What can nurses really do to help our dying profession? - page 5

I was thinking about the question of "are nurses overworked and underpaid?" Well, of course the answer is yes. And, we have all said as nurses we need to do something to change it. Well, what can we... Read More

  1. by   Youda
    [QUOTE]Originally posted by justanurse:
    I am a nurse, I have an ADN in nursing. Does that make me less able to practice patient care than someone with a BSN? No, it doesn't. Does it make me less likely to fly up the ranks of hospital administration? Yes, and that's ok with me.>>> [END QUOTE]

    I hope you all don't blast me for what I'm going to say! ))

    28 years ago, I started out as a nursing assistant. Then, I got my LPN. For the next 20 years, I practiced as an LPN. After getting my ADN, I started the BSN program, because I became frustrated with the limitations imposed by my training.

    When I was a CNA, I criticized the nurses for "just sitting at the desk" while I did all the hard work. When I became a LPN, I realized how wrong I had been. There's a lot of charting and doctor's orders that require a nurse to "sit at the desk."

    As an LPN, I criticized the RNs, because I "did everything they did with half the pay." I have been disgusted with the attitudes of the "professional" nurses who always felt they were better than us lowly LPNs, and the ADNs. And, I say, with no modesty whatsoever, that my clinical skills equalled or surpassed most of the RNs (ADN or BSN) on any given day.

    But, when I progressed into the BSN program, I realized how wrong I'd been on all counts; and not because I became indoctrinated into the elite society of a BSN wanna be.

    I do disagree with the attitudes of "I'm better than you." But, I have also come to realize that the more you know in nursing, the better you are at what you do. Experience is needed by ANY graduate of any program. There's a lot an LPN can teach a new-grad BSN, and there's a lot a BSN can teach an LPN!

    For example, as an LPN, it is legally OK for me to do everything with a central line except put it in. In the BSN program, I am horrified and scared out of my mind that I delivered medications into central lines as an LPN with no understanding of what I was doing and what could go wrong, or what to do if it did!

    I believe strongly that we must try to understand the limitations of our training; and recognize that those with advanced degrees most certainly know more. Unfortunately, most of us don't know that we don't know, until we know!

    In other words, I'm talking about respect. That's a two way street, though. And, there is much room for improvement from all of us!

  2. by   pickledpepperRN
    Originally posted by scg:
    Your BSN will make you a better nurse, leadership wise. We can all have excellent patient care skills, but that dosen't give nurses political savy for improving our profession,ie..better pay/working conditions.

    Nursing and medicine go hand in hand, one can't function with out the other.
    Look at what the California Nurses Association is doing. www.calnurse.org
    I call that political savy!. Probably 50% have a BSN, but the official position is that we all have the same license. The AACN (American Association of Critical Care Nurses) does not require a BSN for certification. We focus on ability and strength, not letters behind a name. That way we got a safe staffing bill passed and are working to implement it in a way that is best for patient care AND for nurses.

    Decades ago I took my certified nursing assistant class. Along with making an occupied bed and taking vital signs I learned how little I knew. I was a good aide because I did not have to attitude, "The RN just sits at the desk". One of the many characteristics that make all of us regardless of title is trying real hard to understand what the other person is experiencing. How can we empathize with the patient without realizing what our fellow workers are going through. Sometimes the housekeeper is expected to be in two places at once. We nurses know how that feels. Isn't cleanliness of the enviornment just as important as assessing the patient? All of our work should be respected.
    We should be working for the nurses to control nursing, we should be the ones who care.
    Does anyone expect a busy administrator to give more than lip service to nursing care that is the business of the hospital?

    Saving nursing is being done with the actions of many nurses.


    [This message has been edited by spacenurse (edited November 30, 2000).]
  3. by   Tim-GNP
    I can't believe that there are nurses out there that still resist joining their state's nurses association. In my undergraduate nursing program, membership in our state nurses associations student group was mandatory. Physicians belong to their state medical society and A.M.A. They are united and present a unified front, which is why their power is so great. Nurses should belong to their state nurses association. Membership in your state's nurses association includes membership in A.N.A. The amount is automatically deducted from my checking account each month, and works out to $8.84/bi-weekly.

