Survey: Would there be a nursing shortage if... - page 3

Here are the results of last months survey question Would there be a nursing shortage if nurses were paid better and had better benefits? : Please... Read More

  1. by   kayRN21
    I started out making 5.00 and hour in 1974 as an RN with an ADN. I completed my BSN in 1996. I continued to work as a bedside staff nurse. I have worked as a staff nurse for 28 years and was making 25 dollars an hour. I no longer want or can do the lifting, pulling, and running now at 49 as I was able to do at 21. I think the hospitals still need seasoned nurses. I am fried totally and due to the stress I reacted to I was fired after 13 years at a hospital. I believe there are a lot of nurses like that out there. We will be replaced by those that think 25 dollars is a lot of money and worth the stress. Well after 28 years this old body is broken down physically and mentally. I was not fired for practice skills, I was fired for poor attitude and frustration. Well so be it. I am happy, joyous, and free and unemployed. I thanked them for firing me and gave them a hug and felt a burden had lifted off my shoulders. I was a good nurse and I really did care about my patients, but I guess I am too old to cut the mustard anymore. God will find me something else to do.
  2. by   sjoe
    Read my lips: It's the intolerable working conditions, poor management (untrained and unskilled), absence of leadership, and frequent disrespectful treatment by patients, physicians, and supervisors that have led to the exodus of nurses, mistakenly and inaccurately referred to as a "nursing shortage."


    After all those issues are suitably addressed, adequate and competitive salaries and benefits might make a difference.
    Last edit by sjoe on Mar 3, '03
  3. by   plumrn
    I think more money and better benefits may bring NEW nurses into nursing, but as soon as they discover what the working conditions are like today, they most likely will leave like so many others.
  4. by   eddy
    I think there is indeed a shortage, BUT.....

    It's not a shortage of nurses.

    Rather, it's a shortage of nurses willing to work in these conditions and for such terrible pay.

    There are a ton of nurses out there. They just don't work at the bedside or even in nursing anymore (but they are still "nurses"). They were pushed out long ago. If the "whole package" improved I am willing to bet you would see thousands return to a career most enjoyed but simply couldn't put up with any longer.
  5. by   sanakruz
    Lack of respect.
    Lousy hours.
    3 reasons nurses leave.
    Benefits and pay are most likely #4+5
  6. by   jemb
    The shortage of nurses employed as such is IMO due more to the working environment than to the pay scales. Sure, everyone likes more money, but the physical and emotional demands are what create the inability to continue in the field.
  7. by   ScottieRN
    Plumrn I agree with you. I was shocked at what I found after getting out of school. I was treated badly. In essence, I was eaten up by older RNs who are tired of the present working conditions. My first year in nursing was a bust. I wish it were different but, it is not.
  8. by   Brownms46
    At present I'm on a contract where I make more money that I have ever made before. I also have great benefits thru my agency. I have no complaints about money or benefits.

    But if I wasn't in a place where I felt valued and supported...I would have NEVER extended twice!

    I have been another place, where I have left early in my contract(which my agenices backing and complete support), and never looked back. The conditions were horrible, and the staff were as evil and mean as they come. After talking to my agency almost daily about the working day they went too far...and at the end of my shift...I called my agency from my car, and told them I wouldn't be going back.

    I was making great fact more than others on at the same hospital, but working for another agency. My furnished two bedroom apt. was paid for...and I paid nothing for medical, dental, disablity..etc. But it wasn't enough to put up with the crap that I endured there!

    There have been times when I have told a per diem agency I worked for...that I would never return to a certain hospital ever again. The staff dumped on agency something awful. And because of this treatment, many agency nurses wouldn't go back there.

    And yes I beleive the only shortage there is, is the shortage of nurses these days, who will put up with crap on a daily basis....for any amount of money!

    One nite the agency called, and asked me how much would it take for me to go back to this hospital. I told them...they didn't have enough money! The staffing person was taken she thought surely she had heard me wrong. But she didn't ...and I was just about broke at the time! But I wasn't about to set foot back in that hospital to be used and abused ever again!!!

    I love being paid well...but I will work for less...if it meant having decent working conditions, and being respected for the work I do. Thankfully as long as I travel...I will be paid what I feel I deserve. And if the working conditions stink...I can always move on.
    Last edit by Brownms46 on Mar 4, '03
  9. by   Fran-RN
    Why do you say there is no nursing shortage?>??????
  10. by   Chiaramonte
    It certainly would help having better benefits. We are in that service after all. I do think that better wages would help but I agree that at the real basis of this problem is better working conditions.
    Respect is a big one for me also. I do think it's an unrecognized profession. After all, aren't most "service jobs "expected that you have do certain things because it's just that you are there to serve the public. Through the years I've learned that self satisfaction has to be it's own reward.
  11. by   jwl300
    I believe there would still be a nursing shortage if pay and benefits were improved. This is because of the way nurses treat each other. I am a second career nurse, and sometimes suffer from "permanent jaw drop" because of the way some "professionals" behave. They are petty, territorial, and far from the concept of those who are supposedly in a caring line of work.
  12. by   llg
    A few thoughts keep recurring in my mind as I read this thread.

