. by   Genista
    Quote from hellllllo nurse
    imo, it's all about working conditions. i have left high paying jobs to take lower paying jobs with better working conditions. money is an important factor, but it's not the primary thing for me.

    a big slary isn't worth much if you hate your work environment.
    amen to that. i make some great money as an rn right now, but i'm sick of the staffing issues, lack of resources and running myself ragged everyday. money is nice, but working conditions are just as important if not more so. i can hardly stand to work the few shifts a week that i already do. i'm tired of having no ancillary staff! management can't buy me off like that. they could double my pay, and i'd still be looking for another job. what is my health worth? a lot more than money can buy!!! how's about a realistic work load and some support staff ?if there are three main problems with the nursing shortage, then you have to address all three, not just the one.we want better working conditions. here's a news alert- i want my daily lunch breaks! :angryfire i deserve a break in my looooong day just like any other worker. why is it that nurses are supposed to be less than human, without human needs? i'm contemplating leaving nursing altogether, and it not because of the money (my wages have doubled since i started out as a new grad 6 years ago).
  6. by   Stitchie
    I think working conditions leave a lot to be desired everywhere. Since we get nurses from all over the place, it's obvious these are global issues. Doesn't anybody in management see these problems?

    I'd love it if our techs showed some initiative instead of always have to say, get the patient undressed, get the VS, get 'em on a monitor. Sure I could do it, but I'm already changing suction canisters, emptying bedpans and getting medications ready for my patients. Instead, I get the rolled eyes and huffy look -- even when there are two techs standing at the nursing station gabbing about their weekends.

    Telling the charge nurse / nurse manager does nothing. It's a Catholic institution (I will never again work for an institution run by non-lay people) and the attitude is "it's all about teamwork, and it's not just the tech's job". HELLO! The meds / assessment / DC instructions / IV's / ABG's / vent monitoring / charting are JUST the nurses job!
  7. by   wjf00
    Quote from Hellllllo Nurse
    IMO, it's all about working conditions. I have left high paying jobs to take lower paying jobs with better working conditions. Money is an important factor, but it's not the primary thing for me.

    A big slary isn't worth much if you hate your work environment.
    I agree 100%. I don't care what they pay me if the staffing ratios aren't safe. Better staffing ratios mean every bit as much as higher pay.
  8. by   Daqueengene
    Quote from nrskarenrn
    american journal of nursing - april, 2003 - volume 103, issue 4



    [font=arial, helvetica]show bedside nurses the money
    [font=arial, helvetica]new uan poll offers solutions to the staffing crisis.

    by suzanne martin

    [font=arial, helvetica]http://www.nursingworld.org/ajn/2003/april/issues.htm

    [font=arial, helvetica]

    the media has cited possible solutions to the nursing shortage in studies conducted by health care groups ranging from the joint commission on accreditation of healthcare organizations (jcaho) to the american hospital association (aha), but nurses' own solutions have received far less attention. results of a new survey, nurses' solution to the nurse shortage, released in january by the united american nurses (uan), afl-cio, the labor arm of the american nurses association, sheds light on what staff nurses, who deliver direct care at the bedside, see as the most effective ways of putting a dent in the shortage.

    of the 600 hospital staff nurses polled nationwide in november 2002 for the uan survey, 82% indicated that increased wages would be an effective solution to the nurse staffing shortage. a reduced nurse-to-patient ratio was also a highly rated solution (85%), as were greater autonomy and control for staff nurses (66%) and safer working conditions (65%).

    few dispute that the shortage is a problem. the aha reports that there are 126,000 rn positions currently unfilled, and government experts estimate there will be a deficit of between 800,000 to 1 million bedside nurses by 2020. of respondents to the uan survey, eight out of 10 said that there is already a serious shortage at their hospitals, and three out of 10 answered that it is unlikely that they will continue to be hospital staff nurses in five years. the survey cited the top three reasons nurses leave the profession: work-related stress, patient load, and inadequate pay.

    perhaps the most surprising result in the survey was the emphasis respondents placed on increased wages. in a profession that historically has emphasized dedication to patients above the nurse's personal well-being, salary has often been of low priority.

    that is changing, however, as some unionized nurses have negotiated double-digit pay increases at the bargaining table and base pay rates in the low $60,000 range in high cost-of-living areas such as new york city. in most cases, these wage boosts came after years of little or no pay increases and in some were won only after lengthy strikes that enabled nurses to demonstrate dangerous staffing practices, poor working conditions, and inadequate compensation.

    overall, nurses responding to the uan survey suggested that salary is clearly a consideration when they evaluate whether to stay in the profession. six out of 10 said they earn less than $46,000 a year, and 55% with more than 10 years of experience earn less than that amount. some two-thirds of those polled felt that they make less money than the demands their jobs warrant, and of those, a third believed their appropriate yearly salary is in the range of $70,000 or more.

