Survey: Do you think the federal government is taking the nursing shortage seriously?

  1. Here are the results of last months survey question
    Do you think the federal government is taking the nursing shortage seriously? :

    Please feel free to read and post any comments that you have right here in this discussion thread by clicking the "Post Reply" button.

    Last edit by brian on Feb 1, '03
  2. Poll: Do you think the federal government is taking the nursing shortage seriously?

    • Yes

      7.32% 6
    • No

      92.68% 76
    82 Votes
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    About Brian, ADN

    Joined: Mar '98; Posts: 15,418; Likes: 16,382 founder; from US
    Specialty: CCU, Geriatrics, Critical Care, Tele


  4. by   fab4fan
    Hmmm...this is going to require some deep thought...NOT!

    Look at how long this has been an issue, how little media attention the problem has gotten. Doctors in certain states are up in arms (rightly so) about malpractice insurance, and the media are all over that like a duck on a june bug.

    I was just imagining about 20y from now. As a little girl is being tucked into bed, she asks, "Mommy, what's a nurse?" (It could be a little boy, too)
  5. by   Norbert Holz
    The Federal government is paying enough attention to the alleged "nursing shortage"; one does not exist! What they are doing is not helping nursing!

    State and federal efforts are designed to help employers get additional nurses to staff their facilities without making the necessary changes to compensation and working conditions. The federal efforts to address the" nursing shortage" serve the employers to maintain the status quote.

    Further loosening already lax immigration laws, providing loans for education and housing (at employer whims) do nothing positive for nurses currently working. How can dilution of the nursing labor supply create the demand necessary to motivate new potential nurses to enter practice or encourage currently licensed nurses to resume practice?

    Creating conditions where an increased pool of nurses available to practice only serves to maintain the paltry compensation and heinous working conditions currently being suffered by nurses. Now, even with sufficient numbers of nurses licensed to practice and fully address the "shortage" nurses are choosing not to work.

    This is attributable to numerous factors. Primarily, unreasonable working conditions and compensation far below the level acceptable in relation to the responsibility assumed for the functions entailed in nursing. Current market forces do not motivate nurses to engage in employment.

    When market forces exist to entice currently licensed nurses - already in adequate supply- to resume practice and potential nurses to undergo the rigors of education necessary to become nurses; nurses will appear! Artificially altering the market forces in nursing as the federal and state government are doing will never address the reasons nurses leave or never begin practice.

    Ever notice that there is no shortage of CEO's, lawyers, doctors, or any other adequately compensated "professionals?" Market forces in our system ensure that there are sufficient numbers of these people. The compensation for these functions is adequate to entice potential people to undergo education and work in them.

    Nursing services, the stepchild and backbone of health care, will continue to be a factor in the health care paradigm. A true market based solution is the only cure for the "nursing shortage."

    All attempts to artificially alter the supply of nurses practicing other than increased compensation and more tolerable working conditions are a sure recipe for failure.

    I am continually amused by nursing consortiums where nurses gather to address the fictitious shortage. They simply cannot see the clear and simple solution staring them in the face. Higher pay and better working environments are the only real answers. Could maintaining low compensation for nurses and ensuring a high volume of licensed people possibly be considered a worthy goal of any organization with the intent of supporting nurses?

    Employers will need to accept that market based solutions are the only real solution to these issues. Pay considerably more and ensure tolerable working conditions.
  6. by   NancyRN
    There's no shortage of nurses. There's a shortage of Americans who will work in sweatshop conditions.

    Webster's Dictionary defines "sweatshop" as: "a shop or factory in which workers are employed for long hours at low wages and under unhealthy conditions".

    Instead of improving conditions, hospitals import nurses from developing nations, stating, "they're happy to have the work". This is the same mentality India uses to work five year olds fifteen hour days making rugs.

    If we protest, we're called "racists" to shut us up. Surprisingly, it works!
    The govt justifys its actions of Non action stating that it is allowing the state to handle each situation. Look at HI they seem to be handling it nicely NOT. There will be other strikes soon, especially since Nurses are watching how the Govt is stepping in to handle the DRs situations but yet Not doing a thing to help the Nurses. Soon we will get all our ducks in a row and either something will be done or a USA wide walk out will occur. Its only a matter of time.
  8. by   brianpribis
    [ Further loosening already lax immigration laws, providing loans for education and housing (at employer whims) do nothing positive for nurses currently working. ]

    I remember once ( not sure if they are still doing it ) there was a move in NY to have CNA's passing meds. I remember when LPN's were not allowed to hang antibiotics, etc, etc. Now with the push to get RN's from overseas it makes one wonder what will happen when the Feds glut the market. It will happen you know. They did it to teachers in NY. At one time they wanted everyone to be a teacher because there were so few. Now, my sister sits at home (with a masters in education) and prays the phone will ring so she can sub for a few dollars. As an RN the only thing I can see doing is increasing my education (I am thinking NP) and getting into fields that keep me specialized. Role redefinition will kill nursing (as we know it) if we aren't careful. Don't be suprised if one day you get told as an RN that you aren't needed because a) The RN from India will take less pay then you and do more, or b) the CNA is now med certified and therefore can do your job (after all you just pass meds and make beds right?)