    In terms of letting someone else talk for me, that's the whole premise of democracy [we theoretically elect a government that is supposed to represent our interests]. The nurses association is our collective voice in Washington as well as our state's capital. I am actually happy that there is an organization for this [as I have no time to go to Washington and lobby on my own behalf].

    If you want to improve the profession in general and your individual working conditions in particular, becoming part of a larger voice is the first step. The system may not be perfect, but it's all we have at present! Join your state's nurses association!!!

  4. by   NRSKarenRN
    Reply to Zee re:
    In pennsylvania, i have been informed, you can only join the state organization by joining the national organization--which comes to a lot of money. I belong to the association of critical care nurses and appreciate reviewing their literature...would love to go to conferences etc. but how does one fit that in with 40-work-week, kids, house, etc.

    PSNA/ANA dues are NOT that expensive!!! As a member of the Delaware County District my dues are $17.57/month (as of 11/2000) which I have automatially deducted from my checking account so I don't really feel the pinch. That is the price of 2 Pizzas per month, or 1 CD, or less than carton of cigarettes, or price of 2 paperback books etc. whatever you use spending money for. At the Oct 2000 state meeting, a dues increase of $75.00 was passed effective Jan 1st. Each County or Disrict has slightly different fee but doesnt vary by more than $5.00 more per month. (I can provide exact amt of each district if needed.) This is cheeper than the $37.50/month I paid in 1996 when our state had a collective bargaining unit. What do I get for my money?
    1. Yearly Subscription to AJN, our professional journal.
    2. Monthly issue of the American Nurse: our newspaper.
    3. Every 2 months The Pennsylvania Nurse: state NSG magazine.
    4. Discount on malpractice insurance.
    5. Access to PSNA website listserve which brings important healthcare related legislation in PA and Washington to my desktop so I can effectively voice my views with my legislators.
    6. www.PSNA.org website with multitude of lisitings from Hot Topics within the state and national arena, legislative links, CE articles, links to ANA, report of state board of nursing meetiings, nursing bookstore... to name a few listings.
    7. Access to PA Nursing Practice Advisor for Professional consultaion on nursing practice issues.
    8. Govermental lobyist who speaks on behalf of nursing in front of PA government body's and legislators and helps influence nursing legislation:---the reason CRNP's in PA will have independent prescription writing priveleges now!
    9. Abilty to network with other nursing professionals.
    10. Discounts on ANA certificaion exams

    ...pretty good bargain for less than $20.00 month!

    When you have the passion to care deeply about nursing and life, you can find the time to be involved every other month in a meeting, 1-2 times a year take a CEU program for it helps to give the body a break, and stir up the brain cells. Yes I work fulltime, have 7th + 9th grader, work 1 WE/month , fit in husband, caring for 92yo grandmom, occ mother and...start taking 1 course semester for Masters degree. NOT supernurse but someone who can prioritize, set goals, network, have downtime by suring the web, and doen't mind dust and laundry piles!

    " The sky's the limit when your hear is in it."

  5. by   Mrs.May
    I resent doing the same job and someone getting paid more for the extra letters. If you have a BSN move up in your career and get paid more--but if you are going to work beside the bed with my ASN then you should make what I make!
  6. by   babs_rn
    Originally posted by ocankhe:
    An RN is an RN period. The debate about ADN vs BSN is about the future of Nursing not the past. Going forward the nurses must unite behind one or the other as an entry level degree. Note ENTRY LEVEL. A compromise that I will borrow from the previosly mentioned Educational field, Teachers entry level is a BA/BS degree and they can begin teaching. However to remain in teaching they have to complete their masters in teaching to maintain their ability to teach. Keep the ADN program but make the BSN the degree that has to be obtained after a certain lenght of time. To the rural RN's that are not near a program, there are many accredited on line programs where you can obtain your BSN working at thetime you choose and at your pace.

