This woman would like us to think she is on our side - page 2
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Jan 23, '02GREAT Letter! Couldn't have done so well myself. Articulate and covered most concerns.
Jan 24, '02<(How did I do? It's the first time I have done anything like this. Hope I didn't disgrace the profession by poor English or anything.)>
You did great! It may be the first time but I hope its not the last.
You should know that when you write your local paper consistently on an issue, they file you as somewhat of an authority on the issue for future reference. I just found that little detail out the other day when I was called at home out of the blue at 10pm by my local newspaper asking for comments on a new healthcare law that the governor had just signed that night to use a cigarette tax and Blue Cross monies to raise the salaries of healthcare workers. My first reaction was "How the heck did my name come up at the newspaper???"
After that was explained, my comment was that until abusive management practices like forced overtime and resistence to establishing safe staffing levels cease, & until working conditions such as lack of support personnel & lack of equipment to assist with the physical labor of the job are corrected, no effort to recruit new people to this profession will have any real effect. There are some things that, no matter how much we are paid to do them, are just not worth the risk. Then I gave her the names of 2 other nurses who would comment similarly. When the story was published the next day, our names, titles, backgrounds & comments were there & the article made clear that nurses were not jumping up & down celebrating a state-funded small raise in salaries. The message was very clear.
Jan 24, '02<how did I do>>
I loved this part:
<<<"UPMC Health System is taking the lead in addressing this issue through its new
program that pays senior nurses up to $80,000 per year."
Bring it on! Now are they going to couple that with retirement benefits, health care benefits
during retirement, continuing education allowance, adequate RN to patient ratios,
elimination of mandatory overtime? Will the patients be cared for by well rested nurses
who are up-to-date on the current research of the specialty?
"Perhaps most important, all of our health-care institutions must strive to create a
work environment that supports nursing excellence."
Let's not be naive. The health care institutions are in the business to make money. They
are not going to change their practices unless the PUBLIC demands better. Nurses are
fighting on the picket lines and in Congress to improve the safety of the work environment
for both nurses and patients. We are not nuns who have given up all worldly possessions
and serve the public out of religious convictions. We are professionals who are highly
educated, highly skilled, and passionate about our CHOSEN profession. Pay us what we
are worth, value our education and experience, and offer retirement and health
that will actually take of us when we retire after giving 30 years of SERVICE to the
public. Then, we might entice more nurses to actively practice.>>>>
Jan 24, '02I have a couple of friends who have been at the bedside for close to 30 years over at the little hospital at which I used to work. They will crap themselves when they hear this. All of them are making maybe 45 grand if they are lucky and looking at pityful pensions. Some of them switched to 401Ks about 5 years ago. They really got slammed when the stock market tanked.
Jan 24, '02<All of them are making maybe 45 grand if they are lucky and looking at pityful pensions. Some of them switched to 401Ks about 5 years ago. They really got slammed when the stock market tanked.>
where I work we have excellent salaries - even for living in NYC. But we've been unionized almost 20 yrs & building those salaries ever since. Now, our salaries are so good that in the last contract negotiations, the nurses were even saying they didnt need a raise! We negotiated one anyway. lol. No way were going into a new 3 yr contract with no raises no matter what.
The thing that bugs me is that for the last 15 yrs, most nurses at my hospital have not considered pensions to be such a big deal. At other facilities all around us, nurses have been in the NYSNA benefit/pension plan for years. The plan did so well all thru the 90's that the employer didnt have to make contributions to it - the dividends paid for itself. That pension plan saved all those hospitals a tremendous amount of money thru that entire decade. The list of hospitals participating in it is 2 full single spaced type written pages long. Mine must be the only one not on it. Its a better plan & was more expensive for the hospitals but they all took it anyway & saved a ton of money because they did. Mine refused. Now, long time nurses at these places are retiring with several thousand $$$ a month. I know one who worked her whole career in one of those facilities with that plan & retired with over $4,000/mth pension.