    "no one is suggesting that nurses throw aside concern for patients as a motivating factor in what we do," said uan chairperson cheryl johnson, rn, a nurse at the university of michigan medical center in ann arbor. "but the cold reality is that we must make bedside nursing an attractive career choice--including offering pay that stacks up against other jobs--or more young people will opt not to become staff nurses and those already in bedside nursing will leave. and 10 years from now we'll still be here wringing our hands over how to recruit and retain nurses."

    according to the national sample survey of registered nurses, staff nurses in march 2000 earned an average annual salary of $42,133.40. nurses rank 115th among the 292 major occupational groups in the bureau of labor statistics national compensation survey, behind such jobs as sheet-metal duct installers, tile setters, editors and reporters, and funeral directors. elementary and secondary school teachers earn more, too.

    "while all these and many other jobs with higher pay are important and far reaching, nothing equates with the critical impact staff nurses have on patient outcomes," said uan director susan bianchi-sand.

    since 1996 pay for hospital staff nurses has increased only 2.2% per year, according to a february 2002 u.s. department of health and human services bureau of health professions report. by most accounts, this increase fails to even keep pace with the cost of living. staff nurse pay increases also lagged behind that of other rns, with higher increases going to rn administrators (3.7%), instructors (3.7%), and supervisors-head nurses (3.3%).

    last year a jcaho report, health care at the crossroads: strategies for addressing the evolving nursing crisis, identified "a fair and competitive compensation and benefits packages for nursing staff" as a key solution to staffing shortage and called on hospitals to implement this tactic. but the jcaho report also stated, "hospitals have few incentives to invest in nursing staff, and to improve patient safety and health quality . . . they [nurses] are paid the same whether . . . their medical-surgical nurse-to-patient ratios are 1:4 or 1:10." opponents to increasing rn salaries have been quick to latch on to this reasoning and say that hospitals are paying nurses as much as they can, and that higher nursing costs will likely be passed on to patients.

    for bianchi-sand, the balance sheet belies those arguments: "when i pick up a paper and read that the ceo [harvey holzberg] of robert wood johnson university hospital [in new brunswick, new jersey,] made $2.15 million in his 2001 compensation package, it's hard to fathom how anyone could suggest that paying a staff nurse--who will be at your bedside and providing critical care for you when you're a patient--isn't worth at least $70,000 a year." holzberg's $2.15 million package included $1.2 million in salary and bonuses and $925,199 in deferred compensation and other benefits, reported the january 12, 2003, issue of the home news tribune.

    johnson agrees. "we know that when staffing isn't at safe levels, our patients are at risk and they're not getting full value for their money. in this [uan] poll, nurses have given us their professional assessment that the nursing shortage is the biggest problem in hospitals today. more to the point, they've told us what it will take to cure it. now, as nurses we've got to work collectively with hospitals to implement these solutions and ensure that there are enough bedside nurses to give patients the care they need in the future."

    to read the full results of the uan staff rn poll, go to www.uannurse.org.
    [font=arial, helvetica]suzanne martin is associate director of communications, united american nurses, afl-cio, the labor arm of the ana.

    in this day and age it is so very sad that the only way a nurse can rise to a level of financial security is to leave patient care and go into management or administration. why is it that so many people think because we are nurses we are happy to work long, hard, holiday, weekend, 12hr shifts ,with out breaks ,and or lunch because we are kind and caring angels of mercy who somehow don't need to make the monthly mortgage ,pay for college tuition for our children ect... and that we don't do it for the money because anyone with any sense knows that is insane. why is it that we don't ensure that the best of the best stay at the bed side in clinicle practice by paying them an appropriate half way liveable salery. why is it that we eat our young and discard our older nurses like an old pair of shoes. if we would just look at the research that indicates that nurses make the difference in how well patients respond to treatments, nurses make the difference in how satisfied patients are with their hospitilization. we have to change before the rest of the world will change. we have to demand the professional respect we deserve and we have to live and work up to the standards that are set by our many professional organizations. poeples lives depend on it and our professional survival depends on it. stand up be counted.
  9. by   lindarn
    I could not agree with you more. Unfortunately, there are still too many nurses out there (we called them "martyr maries" in New York), who say, "I make enough money. I am happy with my pay!!!"