    I have done research on online degrees available and they (1) are prohibitively expensive and (2) require one to travel halfway across the country for clinicals. Can't do that. I am trying to get some type of online degree in ANOTHER field - not nursing because (1) it would make no difference in my nursing career, since management theory is the only difference between the two degree programs and I have a conscience so I can't be a nurse manager, and (2) I want out of bedside nursing, period because the shifts have caused me to be a noncustodial mom and I find that completely unacceptable.
  7. by   longforseaair
    Kudos to you, Pamela.

    I am a new nurse and at least once a week, I entertain the idea of quitting. Not because of the work load or the paperwork, although that can be overwhelming. But because of the way co-workers treat one another.

    Let me give you a recent example. I came on one night at 1500 hours. I took report, looked at labs, orders, and MAR's. Then was about to start rounds when a co-worker asked me if I cared if she went home early. I am an agreeable and accomodating person and she was leaving at 1900 hours anyway and we had a low census for once. The other nurse on our unit was also to leave at 1900 hours and she said she didn't mind either. The nurse told me she had checked with the supervisor and all was OK. Well, I ended up taking report on Nurse 1's entire group because Nurse 2 suddenly became unavailable. Nurse 1 had assured me that her group was "easy" and "fine", etc. As she began to give me report, I became concerned because she rattled off almost breathlessly about TPN for one patient that had run out and reordered but hadn't come up and had to have three approvals and a supervisor's phone call (I am elaborating because I can't remember exactly the complicated circumstances) and this problem and that problem, and I gradually became aware that these patients required a lot of care and procedures within the next two hours. There were many things that hadn't been completed and loose ends to tie up. Nurse 1 is very disorganized (everyone knows it) and she is very loud and has an obnoxious accent that I believe she overdoes (just because, to be distinctive, I guess). Before report was over, my mind was mush and I knew I would have to spend time combing the Kardex, orders, and MAR's to make heads or tails out of what she had told me. Meanwhile, Nurse 2 is a "Silent Sam" and upset because she has worked a lot of overtime and Nurse 1 beat her to the punch to get off early. Nurse 2 is concientious and probably wouldn't have done that to us, stick us with her group. She had also had a very long and hard day, her group had kept her running. Nurse 1 doesn't offer to help either.
    Before Nurse 1 left, she overheard Nurse 2 complaining to me about her day and that she was upset that we were being dumped on.
    Well, Nurse 1 blew up and began to loudly berate us for talking about her behind her back. It is even more hilarious, since Nurse 1 backstabs and talks about everyone! Nurse 1 loudly announced that she "wasn't putting up with our ****" and was staying after all. Then she went to the supervisor and filled her ears with what we had done to her, and we were horrble and incompetent and couldn't handle our jobs, and complained about her for no reason, and her group was "easy", and we only had the few patients, yada yada.
    Meanwhile, Nurse 2 was busy assessing and opening notes on two patients she was picking up from my group so that her patients and my patients would all be in the same area. It took me at least ten minutes to get them to agree on how to split the groups. I would have done it but I was not charge.
    I told Nurse 2 that I was keeping those patients since Nurse 1 was staying. She insisted that Nurse 1 was indeed leaving because she had given report, etc. and continued to take my patients I had given her.
    Well, I went back to Nurse 1 who insisted that she was staying. She was furiously flipping through MAR's and drawing up meds and making it very clear to everyone who walked by that she was overreacting and throwing a huge, immature temper tantrum. She has been a nurse about five years.
    So, I only had two patients and was about to pull my hair out. I thought I was dreaming. I was aghast at the way they were behaving and I was put in the middle of it.
    And we call ourselves professionals. I feel like I work at a carnival. I see so much chicanery. I wish one night, I could go to work and just work, without all the ********.
    I see nurses hide things and tell the assistants not to help other nurses, or even to hide from other assistants to teach them a lesson, etc. I see nurses sweet talk doctors and butter them up and bad mouth other nurses, and lie and make them look really bad. I can't believe the doctors actually fall for it, and I don't think they do. I wonder what they really think about all this?
    It's beyond belief?
  8. by   -jt
    act like blue collar workers -

    Is this a referrence to organized labor - collective bargaining? Are you saying that it is unprofessional to be unified & have an EQUAL voice in the decision-making & policies that affect your practice? I think that is actually the height of professionalism & pt advocacy. By the way, I am a member of the New York State Nurses Association,the ANA, and its labor arm - the UAN.... and my collar is white.

