Greetings to all,
I know in my capitalistic heart of hearts the only solution to the"nursing shortage" is to pay a professional wage! People will "want" to become nurses. If a nurse could indeed afford to live in a home, drive a nicer automobile, raise a family, purchase nicer things, take vacations, and do the same things as other professionals on one salary - that one being the one of the nurse - poof, the nursing shortage would be solved.
I am quite tired of hearing limp wristed proposals where special moneys are made available for new nurses training as an enticement to enter the profession. This simply does not work! It is a so called band aid on a gaping wound! Make the compensation for the new modern nursing function
significant enough to attract people into it.
Make them pay for the education themselves. Borrowing, as I did, or doing whatever they feel necessary to raise the funds to go to College. Make the expense simply a part of becoming a Registered Nurse.
I do not ever seem to recall any national problem recruiting prospective students into becoming lawyers, doctors, business (MBA's CEO's) , or any other "profession." The reason is plainly because these disciplines provide monetary compensation for the education needed to attain it after they are earned.
Nursing simply does not sufficiently reward practitioners, if we can even be called that. The financial rewards (gain) necessary to attract enough people enough to endure the educational,financial, emotional, physical, and other stressors and risks for such poor remuneration. Simply put the risks of Nursing significantly outweigh the gains to most people who are considering a career choice. This makes it a poor choice for
any success minded youngster to enter practice as an RN.
It should not be unheard of for every RN to make $100,000 in 2002 dollars! It should be the norm for a beginning Registered Nurse. Paying a pittance for one of the highest stressed jobs in the world should no longer be tolerated. With this money comes the respect from administration, government, and every one else in our capitalistic society.
At that rate of pay the profession will attract successful people.
Nursing will no longer be the domain of a "washing machine" wage earner. No more emptying the trash, filling out redundant forms having the same information written on page after page. Supplemental staff would be available to perform the non-nursing "additional duties" currently assigned because a nurse is not really valued.
Bean counters and efficiency experts would be brought in to help hospitals and other places where nurses work to effectively limit the non-nursing tasks we do not need to do and should not be doing. Nurses would dictate notes and have a transcriptionist to print them.
I sound greedy to some: the altruistic, the administrators, the
government, and perhaps to the public at large. Earning about $40,000 a year, as the average nurse does, is very poor compensation in comparison to the true nursing functions we perform every day. We commit an egregious injustice to young people attempting to entice them into a poorly compensated highly stressful position in nursing.
Managed care will scream we do not have that kind of money to pay. Government will clamor that the budget does not support that kind of expense for nursing. Perhaps they are right! I do not believe this is true.
When all is said and done the only thing that will attract people into a field is a promise of significant earnings - period! Do we want nurses or are we as a country really saying that we do not want nurses. Put your money where your mouth is! Pay Registered Nurses as if they were valued. Everything else will magically fall into place!
Norbert Holz RN
Jun 20, '02
You are so on the money. Please send this to newspapers as an op ed piece. I too agree that the money is there. Just look at the salaries of Insurance Co. and hospital execs. In my health system we have 6 figure VP's for literally everything. I have no doubt insurance companies are the same. Our CEO takes out the CEO's of managed care contractors at all the finer, most expensive places to attract them to our health system. Shouldn't this be the other way around?? I am so disgusted with our suits who are raking in the money personally and then waste everyones time doing these bogus committees and studies on how to better the workplace. Don't tell me that the staff has to tighten OUR belts! We are the ones who are short staffed and have to hunt for the equipment we need to save peoples lives.
The nursing shortage exists due to the way healthcare PROFESSIONALS have been treated over the years. Last year our suits gave us crayons and attitude cards to "color our attitudes". Our manager was smart enough not to risk her life handing them out. I told the President of the hospital that it was the most insulting thing (and there have been innumerable insults over the years) I have seen there yet. He said "yeah, it didn't go over well. Next month we're looking at doing something with lifesavers." Before I could get a word out one of my colleagues jump up and screamed at him about how clueless he was. He didn't agree.
We save peoples lives. WE DO. Do you know how rare it is that a doctor catches a life threatening problem in a hospital setting? They are rarely in the room. I have seen docs get their assessment from the nurses flowsheet. They never even go in the room. This is in an ICU!!! Make no mistake, they still charge for the visit!
Working conditions, pay and retirement benefits must change. We must be able to take the vacation time we earn without worrying it will be denied. This is just the starting point. We ahve to take the reigns of healthcare back from the business people who have ruined it.
Jun 20, '02
Well said Norbert!
Now how do we convince the hospitals of this!
Jun 20, '02
Perhaps if we point out that if we continue to leave there will be far fewer hospitals. That will directly impact their 6 and 7 figure salaries. Unfortunately, that is the only language these execs seem to relate to.