    Women, especially nurses, are conditioned to believe that second rate pay, benefits, and working conditions, are just "LIFE", and accept it. That is the only reason that the problem still exists today. Hospitals know that nurses will not strike, or take any aggressive job action, shy away from unionizing, etc, and wonder why the profession is in turmoil.

    We refuse to control our profession, instead let others who benefit from our misfortune, reap the benefits. When other medical professionals saw the writing on the wall with the fight to control health care, they took matters into their own hands and made sure that the hospitals and the public were knew they were valuable and assured themselves a piece of the "Health care dollars rock"

    How did they do this? They increased the level of education for entry into practice, keeping their numbers small, and in demand. They hold onto their profesional practices and refuse to allow their practice to be diluted by lesser educated practitioners. Their value is validated by the size of their paychecks.

    Nurses, on the other hand, allow their professional practice to be sold to the the highest bidder- namely, Hospital Associations, insurance companies, and we make it so easy for them to do it.

    We were easy pickings for the insurance companies who wanted to save money by encouraging de- skilling our profesional practice at the bedside. 1 year of school for an LPN? 2 years of school for an RN? Anyone can do this job. Lets not pay BSN's any more than nurses with a lesser degree, so we encourage them to leave for greener pastures where they will be paid more. Lets encourage the in fighting, "I do the same job as you" and push them out. Teacher who do the same job but have higher degrees are paid more. Period.

    PT's OT's, Social Workers, Pharmacists, all make considerably more money than nurses, for a fraction of the workload. Why? Because they have increased their education levels, and demanded highter pay to compensate. That is the way it works.

    There is no need to make nurses happy and pay them a comparable wage, let them get disgusted and quit! There is another class of suckers graduating next month from ABC Community College, and we will save money because we will pay them rock bottom wages. We could care less if the nurses quit and go someplace else. When the country gets short enought of nurses, we will pay off some congressman off to sponsor a bill to ease the restrictions on immigration, lower the expectations of who can give bedside care, and really pay them rock bottom wages.

    Unfortunately, nurses just don't get it. They don't get that in order demand the wages we deserve, we have to earn it in the classroom. I wish that I had a nickel for every time someone said, "What do you 'girls' expect? You only went to school for two years!" That is the reason we get paid like blue collar trailer trash, because we educate ourselves like it. Wake up and smell the coffee!

    All other health care professions have at least a Bachelors as entry into practice. They all have much higher salaries, and get more respect from other professionals, doctors, patients, family, etc. The public equates worth with education, and the hospitals are only to eager to comply with the battle between the differant levels of entry into practice. They just sit back and laugh, and nurses just don't get it. The "suits" keep nurses fighting and distracted about the real issues that are ruining the nursing profession, knowing that if nurses were truly connected by a similar and higher education level we would be a power to reckon with. We are over 2 million strong, and HAVE the power to change it. We h

    We have to play by the same rules that everyone else has, to earn (demand), the rewards other professions have won.

    In the meantime, younger nurses are leaving the bedside at ever increasing rates for careers that pay better, have better hours, and more respect and control that a REAL profession has, and the the older nurses are just keep getting older and worn out.

    In addition to higher pay, nurses need dedicated retirement plans, retiree medical benefits with employer paid retiree prescription plans, the list goes on.

