I am just a few months shy of being in nursing fifteen years! The changes I have witnessed since my clinical days in school until now are: (1) there is less emphasis on patient care and more emphasis on politics and redtape (by management, not nurses in general). (2) HMO Insurance Companies have superceded their level of authority in the health care field, putting patients' preventive health measures on the back burner, as well as placing a dollar sign to whether this or that patient receives the necessary treatment he or she might need. (3) MONEY TALKS, so if a person does not carry private health care coverage and have extra money to boot in preventing themselves from getting sicker before their illness is noted, patients end up being admitted much sicker than in the past years of nursing. (4) PAPER WORK, PAPER WORK, PAPER WORK!!! There is entirely too much paper work instituted in the nursing profession today compared to the paper work nurses use to deal with in years past. (5) There is a lot more hostility noted among nurses today than in the past when nurses could really be the nurses they desired to be after graduation. The hostility nurses have is obviously from the overload of work, the poor salary increases over the years, being recognized as the professionals that we are, and be trusted to perform the patient care that we passed state boards to do. Any anger and hostility nurses have is "understandably right" to experience, but what we are doing with our anger is the problem.
To address the anger and hostility that is present among nurses today, we should direct that negative energy into positive energy, band together and fight for our own rights as well as our patients rights to have the nurses caring for them that we all want them to have. We are allowing management to divide us as nurses when we are the ones who truly have the power to make the changes necessary in nursing today. Turn the floors around in the hospital to make a statement that "nurses are back", and we are back to stay by: (a) stop tolerating what management dishes out (b) refuse to put managements paperwork before total patient care (c) refocus our attention where it needs to be (d) bring decentralized nursing back to the units where each unit has it's own nurse manager who has the authority to hire according to the needs of their unit, who does their own interviewing, who has their own budget for the needs of their units, who schedules unit meetings/ceu training/cpr training/ekg training, etc., on their unit for their staff. I have tons of ideas that I know if I were given a unit to manage, my unit would supercede any that exist today because I've been in nursing long enough to see nursing go from being a respected profession among hospital staffing and management to one that simply "jumps when management says jump".
NURSES, we can bring nursing back to where it is safe, rewarding, respected, and recognized if we want to. Fear of being fired is a natural occurrence on any job, even a job we like as things happen in life that create change when we least expect it. When David slew Goliath with a stone from a slingshot, he was most definitely afraid, but he had courage, and that is what helped him to overcome his fear and become victorious. We can become victorious even in the midst of our fear. NO WAR IS EVER WON WITHOUT FEAR, yet soldiers have the courage to fight war in the midst of their fear. We, too, can be the warriors that our soldiers are. There is more than one kind of war to be won in our nation, and there is a major war being fought in the field of nursing today, and nurses are only losing because we are afraid to fight back, stand together and be counted and respected for our profession.
There are plenty of nurses in management who would love to see these positive changes take place in nursing. Not all management is bad. I have worked for Nurse Managers who truly do care about their staff, and I have worked for a few who could care less about their staff as long as they pull their own paycheck every other week. TO THE NURSE MANAGERS WHO CARE: PLEASE do not allow the political arena around you on your job to supercede that which you know in your gut to be the right thing to do for your staff and for your patients. You, too, must muster up the courage to make the necessary changes that need to be made in order for the nursing profession to return to a respectable and rewarding profession.
The only shortage in nursing today is the shortage of brain power to heal the nursing profession. Nurses, we have the brain power necessary to make the changes we are all screaming about that need to be done.
I love nursing so much that it hurts me to see what has happened to our profession over the past fifteen years. I am drafting a letter to send to the "heads that be" in Washington DC so that our profession can be restored to what it use to be. We can't simply look to others above us to fight our war, nurses, but we must fight our own battle in nursing if we ever expect to see a major turn around for the betterment of ourselves and our patients, and health care as a whole.
Sorry so longwinded, askater, but nursing is a very passionate area of my life, and there is nothing I wouldn't give to see it return to the healthy respectable profession it use to be...actually it still is, but it is just smothered with too much politics, redtape, paperwork, and a megadose of management intereference in the wrong direction. Let's not forget the damage HMO INSURANCE has done to our profession, either. GO NURSES!!!