Southern Nurses Better Off Than The Rest? - page 5

You may not believe this (or maybe you will!) but I just heard that nurses from states in the South (ie: Mississippi) recently stated to other nurses at the national American Nurses Association... Read More

  1. by   -jt
    Thank you everyone for your honest answers. I knew what those nurses were saying about there being no shortages at your Southern bedsides could not be entirely accurate. I have no idea what kind of nursing they practice or if they have even seen a bedside in the last decade. My guess is they are not staff RNs. I hope you all dont mind that I invited others who had heard their comments to come here & read the truth from nurses who know what theyre talking about. Thanks again.
    Last edit by -jt on Jul 20, '02
  2. by   VickyRN
    JT, don't mean to sound flippant, but I have seen FAST FOOD RESTAURANTS with better and more consistent staffing than my CICU!!! The shortage is very real here in this part of North Carolina!!!
  3. by   Level2Trauma
    jt,
    Last edit by Level2Trauma on Jul 22, '02
  4. by   NoBrainer
    I can only speak from my own experience about this. And from that experience I can tell you that nursing in the North has been much different from any experience I ever had in the South. I come from Alabama and know of no union in that state. Of course it has been 3 years and I suppose it is possible that one has developed.

    In the 7 years I worked as a nurse there, I was only ever mandated for 8 total hours of OT. Lucky for me there happened to be enough people that I worked with who wanted the OT that I just gave it away. It wasn't the walk up to you at the last minute and say "Sorry you can't go home" mandatory OT. It was the "the new people aren't off orientation yet and if everyone will just pick up 4 extra hours this schedule we will get through until they are" kind of overtime.

    I worked ICU and ER. Don't remember feeling chronically understaffed. Occasionally a call in went uncovered, but that is life. Was never told I couldn't take a patient upstairs because there was no nurse, perhaps no bed, but never no nurse.

    Where I work now there is often no nurse and patients are held in the ED. Also a recent vote has a union representative trying to negotiate an almost 50/50 staff. It was a very close vote. The floors are chronically understaffed and I heard others talking about mandatory OT. When they approached me about it the first time I said, "Well, I can leave here at 7 and come back tomorrow, or I can leave here at 7 and not ever come back." I haven't been pressed about mandatory OT since that time, but I know that others are.

    All things being equal, it was nicer being a nurse in the South.
  5. by   Sleepyeyes
    Also I should probably add that there is an amost palpable fear of job loss associated with openly criticizing your employer here.

    Shortage or no shortage, in our area, we are well aware that the employers would rather fire nurses than hire and pay them. (New nurses make less than more experienced nurses. You get to a certain level, and suddenly---wham! something is trumped up against you or subtle threats are made, and you know you're outta there. I've seen it. In LTC facilities in this area, at least 5 admins and DONs were fired in a six-month period following the new JACHO staffing rules. Why? Because these experienced people made more. They were replaced with newer, less experienced, thus "cheaper" employees.)

    This is an at-will state, and if you make a peep, they'll fire you.
    Seriously. And there is no one to help you, not even anyone to enforce the labor laws they already have.

    If I was younger and I didn't need a steady income, I'd fight it, but I'm not and I can't put my family through a battle.

    So fear of retaliation is the main problem with honestly addressing nursing issues in this state, IMHO.
    Last edit by Sleepyeyes on Jul 22, '02
  6. by   -jt
    Just this past weekend, RNs on several of our units called to say they were ordered to work mandatory ot for the next shift because someone was on vacation, or someone was on disability, or someone was on family medical leave - and had been - so the staffing hole on the schedule was well known for a month in advance from when their schedules were first posted with the shortages already there. But 2 hrs before the end of the day shift, RNs were being told they couldnt leave because they now had to fill those holes. Well, in our contract, mandatory ot is severely restricted to external disasters and unplanned staffing emergencies only (like if the whole shift on one unit got the flu at the same time & called in sick for that night). And even then, management has to provide us with proof that they were unable to hire agency, float from another unit within the division, obtain volunteers for ot, or bring in our per diems. Having someone on disability for a month is not a disaster or unplanned shortage. They had a months notice to plan for that shortage. So when this clause of the contract was read to the supervisor that day, she had to cancel the mandatory OT order or be in violation. She cancelled the mandatory OT without even so much as an argument & those who didnt want to work OT were able to go home at the end of their shift. RNs who were off that night & had previously placed themselves on an availability list for voluntary ot were called & worked instead.
    Last edit by -jt on Jul 23, '02
  7. by   sunshine3630
    North, South, East or West it doesn't matter. We're all in the same boat! If you read any recent research literature, the average vacancy rate is 10-11%. I believe I read Georgia has the worst (some areas being 20-22%). It would be nice to see nurses as a whole pull together and do some serious brain storming. There is well over 2 million of us--power in numbers. Ladies and Gent's were are only at the beginning. With baby boomers needing more health care & baby boomer nurses retiring, it is going to be rough!! If we don't fix it ourselves, somebody else will and I don't think that will be pretty
  8. by   nimbex
    WOW, this has all been said so difinatively!!!!

