Tough Times

  1. Question for Nurses:

    I'm working on a story for a nurses trade magazine about the effects of the souring economy on the profession
    Because there is a nursing shortage, we don't hear too much about mass layoffs of RNs (there are some, I've heard). I am wondering mostly about more indirect problems. For instance, are nurses finding themselves as the sole breadwinners in families with laid off spouses? Have financial cutbacks at hospitals (related directly to the economic outlook) resulted in more mandatory overtime and more stress? Have you seen more cases of domestic violence among patients because of financial woes or unemployment?

    If anybody has a personal anecdote or an insight to share, it might be invaluable for my story. Feel free to post or contact me at
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    About erasmus

    Joined: Jan '02; Posts: 1


  3. by   wildtime88
    "Have financial cutbacks at hospitals (related directly to the economic outlook) resulted in more mandatory overtime and more stress?"

    Now that is a hard question to answer. When was there actually a change in the reason for financial cutbacks?

    Financial cutbacks have been affecting nursing since around 1994. Many nurses saw them at first in other departments such as lab, dietary, respiratory therapy, nursing assistants, and other departments. Each time nurses were assigned the duties of the other departments adding directly to what we had to do. Then came the loss of nurses through attrition. As nurses left for whatever reason they were not replaced. The nurses who were left had to pick up their load as well. This resulted in increased nurse to patient ratios, fewer breaks and lunches, mandatory overtime, stress and burnout. This also led to more nurses leaving and they still were not replaced.

    At the same time CEO's salaries, bonuses, and perks increased. So when has there really been a change?

    Now just to debug the old myth that nurses work only to supplement income or buy the little extras around the house, I will bet you money that you will find out that a large percentage of nurses are already the primary or sole bread winners. There are many single nurses in the profession. Some have families to support. You will also find out that there are many nurses who are equal breadwinners as well.

    Here is an informal poll that you might find enlightening.

    Take the time to look around at the different posts and post more specific questions. There is no shortage of answers, facts, and opinions here. We welcome your questions.
  4. by   Q.
    I don't know if this will help or not.

    A few RNs that I work with are now the sole breadwinners because their husbands, who are engineers, got laid off.

    I work at a clinic where RNs are in the back office doing telephone triage. Most patients think the MAs are RNs, and typically, the MAs get more respect around that damn organization then the RNs. MAs at this clinic sit on their duff and all the crap gets sent to the Phone Nurses, because they know we will clean it up.

    Yet, the company finds us a HUGE expense and hired a consulting firm to try to eliminate us. Right now, we're not sure that they will have ANY RNs left in the clinic at all. I am currently graphing out stats for this firm on the amount of calls we receive, etc. In this clinic, we as RNs are judged not based on patient care, but on the same standards as receptionists: how quickly we answer the phone, how long is each call, how many calls came in, etc.