    We need to limit the entry into practice and bring in smaller numbers of nurses. I can hear the screams now, but the ANA should make the BSN as the entry into practice over the next 5 years, phase out ADN & diploma programs, eliminate the LPN tract and make it a 2 year "licensed health care practitioner". Even PT assistants have a 2 year degree as an entry into practice. Eliminating the title of "nurse" from all but RN's with BSN's. Everybody and his brother calls themselves a "nurse", now even Veternary Techs with certificates from diploma mills are calling themselves "nurse". Give me a break! Trying getting the education first. Get politically active and insist that the title be a legally protected. Just as you can't call yourself a doctor when you are not one, you should not be able to call yourself a nurse if you are not an RN. Be selfish about your practice and quit letting others steal it from you. There is no pride in being a nurse anymore.

    When we are a "product" that the hospitals, and public, have to really fight for against careers with a better quality of life and reimbursement, then we can demand more money. Just as California hospitals have had to offer nurses the world to meet staffing ratios, hospitals all over the country will have to fight to keep bedside nurses happy and working at the bedside. There is no shortage of nurses in careers/jobs where the pay is decent, and the quality of life is good.

    I am sure that I have opened up a can of worms, but it need to be opened and cleaned up. National Nurses Week is right around the corner! Stand up and be counted and make the hard decisions. We always tell our kids that the easy way is not always the best way. Nurses are like battered wives, we keep waiting for someone else to fix our problems, the knight in shining armour, and we just keep going back for more abuse. Stand up and fix it yourselves.

    Linda RN, BSN, CCRN
    Spokane, Washington
  10. by   angel337
    Quote from lindarn
    I could not agree with you more. Unfortunately, there are still too many nurses out there (we called them "martyr maries" in New York), who say, "I make enough money. I am happy with my pay!!!"

    Women, especially nurses, are conditioned to believe that second rate pay, benefits, and working conditions, are just "LIFE", and accept it. That is the only reason that the problem still exists today. Hospitals know that nurses will not strike, or take any aggressive job action, shy away from unionizing, etc, and wonder why the profession is in turmoil.

    We refuse to control our profession, instead let others who benefit from our misfortune, reap the benefits. When other medical professionals saw the writing on the wall with the fight to control health care, they took matters into their own hands and made sure that the hospitals and the public were knew they were valuable and assured themselves a piece of the "Health care dollars rock"

    How did they do this? They increased the level of education for entry into practice, keeping their numbers small, and in demand. They hold onto their profesional practices and refuse to allow their practice to be diluted by lesser educated practitioners. Their value is validated by the size of their paychecks.

    Nurses, on the other hand, allow their professional practice to be sold to the the highest bidder- namely, Hospital Associations, insurance companies, and we make it so easy for them to do it.

    We were easy pickings for the insurance companies who wanted to save money by encouraging de- skilling our profesional practice at the bedside. 1 year of school for an LPN? 2 years of school for an RN? Anyone can do this job. Lets not pay BSN's any more than nurses with a lesser degree, so we encourage them to leave for greener pastures where they will be paid more. Lets encourage the in fighting, "I do the same job as you" and push them out. Teacher who do the same job but have higher degrees are paid more. Period.

    PT's OT's, Social Workers, Pharmacists, all make considerably more money than nurses, for a fraction of the workload. Why? Because they have increased their education levels, and demanded highter pay to compensate. That is the way it works.

    There is no need to make nurses happy and pay them a comparable wage, let them get disgusted and quit! There is another class of suckers graduating next month from ABC Community College, and we will save money because we will pay them rock bottom wages. We could care less if the nurses quit and go someplace else. When the country gets short enought of nurses, we will pay off some congressman off to sponsor a bill to ease the restrictions on immigration, lower the expectations of who can give bedside care, and really pay them rock bottom wages.

    Unfortunately, nurses just don't get it. They don't get that in order demand the wages we deserve, we have to earn it in the classroom. I wish that I had a nickel for every time someone said, "What do you 'girls' expect? You only went to school for two years!" That is the reason we get paid like blue collar trailer trash, because we educate ourselves like it. Wake up and smell the coffee!

    All other health care professions have at least a Bachelors as entry into practice. They all have much higher salaries, and get more respect from other professionals, doctors, patients, family, etc. The public equates worth with education, and the hospitals are only to eager to comply with the battle between the differant levels of entry into practice. They just sit back and laugh, and nurses just don't get it. The "suits" keep nurses fighting and distracted about the real issues that are ruining the nursing profession, knowing that if nurses were truly connected by a similar and higher education level we would be a power to reckon with. We are over 2 million strong, and HAVE the power to change it. We h

    We have to play by the same rules that everyone else has, to earn (demand), the rewards other professions have won.