    In the south we have a serious nurse shortage. Few hospials are unionized, almost all are right to work states.... "we'll fire you on a heart beat.... you owe us your life meanwhile".

    In NC, Fayetteville, we are required 12 hours of call in a two week period, we work 3 12 hr. shifts..... This is MANDATORY OVERTIME. ANYONE WORKING CALL IS WORKING MANDATORY OVERTIME..... smarten up!

    At anytime you are displeased and feel the need to alert administration be advised you can easily be terminated.

    Must admit, despite the mandatory call/ overtime... hospital looks out for nurses best they can... staffing is not always ideal... but they try, hence the call system.

    In fayetteville we have no union, but really don't need one..... Came from NY where you HAD to be union to work... didn't do a thing but prepetuate troubled employees and made them impossible to fire

    Have seen both sides.... My hospital is opting for a nurse chosen float pool which should pay $55. plus per hour..... what we are paying agency... the nurse signs on for a select day to take call. The areas she/he chooses ICU... Step down's.... floor's... then if they are needed they are floated to the area in need of help. this would be voluntarty, but you know you can end up in one of several places you choose.

    This eliminates the mandatory OT and gives those who want OT at premium rates the CHOICE to CHOOSE.

    We have a CEO and COO who listen now to nurses needs... maybe all you need to call your board of directors or governing board and demand the support you deserve...

    I now have it..... it is invaluable

    Carol
  9. by   -jt
    <In the south we have a serious nurse shortage.>

    I was just told in another thread that nurses in Texas are doing just fine. Reading this thread, it sure doesnt sound that way. Thanks for all the responses.
  10. by   Sea Island Yank
    I work part time for one of the two largest health systems in Charleston, SC. I am part of the MRP (mobile resource pool) comprised of almost 200 RN's, LPN's, CNA's and Unit Secretaries. The MRP was formed, in part to alleviate staffing shortages and to eliminate outside agency use. The hospital pays us extra for our flexibility and also pays even more if you will work multi-facility. I choose my own schedule ie; days to work and shifts. The hospital is "fairly" well staffed and did hire a lot of new grads from the local Technical College and University.
    Having relocated here, eight years ago from a unionized hospital in Massachusetts, I have to say that yes, I am treated better here and yes, the staffing is better.
  11. by   vibe9
    I am from Missisippi. I have been traveling for 3 1/2 years now and returned in april to work here. I left to travel due to the working conditions here. Your statements about "You know how those girls are", "They must be on their period" "They are just over emotional" I have heard them all. Women are treated like we have no brains when it comes to the management. They want to here the problem then label you a trouble maker.

    We have ICU nurses here taking 3 and 4 patients and all of them vents. If you refuse due to patient safety.....harassment which includes intimidation, threatening of job, screaming hollering and many other forms are soon to follow.

    I say that most of the time "we allow what happens to us" Nurses allow this. In the south Girls are taught to be "NICE YOUNG LADIES", you don't rock the boat. WE ARE BROUGHT UP IN CO-DEPENDENT HELL!!! Hospitals and coorporations take advantage of it.

    They say "if we don't take care of them who will?". Just bump up and put the other two you are already taken care of in danger.

    Why not put them on an ambulance and send them to another hospital with staff. OR better yet DON, PUT ON YOUR SCRUBS AND GET TO WORK! No one wants to due that though you know that all mighty dollar. I would love to know who said that from mississippi because I would like to laugh in their face. If I had been standing there with a drink in my mouth I would have shot it across the room if I had been standing there.

    I am still shaking my head about that statement. It must have been a management person who sits behind a desk and draws a BONUS for cutting cost.......how do they do that......THEY CUT STAFF!!!!
  12. by   sirI
    This thread is over 3 1/2 years old.
  13. by   jodyangel
    Quote from Sleepyeyes
    Also I should probably add that there is an amost palpable fear of job loss associated with openly criticizing your employer here.

    Shortage or no shortage, in our area, we are well aware that the employers would rather fire nurses than hire and pay them. (New nurses make less than more experienced nurses. You get to a certain level, and suddenly---wham! something is trumped up against you or subtle threats are made, and you know you're outta there. I've seen it. In LTC facilities in this area, at least 5 admins and DONs were fired in a six-month period following the new JACHO staffing rules. Why? Because these experienced people made more. They were replaced with newer, less experienced, thus "cheaper" employees.)

    This is an at-will state, and if you make a peep, they'll fire you.
    Seriously. And there is no one to help you, not even anyone to enforce the labor laws they already have.

    If I was younger and I didn't need a steady income, I'd fight it, but I'm not and I can't put my family through a battle.

    So fear of retaliation is the main problem with honestly addressing nursing issues in this state, IMHO.
    Yeah amen and Amen!! Sucks big time. I seriously wonder if we'll see any differance in this nursing problem in Our lifetime.

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