    FYI: "Is Collective Bargaining Professional" http://www.ana.org/dlwa/barg/index.htm

  9. by   Jenny P
    I belong to both MNA (my state assoc. of ANA) and AACN. I am involved at the district, state, and national levels of my professional organization, but am not so involved in my specialty organization. I don't resent anyone's extra education (or initials) in nursing; we need all levels; and we need them AT all levels of nursing. I have several co-workers in my unit who have their masters degrees and they work at the bedside the same as I do (I work in CV ICU). I also know 2 nurse practioners who work at the bedside also because they found out they prefer bedside nursing-- and there are still openings available around here for APRNs and NPs. I think that the nurse who has gone on and got a degree in nursing- no matter where she/he works, should be entitled to a higher salary than the diploma or ADN. Just as the nurse who has gone on for certification in a specialty. They made an extra effort to achieve that BSN, MSN, or whatever their title may be, and we (and employers) should recognise them for their effort. I don't care if a nurse has a whole alphabet of initials after their name; the most important ones are either RN or LPN. And also that they are doing their best in caring for their patients. As long as they are performing at the level that I expect of myself, what difference does it make? This job is hard enough when we are all supporting each other; why must we snipe at each other when we are all NURSES underneath it all? No one said it would be easy to be a nurse, but we don't have to make it worse than it is.
  10. by   psych-rn
    Lighten up guys. I don't think anyone has addressed the question. Nursing has a large population and to increase wages minimally potentially could blow the governments budget. I'd appreciate if the hospital I worked for treated me as a private patient when I require treatment. I'd appreciate proper staff inservice where I was back filled by someone else to do my training and not have the guilts put on me by others for leaving the ward short of staff. I would appreciate greater advocacy for staff as it happens for the client. I'd appreciate extra entiltlements regarding leave when it involves my children instead of using my sick leave. It is not about how much I get paid or who has the "better education", it's about do I feel valued as a staff member of a hospital and do I walk away believing "this is a great place to work" even though I may get hit, spat on, kicked, verbally abused etc. Money is good, conditions play an equally important part. If it was money that made us happy then there would be no shrinks/therapists employed in those rich areas of our world. Have a good one and start thinking within the organisation.


    [This message has been edited by psych-rn (edited December 04, 2000).]
  11. by   crna2be
    hi blue. I think the best thing to do is to educate people about the nursing role. I am sick of nurses being portrayed, for example, in movies as bimbos with big chests who walk around in high heels and hand out bedpans. I am studying to be a CRNA. You would not believe the comments and questions I get. Here's a famous one--Why do you have to get a master's degree to hand the anethesiologist syringes? Yikes!

    So, we need to promote our profession to the public. Tell them about what we do. Write letters to newspapers. Change the image that our profession has of hat-donning dimwit people who chase after doctors. It's demeaning. The only way to get political support is to go public.
  12. by   postaledde
    If you want to save the nursing profession go to WWW.MillionNurseMarch.org
  13. by   postaledde
    I think all of the people on this bulletin board that continue to degrade each other about the formal education each has recieved are spending way too much energy in dividing Rn's as a group.I 1/2 of this energy was used to change the way thing are, we would have a much saferand better workplace.Let's look at the curriculum for an AA nurse and that of a BSN. If you only look at the nursing classes and the clinicals they are almost identical.The only difference is that a BSN gets management, statistics and paperwork. It's like adding a political science degree to an AA nurse. I have worked with LPN's that have more clinical sense and compassion for thier job than a lot of the BSN nurses. We need to look at people not titles. If we stay divided we will never accomplish anything. If we always do what we've always done, we will always get what we always got. Let's finally unite for the right cause and move forward.WWW.MillionNurseMarch.org