    In the meantime, younger nurses are leaving the bedside at ever increasing rates for careers that pay better, have better hours, and more respect and control that a REAL profession has, and the the older nurses are just keep getting older and worn out.

    In addition to higher pay, nurses need dedicated retirement plans, retiree medical benefits with employer paid retiree prescription plans, the list goes on.

    We need to limit the entry into practice and bring in smaller numbers of nurses. I can hear the screams now, but the ANA should make the BSN as the entry into practice over the next 5 years, phase out ADN & diploma programs, eliminate the LPN tract and make it a 2 year "licensed health care practitioner". Even PT assistants have a 2 year degree as an entry into practice. Eliminating the title of "nurse" from all but RN's with BSN's. Everybody and his brother calls themselves a "nurse", now even Veternary Techs with certificates from diploma mills are calling themselves "nurse". Give me a break! Trying getting the education first. Get politically active and insist that the title be a legally protected. Just as you can't call yourself a doctor when you are not one, you should not be able to call yourself a nurse if you are not an RN. Be selfish about your practice and quit letting others steal it from you. There is no pride in being a nurse anymore.

    When we are a "product" that the hospitals, and public, have to really fight for against careers with a better quality of life and reimbursement, then we can demand more money. Just as California hospitals have had to offer nurses the world to meet staffing ratios, hospitals all over the country will have to fight to keep bedside nurses happy and working at the bedside. There is no shortage of nurses in careers/jobs where the pay is decent, and the quality of life is good.

    I am sure that I have opened up a can of worms, but it need to be opened and cleaned up. National Nurses Week is right around the corner! Stand up and be counted and make the hard decisions. We always tell our kids that the easy way is not always the best way. Nurses are like battered wives, we keep waiting for someone else to fix our problems, the knight in shining armour, and we just keep going back for more abuse. Stand up and fix it yourselves.

    Linda RN, BSN, CCRN
    Spokane, Washington
    you are saying what i think most nurses who know the value of education have been trying to say for years. i am afraid for the future of nursing because we are not respected as a profession. they WILL eventually find a way to slowly eliminate our jobs and give them to less qualified personnel if we can't prove that we are worth a higher salary. i don't know about other people but i am not very impressed with associate degrees in other careers. why? because it is usually considered a stepping stone to their real "profession". i work with wonderful nurses from all education levels but it would be so much better if we were all on the same page. i see more and more hospitals preferring a bsn and i believe that will only increase in the years to come. i know everyone is tired of this whole bsn argument, but i believe if we don't act on it now, nurses will wish they had done something sooner.
  11. by   Torachan
    I worked in a hotel where the pay went from 3 pounds an hour to 5 pounds (big jump). No-one appreciated it. No-one worked any harder. throwing $$$ in itself will not solve the problem.

    That being said ... my hand is out

    and of course Pay peanuts get monkeys (not saying that we are monkeys but we are suckers for punishment)
  12. by   career2
    Sorry but as a guy, I have to think that women have been fooled into putting up with way more crap than men will. Cheer up, in San Francisco right now nursing salaries are going way up. Unfortunately some of the ladies on this site have really beat me up for taking notice of the salaries and job security. It seems the only valid reason for me to go into nursing is to save the world. If I'm choosing a field based on pay and opportunities I should go else where. Trust me, you would not get this attitude from a bunch of MDs.


    Quote from lindarn
    I could not agree with you more. Unfortunately, there are still too many nurses out there (we called them "martyr maries" in New York), who say, "I make enough money. I am happy with my pay!!!"

    Women, especially nurses, are conditioned to believe that second rate pay, benefits, and working conditions, are just "LIFE", and accept it. That is the only reason that the problem still exists today. Hospitals know that nurses will not strike, or take any aggressive job action, shy away from unionizing, etc, and wonder why the profession is in turmoil.

    We refuse to control our profession, instead let others who benefit from our misfortune, reap the benefits. When other medical professionals saw the writing on the wall with the fight to control health care, they took matters into their own hands and made sure that the hospitals and the public were knew they were valuable and assured themselves a piece of the "Health care dollars rock"

    How did they do this? They increased the level of education for entry into practice, keeping their numbers small, and in demand. They hold onto their profesional practices and refuse to allow their practice to be diluted by lesser educated practitioners. Their value is validated by the size of their paychecks.

