I think nurses share some of the blame for the nursing shortage. - page 7

I read recently that only 12% of all nurses are under the age of 30. Being a new graduate BSN and practicing nursing for 18 months, I found that statistic pretty horrifying. I have been visiting... Read More

  1. by   SFCardiacRN
    I know that students and new grads use this site to complain and vent...and this is a good place for it. But you must remember that you are only reading one side of the story. They may not like being "eaten" but they don't tell you that they: Took a BP over an AV Fistula graft or forgot to unclamp a chest tube, placed an NG tube using ointment and tested placement with 30mls of saline, Used a sterile backtable as an arm rest and had to be told twice to stop asking the surgeon questions, told a family member that the decubitus was from infrequent turning or that the cleft palate was kinda "cute", tried to hang antibiotics on an arterial line or bolus Vancomycin peripherally. And sure I may be mad for a few days when my relief calls in sick at the last minute and I have to work 4 more hours only to find out later how much fun they had at the waterpark.
    I work in a unit with 30 RN's and we have become like family. We have all the good times and bad like any other family. Sure we have arguments and hurt feelings but we also help each other and have great holiday parties. Perpetuating the myth that we are somehow meaner or bitchier than other fields is just a self feeding inaccuracy.
  2. by   brina
    Hello, I am a newly graduated GN, from a BSN program. I believe the nursing shortage stems from a couple of reasons and that they all tie in to one another and just forms a vicious cycle. We have chosen a profession that does not really value education and slightly values experience. And while some will say that experience in nursing is indeed valued, it is not often reflected in pay.

    I believe that there is not a shortage of nursing schools, but in qualified nursing instructors. Most nurses who have advanced their education to the Masters level do not want to go into education with the lack of compensation and low pay being the number one reason. So you have all of these people wanting to attend nursing school but having to be turned away because their is not enough faculty to accomodate them. I think that this problem could be fixed by :

    1) Increasing the pay of MSN's to at least $70,000 annually. This would draw more nurses to the education field knowing that they could make a decent living AND do what they love.

    2) Allow BSN nurses to teach clinical courses. At my nursing school the ratio was 10 clinical students to 1 instructor. When there was a shortage of clinical instructors that meant at least 10 students would have to wait another semester to start clinical. By allowing BSN's to teach clinicals, this would increase faculty, which would increase the number of nursing students, which would help to DECREASE the nursing shortage.

    Now, because nursing does not seem to value education (thus people not wanting to pursue MSN's because there's not a significant increase in pay, or ADN's not wanting to pursue a BSN because there's not a significant increase in pay), you have nurses staying in bedside nursing positions year after year after year with minimal compensation experiencing burnout and bitterness. Now say its 10 yrs later and there's a new grad coming to your unit who makes a few dollars less than you! This has to get to the best of persons!! But this is nursing.

    Until we stop fighting amongst ourselves and behaving as crabs, hating for the next person to get a little more than we do (ADN's who believe that BSN's should not make a penny more than they do for one reason or another), this viscious cycle will continue. Sometimes we have to look at the big picture and see things down the line years from now. Our profession will always be in the low $20's per hr.(no experience) to high $20's per hr. for 15 yrs + experience) if we keep collectively putting and pulling each other down. Remember, if it only took a 2yr degree to become a doctor and make $100,000 plus a yr, everyone would be trying to be a doctor!! But more importantly, the pay would NOT be as high because it would only take a 2 yr investment to make 6 figures. I think that we should all value one another and promote policies and pay that will benefit nurses as a whole. Today we might be a graduate nurse or a ADN, but one day we will be the nurse with 20 yrs of experience or a BSN or MSN and we should want those people in those positions to be properly compensated so that we will also be compensated when we get there.

  3. by   SFCardiacRN
    BSN and MSN are paid more but only when they use their advanced degrees. If an MSN remains in med/surg, they will be compensated like the other med/surg RN's. There is a huge shortage of clinical instructors. Not many MSN's are willing to take a pay cut to teach full time.
  4. by   casper1
    I've been a nurse 13 years. I do not agree that nuses eat their young. In general I think nurses are very supportive of one another. I rarely have seen the behavior you describe. I've also work in the business word befor becoming a nurse. I left the business world because of the me first attitude. In the business community I was rarely given support and encouragement. From Day 1 as a nurse I have been encouraged and supported. Most of the nurses I have encontered will say the same
  5. by   sjrn85
    I swear, I am so sick and tired of that "nurses eat their young" urban legend. Mean people eat other people. Stop with the ageism, already!

    I've said it before, and I'll say it again: Experienced nurses eat inexperienced nurses. New nurses who think they know it all eat newer nurses, and sometimes they go after older nurses who they perceive as being "fossils." Students try to eat nurses who have actual experience and not in the "all book knowledge, no practical experience" stage anymore.

    Hostility is not age specific. I almost wish the admin. here would make the "nurses eat their young" phrase a violation of the TOS, that's how irritating it is to me. It is a myth that gets perpetuated when a few people have bad experiences.

    I have plenty of teeth marks left from younger nurses who tried to "eat" me; that doesn't mean I'd make a stereotype about new nurses.
  6. by   Muzicone
    After 16 years as an LPn I went back to school for my RN. I must say that as a student I witnessed Nurses eating their young and in fact was being eaten alive. What a tough position to be in to be taken alive by a 24 year old new grade when I have already been out there for 16 years and was twice her age. I think this profession needs to welcome new comers with a smile and help them. Respect. After all it is very scarey getting into this field. And everyone had to start somewhere!
  7. by   Sheri257
    I honestly don't know where a lot of this is coming from. For every nasty RN I've ever met, be it instructor, clinicals for school, or working on the job, there were 10 really great ones. Granted, the bad experiences tend to stick out more than the good ones because they were more unusual but, whenever I've had a problem with someone I told them in so many words to knock it off ... and they did. That was the end of it. Otherwise, I've had really positive experiences with the vast majority of RN's I've worked with.