Jun 20, '02
from deep in the heart of Texas
Its easy to solve just get all us older nurses off the golf course and put us to work instead of golfing
Jun 20, '02
You are right on the ball with this one!!!!
Now if there were only a way to convince those who run the health care system this is the way it should be. You need to take that letter and submitt it to every major newspaper in the country!
It is a very sad state of being when we as college educated people who deal with life and death every day make less then the garbage men in the area.
Jun 20, '02
I've been attempting to change the poor pay and lousy practice problems for years. My efforts, although only the efforts of one Nurse, impact the whole practice environment no matter how small they may seem.
I have stopped working as a Nurse. Taking a sales position for 9 months.
I've worked as an agency Nurse for a considerable time of my entire pratice. I report facilitys that over work and under appretieate Nurses here and on other sites to warn and make aware my peers. I refuse to go to some facilitys where conditions are intollerable. I protest unsafe or too many patients to care for to the charge and manager .
Basicly, in order to effectively implement these changes we, as in all nurses, need to enact our own individual efforts in order to raise the standards of our profession. This means that no Nurse should work for the pittance offered by the employing entities. Collectively all of these small contributions will address these problems.
Quite a lot of Nurses find this aspect totally unacceptable. They rely on the megar incomes to supplement the earnings of their spouses. This allows them to buy the extras to raise the standard of living of their families.
As stated so many times by so many Nurses, idealy, we need to become one voice. Or at least a small number of clear loud ones. Given our diversity, it is unlikely that we will ever achieve these goals. Making individual efforts, I feel, is the only option avaliable. "Speak with your feet!" Only by leaving unacceptable pratice environments or poorly compensated situations will we be heard.
To explain this in business talk IE "bean counter" supply must diminish to increase the price or compensation of the comidity. The Shortage of Nurses willing to submit to these conditions and poor compensation has and will cause the pratice settings to do whatever it takes to recruit and retain the practitioners necessary to meet the needs of that facility. These influences will cause the changes we need!
Jun 20, '02
Hey, I like money too, don't get me wrong. BUT healthcare is already too expensive and I doubt the public would agree to paying more so nurses will make more.
The suits sure won't take a pay cut so we can get a raise, either.
But hey, it's nice dreaming.
Jun 20, '02
Repeat after me: there is no shortage of nurses. There IS a shortage of nurses willing to work for a certain price. (And "price" does not just include salary: working conditions, stress, respect are all factors in the price equation).
That having been said, the primary problem in nursing is that there is a limited number of "customers" for nurses: usually hospitals, and other such facilities. The way to increase salaries for nurses is NOT some sort of mandate for higher pay; it's to increase the competition for nurses. Nurses who go into business for themselves are a good start in that direction.
I've been self-employed for 20 years. I am respected, valued, and make a good income. The "average" nurse mentioned in the first posting is most likely employed by someone else. Comparing an employed nurse with a self-employed physician (for example) is comparing apples and oranges. The self-employed usually make more money than the employed (not always ... there are no guarantees) but we are assuming risks that the employed are not.
If you want more money, self-respect, and fulfillment, stop whining, and take control of your life.
Jim Huffman, RN
Jun 20, '02
How are you feeling Norbert?
Jun 21, '02
I agree with all of us... I am not a nurse yet, but I am working on it.. This is another factor, colleges. They have people on waiting lists to get into the program. If they were receiving an efficient amount of funds they could have more classes available for more nursing students. But hey, that is my opinion
Jun 23, '02
I'm a brand nu grad, and I agree that health care in this country is totally out of whack. And nurses should get more respect! The public has no idea about the degree to which nurses are responsible for patients' well-being, especially in her (and his) role as a patient advocate. Not to mention the potential for fatal med errors @ all times.
One thing bothers me, though--the $$$ issue. Leaving aside the fact that administrators and "consultants" make ridiculous amounts of money, part of the reason that I chose to get a nursing degree is that the money is actually decent. I'm single, 33 y.o., and never made more than $18K/yr. before now. I don't think I'll have any problem living on $40-$50K/yr., which is NOT a "pittance". Or am I missing something? If so please advise.
Jun 23, '02
25 years in nursing and only making 20.00hr now--$5 less that my perdiem work 10 years ago but daytime hrs MF, 1 we/month homecare. Husband laidoff and disabled, 2 teenage (wolves). Only able to live paychek to paycheck now as 40,000 yr only stretches so far. Continue to see patients perdiem to pick up money. If we continued insurance thru husband COBRA, it would cost 1,050/month thats 12,000yr or 1/4 of my pay.
If husband denied disabilty, will probably need to look at other postion within organization or move on.
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