    Nurses, on the other hand, allow their professional practice to be sold to the the highest bidder- namely, Hospital Associations, insurance companies, and we make it so easy for them to do it.

    We were easy pickings for the insurance companies who wanted to save money by encouraging de- skilling our profesional practice at the bedside. 1 year of school for an LPN? 2 years of school for an RN? Anyone can do this job. Lets not pay BSN's any more than nurses with a lesser degree, so we encourage them to leave for greener pastures where they will be paid more. Lets encourage the in fighting, "I do the same job as you" and push them out. Teacher who do the same job but have higher degrees are paid more. Period.

    PT's OT's, Social Workers, Pharmacists, all make considerably more money than nurses, for a fraction of the workload. Why? Because they have increased their education levels, and demanded highter pay to compensate. That is the way it works.

    There is no need to make nurses happy and pay them a comparable wage, let them get disgusted and quit! There is another class of suckers graduating next month from ABC Community College, and we will save money because we will pay them rock bottom wages. We could care less if the nurses quit and go someplace else. When the country gets short enought of nurses, we will pay off some congressman off to sponsor a bill to ease the restrictions on immigration, lower the expectations of who can give bedside care, and really pay them rock bottom wages.

    Unfortunately, nurses just don't get it. They don't get that in order demand the wages we deserve, we have to earn it in the classroom. I wish that I had a nickel for every time someone said, "What do you 'girls' expect? You only went to school for two years!" That is the reason we get paid like blue collar trailer trash, because we educate ourselves like it. Wake up and smell the coffee!

    All other health care professions have at least a Bachelors as entry into practice. They all have much higher salaries, and get more respect from other professionals, doctors, patients, family, etc. The public equates worth with education, and the hospitals are only to eager to comply with the battle between the differant levels of entry into practice. They just sit back and laugh, and nurses just don't get it. The "suits" keep nurses fighting and distracted about the real issues that are ruining the nursing profession, knowing that if nurses were truly connected by a similar and higher education level we would be a power to reckon with. We are over 2 million strong, and HAVE the power to change it. We h

    We have to play by the same rules that everyone else has, to earn (demand), the rewards other professions have won.

    In the meantime, younger nurses are leaving the bedside at ever increasing rates for careers that pay better, have better hours, and more respect and control that a REAL profession has, and the the older nurses are just keep getting older and worn out.

    In addition to higher pay, nurses need dedicated retirement plans, retiree medical benefits with employer paid retiree prescription plans, the list goes on.

    We need to limit the entry into practice and bring in smaller numbers of nurses. I can hear the screams now, but the ANA should make the BSN as the entry into practice over the next 5 years, phase out ADN & diploma programs, eliminate the LPN tract and make it a 2 year "licensed health care practitioner". Even PT assistants have a 2 year degree as an entry into practice. Eliminating the title of "nurse" from all but RN's with BSN's. Everybody and his brother calls themselves a "nurse", now even Veternary Techs with certificates from diploma mills are calling themselves "nurse". Give me a break! Trying getting the education first. Get politically active and insist that the title be a legally protected. Just as you can't call yourself a doctor when you are not one, you should not be able to call yourself a nurse if you are not an RN. Be selfish about your practice and quit letting others steal it from you. There is no pride in being a nurse anymore.

    When we are a "product" that the hospitals, and public, have to really fight for against careers with a better quality of life and reimbursement, then we can demand more money. Just as California hospitals have had to offer nurses the world to meet staffing ratios, hospitals all over the country will have to fight to keep bedside nurses happy and working at the bedside. There is no shortage of nurses in careers/jobs where the pay is decent, and the quality of life is good.

    I am sure that I have opened up a can of worms, but it need to be opened and cleaned up. National Nurses Week is right around the corner! Stand up and be counted and make the hard decisions. We always tell our kids that the easy way is not always the best way. Nurses are like battered wives, we keep waiting for someone else to fix our problems, the knight in shining armour, and we just keep going back for more abuse. Stand up and fix it yourselves.

    Linda RN, BSN, CCRN
    Spokane, Washington

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