But nurses at my hospital never thought it was so important and chose not to fight for it so they always had just a 5% employer contribution pension (403b) based on the starting salary at the facility - not even based on their own full salary. Yes we are unionized but the nurses run it & they decide what is important to them as their own group, so no matter how much those of us who understood talked till we were blue in the face, the majority didnt want to go after the better pension. Now in their 40's & just starting to think about pensions & hearing what their colleagues around the city are retiring with, theyre having a fit at my hospital - yet with the new contract last December, they wouldnt fight for more than an increase to 6% on their whole individual salary.
Now at this age, even if we switch now, we will never make up what we should have so some of them are saying they wont benefit themselves from a better pension - only new younger nurses coming in would, so why bother fighting for it now.
Most of our hospitals RNs in this city are unionized by the same union - NYSNA - and my hospital lost a lot of nurses over the years to nearby hospitals that offered the same salaries, similar contracts, but the better benefit/pension plan from our union. All they had to do to better their own future was go work down the street. Now those who stayed put & never thought about a pension are kicking themselves in the butt.... but still not fighting for the better plan.
Jan 25, '02I have to say the article was well written and did hit on some key points. Whether or not we agree . There is a big problem with nursing and it won't become smooth over night.
The whole image is so negative it only feeds into our frustration. She is right we must change that image. I like nursing, there are days when I can't wait to be off and then there are days I am proud to be there. Regardless of ADN/BSN we became a nurse for a reason I think it is important we look at ourselves first before any improvement can be made.
Jan 25, '02I can tell you for sure guys, that no bedside nurse at UPMC will be making $80 grand a year. I read the article too. And she has good points but there's a few things she didn't mention.
UPMC has just developed a clinical ladder. I happened to be able to read a copy of it before it was actually implemented. It is soley based on education and management. The only way to get to the $80 grand a year is to have a BSN and be working on your Masters and to leave the bedside and become management.
This is again leaving the dedicated bedside nurse in the dust. Believe me the nurses at UPMC that are making that kind of money are not taking care of patients.
Maybe if that health system spent less money on their annoying commercials and more on their health care workers they would be able to keep them.
Sorry just venting!!! I think the woman that wrote the article meant well but she's in somebody's pocket, and I think we can see it, too bad the general public can't.
P.S. RNKitty great letter, couldn't have said it better myself!!!!!Last edit by kaycee on Jan 25, '02
Jan 25, '02Most of you make very good points about nursing, nursing in Pittsburgh and this article. Please consider responding. The last article Oramar posted prompted me to write, and my letter was priinted. One of my instructors from nursing school called me to tell me how proud she was of me, that she had made copies, put it in the mailbox of all my former instructors (that makes me laugh)and read it to her classes and discussed the importance of being active. This was much further reaching than I had anticipated! Go gettum!! You guys are the best!!! Thanks Oramar!
Jan 25, '02I would have to agree with JT that there is not a nursing shortage, as some nursing schools would like the public to believe.
Nurses do not want to work under unsatisfactory conditions so they go into something else.
Hospitals are working the nurses that they have to the bone. Many of the jobs out there in the classifieds are the jobs that no one wants.
I am glad that nursing schools are raising their standards to only let the cream of the crop get in, BUT that's not going to solve the problem, there will just be more good nurses out there who do not want to work under unsatisfactory conditions.
Everytime I hear an Academic Advisor say there is a nursing shortage I just want to CRINGE!
Jan 25, '02I agree that there is no real nursing shortage. Manufactured shortages are touted periodically for whatever reason may be deemed expedient at the moment. I do not believe management will ever try to lure nurses back into the fold. They would have to deal with experienced negotiators who know what's going on and who have the moxey to call ******** on anyone who tries to intimidate them. I suspect I will be pushing up daisies before nurses present a united front. I would be quite comfortable with 80K a year, thank you very kindly.