i don't know if any of the younger nurses even remember ronald reagan and what he did to the the air traffic controllers; but nurses should wake up and smell the coffee. nurses need to realize that, in the case of "national crisis," all it would take is the stroke of a legislative pen or simply a presidential order to change the entire employment landscape for an industry of workers.
most american rn's (and i believe this board is primarily a us nursing centric forum)
don't realize or appreciate that in some third world countries, registered nurses are a luxury. i recall a classmate from brazil (this was years ago, i don't know if it is still the case, but the idea remains germane)
telling me once that in most hospitals there, only the director of nursing was an actual rn. the remainder of the entirety of the nursing department were either lpn's or aides. likewise, hong kong (under the british)
only decided to have rn's educated with baccalaureates within this past decade.
hospitals right now remain reluctant to hire younger inexperienced nurses because they've already streamlined and job cut themselves to the point that they no longer have the necessary resources to train or orient new rns. the older rns are working twice and hard; would it be right to have them work four times, or even ten times as hard? further, older rn's are retiring in ever growing numbers. by not back filling with new grads, the rn pipeline has effectively been shut off. eventually, something is going to give
. hiring foreign rn's is not a solution any more because it won't get by the us congress; the government requires that employers
demonstrate a critical shortage of an imported job skill that cannot be resourced by available us workers before it allows h1 visas. so we won't be seeing any massive wave of foreigner nurses like we did in the 1980's.
the above comment by barry pactor
is clearly evident that the business arena is keen to offer solutions for this. he's wrong of course, in that the shortage exist because of nursing trapped in training. the problem is that even nurses who have been fully trained are being passed over by hospitals
. many remain jobless despite graduation a year ago.
my fear is, that there is going to be a creative hospital administrator who will insist that non-rn bedside technicians be allowed to assist the rn. these will be something along the lines of a gloried aide or paramedic; who can give meds like an lpn (under an rn's supervision of course)
, but more importantly, can be trained and hired for much less than an rn. this sort of dollars and cents
solution has huge potential for political resonance if it just happens to hit the right ear. for nurses and others, who think that the national health care plans
being discussed is bad; lol... you don't know the half of it.
nurses have to realize that in order to prevent something like this, they need to be proactive in political discussions about nursing and the direction of the profession. hence, the nursing "shortage crisis" does not necessarily mean more money for nurses, but rather it could harbinger the death of an industry as we know it.
support your nursing unions!