This woman would like us to think she is on our side

  1. http://postgazette.com/businessnews/...ders0122p2.asp
    •  
  2. 23 Comments

  3. by   RNKitty
    What do you mean? I liked most of her points, except the part about staffing levels and mandatory overtime. The rest seemed pretty good. What was your beef?
  4. by   gvar
    I also thought that the column was well written and I agreed with most of what was said.

    What part in specific was a problem for you?

    I really liked the part about paying the "senior" nurses at higher levels to retain them in nursing. $80,000 per year for straight time sounds great to me. Compared with what a new RN starts at (18.75 here), that would be an appropriate amount for a 20 yr RN. I'm not there yet but I hope when I reach 20 years that my experience is worth paying for.
  5. by   Mijourney
    Hi oramar. Er um, let me guess. Problem with entry level nursing written as ADN, Diploma? Survey taken mostly from unionized nurses? ANA as only recognized spokesgroup for nurses? Am I getting close?
  6. by   -jt
    <We will not legislate ourselves out of this.....efforts to legislate staffing levels and prohibit mandatory overtime are misguided . They do not address the root cause of the problem, which is the unattractiveness of the profession.>


    That statement sent up the red flag for me. Anybody who thinks staffing levels and mandatory ot do not have to immediately be corrected & is not part of the root cause of the problem and is not what is making the profession unattractive does not understand or hear a word of what nurses are saying. We all know of places of employment where people say " you cant pay me enough to work in that hell-hole" or "I wouldnt work there if they paid me a million dollars", so any place with horrendous working conditions or abusive management practices like those can offer its nurses $80,000/yr or more & still wont find enough nurses to work for them until those conditions are repaired. At this point, legislation forcing the employers to make those repairs or be in violation of the law is the only way its going to happen because the employers sure arent taking the lead & doing it on their own.

    The article mentions the 126,000 vacant RN positions nation-wide but doesnt mention the 500,000 nurses nation-wide who are currently licensed but not working in direct care or even in nursing at the moment. We have almost 5 times as many nurses available right now for those vacant positions but it's the working conditions more than pay that they give as the reason they arent taking these jobs.

    Its hard to see how anyone can be respecting us as they hold us hostage at the end of our shift. They can pay me $100,000/yr but if I have to sacrifice my life, health, & possibly my license for it - its just not worth it. I am very wary of anyone who ignores this & just says that improving staffing levels & banning mandatory ot is "misguided" or that all we want is more pay & respect.
    Last edit by -jt on Jan 23, '02
  7. by   cmggriff
    I had a problem with "nursing" being viewed as an unattractive field. I don't view "nursing" that way. I don't work with anyone who views it that way. And I don't think a few newspaper columns will make "nursing" any more attractive. I like her call for higher pay also. But as a professional who wants to do a professional job, I see mandated staffing limits as one way to curb the high patient counts for nurses heaped on us by greedy administrators. Gary
  8. by   RNPD
    <We will not legislate ourselves out of this.....efforts to legislate staffing levels and prohibit mandatory overtime are misguided . They do not address the root cause of the problem, which is the unattractiveness of the profession.>

    I thinkthat like many people who are not nurses, SHE is misguided, although I think she means well and has some very good points. I get the impression that she feels if nursing became a more attractive & respected profession-both in the financial as well as professional sense-that this would attract more people to the profesion and alleviate the nursing shortage, thereby eliminating the need for staffing guidelines and prohibitions on mandatory OT.

    What she doesn't understand is that it is staffing shortages and mandatory OT due to corporate greed that is a root CAUSE of the nursing shortage-it is not that the shortage of nurses led to these problems, but rather greed on the part of health care facilities. The less money spent, the more in the corporate coffers-and short staffing & mandatory OT are big money savers for facilities. THAT is why we must first legally FORCE the facilities to stop these practices. Nurses tried to send a message by leaving hospitals in droves, further worsening a shortage that also has other root causes (as pointed out in the article). This didn't work-but in fact gave the hospitals an EXCUSE for these poor staffing practices. They can can point to the "shortage" as the CAUSE of short staffing and mandatory OT-"We just can hire enough nurses"-when in fact, many nurses would like to return if only theses 2 policies were eliminated.

    If nursing became a more respected profession, these policies would cease to exist, because as professionals, our opinions would matter. People would listen when we say we are too tired to offer quality, safe care, or stretched too thin to do the same. WE need to control our professional practice, not the bean counters who only know how to work with numbers-where there are NO variables-instead of people-where there are INFINITE differences!
  9. by   gvar
    [QUOTE]Originally posted by -jt
    [B]<We will not legislate ourselves out of this.....efforts to legislate staffing levels and prohibit mandatory overtime are misguided . They do not address the root cause of the problem, which is the unattractiveness of the profession.>

    I don't think she was saying that these areas should not be addressed, just that without fixing the problems in nursing that led to these things (short staffing and mandatory OT) we may be able to change laws but we won't have the nurses to actually do them.

    As for the "unattractive" remark, a job with poor wage progression, mandatory OT, poor staffing ratios and inner bickering over the ADN BSN issue would look unatttractive to someone trying to decide on a career path.

    I love my job and can't imagine doing anything else, but there are definitely draw backs. I think we have to realistic about it.
  10. by   nurseleigh
    I agreed with the part about nursing being an unattractive field, and this is why.
    Every time someone asks me "What are you going to school for?" and i tell them nursing I get comments such as:

    Why do you want to do THAT?!?!?!
    Are you sure that is a good idea?
    Why not go into something better, like accounting?
    Do you want to wipe-butts for the rest of your life?


    and so on and so forth.