    The biggest problems I've encountered actually is with management. If the management at a facility sucks then it won't be a good place to work. But that's usually not the RN's fault except for, of course, the few RN's who are in management.

    Last edit by Sheri257 on Dec 22, '05
  8. by   RN4NICU
    Quote from sjrn85

    Hostility is not age specific. I almost wish the admin. here would make the "nurses eat their young" phrase a violation of the TOS, that's how irritating it is to me. It is a myth that gets perpetuated when a few people have bad experiences.
    I will second that. I would also nominate comments along the lines of "it's because most nurses are women and that's how women are" as TOS violations. Sexism is just as bad as ageism.
  9. by   sjrn85
    Quote from RN4NICU
    I will second that. I would also nominate comments along the lines of "it's because most nurses are women and that's how women are" as TOS violations. Sexism is just as bad as ageism.
    And I'll second that, too.
  10. by   hipab4hands
    Our upper management discourages "team spirit". If a group of nurses get too friendly with each other, management will break the group up and reassign them elsewhere.
    I can't tell you the number of times, I have been verbally disciplined for helping out one of my coworkers, when they had a questions or needed help.
  11. by   SFCardiacRN
    A lot of new grads and and experienced but new employees end up in "toxic" units because that is where the high turnover rates are. Hospitals put you where the need is greatest. Just ask the float nurses! They know which units are pleasant and which are not. I think the problem is at the unit supervisor level. Some have poor management skills, clueless about conflict resolution, and play favorites with staff. To paint an entire hospital or profession as toxic is just unfounded bias. Nursing presents too many opportunities to remain in bad situations. If your unhappy, blame yourself.
    There are terrific jobs and co-workers out there. I LOVE BEING A NURSE!
  12. by   Marie_LPN, RN
    I will second that. I would also nominate comments along the lines of "it's because most nurses are women and that's how women are" as TOS violations. Sexism is just as bad as ageism.

    Oh i get SOOOO sick and tired of hearing/reading that lame-arsed scapegoating put-off excuse also.
  13. by   ortess1971
    Quote from Snoopd
    I agree with what you say about the nursing "shortage", although I feel it's more a shortage of attractive jobs than a shortage of actual licensed nurses. However, one problem that contributes to the negative aspects of nursing is the way student nurses are treated by their instructors. In nursing school one has a target on their head from the day they start until the day they finish. They can be dropped at any time for almost any reason. This is so unlike medical school, where once one is accepted into the program, it is almost impossible to be dropped. True it's harder to get in, but once you are in you are in till the end. The support and respect and encouragement are temendous. One of my friends just completed the first year of medical school and he said on the first day the director told them "we will not allow you to fail, you are here till you finish the program." This is in sharp contrast to what our nursing director told us on our first day - "by the end of the program, only half of you will be here". Is that supposed to impress anyone? Does that make it a good program or reflect the level or quality of education that can be expected? So at my school there seems to be a tradition of "let's see if we can find reasons to drop people", then we can "show" everyone how hard our program is, rather than educating them and building up their confidence. Ironically, this program has one of the worst historical NCLEX passing rates in the state. Their justification for this is of course two things, "patient safety", and "critical thinking". It's amazing how the nursing education and profession continuously trumpets these two phrases and uses them as justification for everything they decide to do to themselves and their students and fellow employees. You don't hear doctors and other health care workers braying about this every minute of the day - it's so obvious, it doesn't need to be constantly trumpeted, yet in nursing education these phrases are applied and used to justify every action, however bizaare, misdirected, or unjust. This results in being tested on materials that were never covered in class, being expected to perfect clinical skills when there is no lab time to practice them except at the clinical site itself- how scary is that- and instructors who use their own subjectivity in deciding who will pass and who will fail. What is the solution? We need to set higher standards for incoming nursing students and then educate them and support them until they finish- and see to it that they finish on time, like medical students. There should also be high standards set for nursing instructors. Many of them have no prior teaching experience and no education certification. There is a noticible difference in the teaching ability of nursing instructors and teachers who teach other subjects such as biology anatomy, or ethics. Thus, nursing instructors need to be carefully screened and evaluated before being allowed to teach. Even though there is a nursing "shortage" and a shortage of nursing instructors, hiring someone "off the nursing floor" who happens to have a masters just doesn't necessarily create a good instructor. An additional problem that this creates is that the "fresh off the floor" instructor brings all their biasses and past grudges and opnions with them, and often the students are exposed to these and often negatively affected. That "eat their young mentality" is transfered to a new generation of future nurses and the pathetic cycle continues. I believe that is why many nursing students drop out, or are unjustly graded and end up being dropped from their program. The instructors "set the atmosphere" and the atmosphere today is a very bad one.
    Amen to that! I by no means think that as students we should be coddled but the person that said that we are paying them for our education hit it right on the head. I finish in May and I have attained a backbone my last year in nursing school. I am not rude to staff or my instructor but I do not tolerate someone taking out their bad day on me. I am at clinical to learn but I am not there to pick up a staff nurses slack if she is at the computer, on Ebay or reading her email. One nurse rolled her eyes at me because a patient(not the one I was assigned to) needed a med and I told her I would be glad to do it but we are not allowed to go into the pyxis-I had to wait for my instructor. Trust me, that was the last time I ever answered a call light for that nurse. Laziness is not a phenomenon seen only in students. Thankfully most of the nurses at that hospital were great and they themselves knew which of their coworkers were nasty and lazy-the good ones would give us pointers on who to avoid.