    1. I recently did a little survey among some friends in which I asked the question, "If nursing salaries were raised to the point at which working 1 day per week yielded a net income of $100,000.00 per year ... 2 days per week yielded $200,000.00 per year, etc. ......... Would you increase your hours or decrease them?" Everyone said that they would decrease their hours worked. No one said they would increase their hours.

    That is consistent with what my hospital has found whenever they raise wages. Yes, it attracts a few more nurses and retains some, but it loses a lot of available nursing hours as the staff finds they can now earn their desired income by working less hours.

    2. Back when I was in nursing school (1970's) no one I knew (women, at least) planned to work full time at the bedside until they were in their 60's. Almost everyone planned to work full time for only a few years, then switch to part time after marriage and children. There was also a lot of talk about being a staff nurse for only a few years, then moving on to less physically demanding nursing roles or roles with better working hours.

    Again, this fact is consistent with what we are seeing now. As the baby boomer generation has aged, they want part time work, not full time work. Yes, some working conditions are appalling and need to be changed. But this generation of nurses would be cutting back their hours now and/or leaving bedside nursing regardless of the working conditions and/or pay. That was their plan in the first place.

    Neither better pay nor better working conditins will entice these nurses back. I have a lot of friends in this category. If I had a husband with a good income, I'd probably be one of them. So, those who point to the number of nurses who are not working as proof that there is no real nursing shortage and that we would have plenty of nurses if only the pay and working conditins were improved may be wrong. They are ignoring the societal demographics and studies that show that part of this shortage is due to the natural retirement and semi-retirement of the baby boomers who no longer want or need to work full time.

    3. Other physically demanding jobs (e.g. police officers, firefighters, military, etc.) have a planned retirement structure that kicks in after about 20 - 30 years of service. For someone who entered those professions in their early 20's, that means retirement comes in the 40's or 50's. It has always been recognized that the physicality and stress levels of those jobs require a retirement at that age. Bedside nursing is also physically demanding and stressful -- and yet there is not the same assumption made about the difficulties of working as a bedside nurse after age 50 that there is in other, similar professions.

    When you add all these things up ... a lot of pieces fall into place.

    I'd be interested in your thoughts on these things, Brian -- and those of anyone else who has thought seriously about these things.

  13. by   Brownms46
    I do agree in part with some of what you have posted here. And you have bought up some interesting, and well thought out points
    here. Yes bedside nursing is a demanding field, both physically and mentally. But there are many fields that when the work is rewarding, and personally satisfying...and people enjoy what they're doing...they find it easy to continue doing it.

    I have been traveling for quite a while now. And I have talked with nurses across the country for the last 11yrs that I have been traveling. I have talked with young and older nurses. I find the same complaints from most of them. The working conditions. Younger nurses wonder how many of the older nurses lasted this long in this profession, and older nurses...wonder what has been of the profession they loved so much.

    I recently met a young nurse who had been recruited from the NW to the SW, immediately after graduating from school. She had moved away from home, and was excited about being a new BSN grad. But when she arrived at the unit she was supposed to work in...she was tore apart by the more experienced nurses. She lost confidence in herself and her ability to learn.

    She left that hospital, and moved on to another, which also was going to pay her more money. She was again excited about the propects of working there. She found similar problems and bad working conditions there also. When last I saw her, she was comptempating leaving that hospital too. She was totally discouraged about being a nurse, and was questioning whether there was any good experiences to be found in nursing.

    I'm over 50 and I still enjoy working on the floors..just not the way the work is now. When I started I loved working and had no problems working OT, and never feared for my pts., and or my license. Fear and stress now are a more constant companion when nursing in recent years. Maybe my memory is faulty, but I don't remember it being this way when I started out.

    I run into a lot of workaholic nurses, and not everyone in my age bracket wants to work less..just because of their age. Many say they want it the way it was...when they didn't have to take care of so many pts. Especially in the ICUs, where one or two pts. were the norms...not three or four!. Pts. are more acutely ill now than they we saw on the floors when I started. What you see on med-surg floors now...used to be in the critical care units.

    We used to have staffing by acurity level..and now it's just by the numbers. Nursing has changed...but not for the better IMO. And many nurses no longer wish to put up with how it has changed. That is IMO why there is no shortage of nurses who would be willing to work...if the conditions of the work were better.
    Last edit by Brownms46 on Mar 4, '03