    That tells me that nursing is not seen as a good career choice by the public.
    Plus, I feel like this is one of the few careers where over half of the people that are already in the field discourage anyone else fro getting into it!!!

    Just my two cents.

    Traci
  11. by   -jt
    <we may be able to change laws but we won't have the nurses to actually do them.>


    Actually we already DO have the nurses. An important Congressional Research report last May found that there are 500,000 of them nation-wide who are licensed but not working in nursing & most have said its first because of the working conditions, as well as inadequate pay & benefits. Thats almost 20% of all the available nurses in this country & they are will not work in hospitals or in nursing. Since there are only 126,000 vacant positons, we already have more than enough numbers of current nurses, even if just a fraction of them came back to work. But they wont do that until the working conditions along with the salary & benefits are improved. The numbers of nurses ARE out there right now but increasing pay alone is not going to bring them back to the bedside.



    <As for the "unattractive" remark, a job with poor wage progression, mandatory OT, poor staffing ratios and inner bickering over the ADN BSN issue would look unatttractive to someone trying to decide on a career path.>


    Exactly - and the major 2 of those problems CAN be resolved by legislation. Legislation to correct staffing levels & prohibit mandatory ot as a staffing tool is not only not misguided but is desparately needed.

    Too bad that article didnt have a "reply" button. The comments in this thread are all impressive.
  12. by   RNKitty
    Anyone good on the computor? I though the article included an e-mail address for responses, but I have no idea how to attach/send/forward etc.
  13. by   NRSKarenRN
    Mail can be sent to: Business@Post-gazette.com

    or you can go the the article above, look for the box on the top right side of the articcle and click directly on the light blue words: Business@Post-gazette.com .

    That will open up an email letter form taht you can type and sen your response.

    Good Luck.
    Karen
  14. by   RNKitty
    I sent the following e-mail to the paper:

    To whom it may concern:

    The article, "The Private Sector: Needed -- Work environment that supports nursing
    excellence", written by Rosanne Clementi Saunders raises some interesting points, but also
    contributes to common and dangerous misperceptions regarding nurses. I truly do
    appreciate Ms. Saunders efforts to cast nursing in a better light, however the problems with
    the profession run deeper than image. If image were the problem, a good marketing
    campaign would solve the issue.

    The issues of inadequate numbers of staff and inadequately trained staff available,
    the minimizing of the dangers of manditory overtime, lack of compensation for education
    and experience, lack of adequate retention policies by health care institutions have all been
    overlooked.

    "The numbers are significant and particularly alarming, because of the shortage of
    nurses."
    "The American Hospital Association recently announced that there are 126,000
    nurse vacancies nationally and that the current nursing shortage will be long-term."

    It is estimated that there are about 500,000 nurses who have LEFT the bedside due to
    unsatisfactory work conditions. There is no shortage of good nurses looking for good
    jobs! If we change the working conditions, benefits, and compensation we could draw
    more nurses back into the field. These are nurses who are already licensed and trained.

    "We will not legislate our way out of this shortage through mandates. In my opinion,
    efforts to legislate staffing levels and prohibit mandatory overtime are misguided.
    They do not address the root cause of the problem, which is the unattractiveness of
    the profession."

    I would suggest that one of the reasons the profession is unattractive is unsafe staffing levels
    and mandatory overtime. Just how does Rosanne feel we will solve staffing levels and the
    issue of mandatory overtime without legislation? Is she assuming the hospitals would never
    place their patients in an unsafe situation? If hospitals would not practice short staffing to
    save money in the budget, and mandatory overtime to staff the next shift, nurses wouldn't
    be seeking legislation to prevent these situations.

    Many hospitals currently under staff and ask nurses to float to areas outside of their scope
    of expertise when other units are busy, reinforcing the notion that "a nurse is just a nurse".
    If that were so, then why is it that nurses take pride in specializing in certain areas of care?
    Would you want a Labor and Delivery nurse caring for your loved one in the ICU? How
    about a psych nurse resuscitating your baby in the delivery room? Can you honestly say,
    "Of course, that would NEVER happen!"? Wake up. It happens.

    Mandatory overtime itself is dangerous. Imagine that your nurse has just worked all night
    long caring for you and her 6 other patients. Two nurses from the day shift call in sick, so
    the supervisor 'mandates' that your nurse stay overtime to care for you. Do you imagine
    that she will be functioning at peak proficiency?

    Nurses cannot abandon their patients. If we abandon our patients and leave them in an
    unsafe situation without adequate personnel to care for them, WE CAN LOSE OUR
    LICENSE. The hospitals know this and threaten unemployment or loss of license by
    nurses refusing to stay an extra shift on mandatory overtime.

    What about if she worked a day shift and has to pick her child up from daycare by
    4:00pm. Nurses have families and responsibilities outside of the job. Some employers do
    not consider this fact. If you are talking about the unattractiveness of the profession, this
    situation stresses the FAMILY of the nurse as well as the nurse herself. Why would a
    nurse continue to work in such a situation? Would you?

    "Locally, some positive steps are being taken to lift up the profession of nursing and
    increase public appreciation for the role of nurses in the health care system. The
    Cameos of Caring Award, initiated several years ago by the former Dean of the
    University of Pittsburgh School of Nursing, recognizes excellence in hospital nursing.
    The recent media campaign by the UPMC Health System, which features nurses, is
    another laudable effort. It acknowledges that world class health care is not achieved
    without world-class nurses."

    Oh, good. A certificate of achievement will make everything better.

    "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 care plans
    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.

    (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.)

close
This woman would like us to think she is on our side