    Great comment Norbert!

  9. by   brianpribis
    I just voted on the topic but it really is not asked very well. After reading Norbert's comment I am left thinking, "O.k. Yes they are taking it seriously, but No they are missing the point". I mean so what if they take it seriously. You could take seeing a man on fire seriously, but if you respond by offering him a cup of tea instead of putting the fire out what good have you done?

    Just thinking.
  10. by   P_RN
    Great post Norbert.

    No they aren't taking it seriously. Throw money, open the gates and throw away the key.

    No shortage exists, just a shortage of nurses who can still manage.
  11. by   Psynrs
    The Government doesn't have a clue--they just think they do. Just remember Hillary Clinton's comment, "RN's get paid too much!!!!" This from a woman who thought she'd "reinvent" Healthcare, and was married to President "B.J." Clinton (go figure!).

    Firstly, they don't realize that most of the "Baby Boomer" nurses are either quitting due to increasingly unbearable working conditions, retiring, or going to work in flower shops, where there is far less stress.

    Secondly, the patient population is increasing due to the growing number of older patients. The shortage is hitting us from both ends.

    In addition, a recent survey showed that 70% of all working first year R.N.s say they plan to get out of nursing within the next year. That makes it a triple whammy!

    I solved my nursing burn-out problem by quitting nursing in Dec. of 2001, beginning to sell art & collectibles on eBay and opening up an Amazon book seller's account this past year. That way, I can go to work at my computer in my underwear and not sweat the stress of working on a busy and often dangerous Psych floor with almost no help, with doctors who think they're God, and Administrators who just care about making a buck off of unfortunate sick people.

    I plan to become a CLNC. With the increasing number of "medical mistakes" being made due to the shortage (which is going to get much worse!), this seems to me like a legal gold mine.

    For those of you who plan to stay in nursing for awhile, I would suggest striking en masse against these conditions. I remember years ago when the San Francisco garbage collectors went on strike in the 1970s. After everybody's trash heaped up for a few days, the Trash Men got close to a 100% pay raise, which meant they were making more than I was making as a young, new psych nurse.

    Believe me: it wouldn't take long for the hospitals, suddenly finding themselves almost devoid of nurses to realize the error of their ways and act speedily to rectify their suddenly desperate situation. Their immediate response would probably be a huge increase in pay, which would be a beginning, at least. I would also suggest the possibility of forming strong Nursing Unions, like the Teamsters did.
    Last edit by Psynrs on Jan 3, '03
  12. by   Sleepyeyes
    It's easy for politicians to go through the motions to please the nurses, gain their vote, and then not follow up. They make out fine: first they get our votes and then they gain healthcare campaign dollars from the healthcare industry.

    Hospitals and related facilities have no incentive to improve nursing conditions.

    Our own ANA sells us out by complicating the arguments and by asking for such impossible-to-rate intangibles such as "respect."

    The pols are all about money, as is the healthcare industry. And since we nurses are neither wealthy nor truly organized, I no longer see the shortage as a Problem; I see it as a Fact of Life. To new grads on the floor who are overwhelmed, I say, You have 2 options:

    1) Take a deep breath and do as much as you can get done, because This Is The Way It Is. It will not get better.

    2) Prepare yourself educationally to get away from the bedside ASAP.

    I have made my own rule: I will make as much money as I can before I can no longer do the work and I will prepare myself for the day that I realize I can no longer work at the bedside.
    Last edit by Sleepyeyes on Jan 3, '03
  13. by   debyan
    Its not just a nursing shortage, we are short secretaries, CNAs, housekeepers. maintenace men, in the nursing facilities and we still have to make due. Many times the extra responcibilites fall onto the nurses because they are so visable and easy to blame. How many times can you write up a broken toilet before it is fixed, find a file that's been miss placed, or run into a room to help that over worked cna to help before your own work suffers. The shortage is in common sense to supply as much help as is needed so our jobs can be done right and we are not left feeling like we have failed yet another day when we go home from work. And thats all I have to say about that. deb
  14. by   OC_An Khe
    Let's see...the Nurse Reinvestment Act passed last year... with no money budgeted to implement it. Real serious
  15. by   SmilingBluEyes
    [QUOTE]Originally posted by ocankhe
    Let's see...the Nurse Reinvestment Act passed last year... with no money budgeted to implement it. Real serious [/QUOTE

    This succinct post says it all, folks.