why do we settle for such low pay - page 4

I just read that hotel maids in New York make $18/hour. That is what many nurses in this country make. I agree with the previous post that we are creating our own shortage in many ways.... Read More

  1. by   bestblondRN
    [QUOTE]Originally posted by nell

    I'm happy for you that you are so special.

    Thinking about the nurses in my unit that would be the "negotiating type": they are the ones who think they are so great (and manage to convince the manager how great they are too...), but are a pain to follow.

    Then I think about the ones who are real assets and MOST of them do not have a bargaining bone in their bodies - they're just great nurses who work hard and have the patients' best interests at heart.

    Through our clinical ladder, if we think we're special, we can apply for a higher classification and the increased salary that goes with it. I am certainly not special in the same way that most of my fellow CNIIs are - I don't intubate, teach classes or put in PICC lines, but our clinical ladder is flexible and accomodates a wide range of talents.

    Maybe it's just 'cause I'm a Libra, but I like the level playing field and fairness that our own little union affords us.

    Nell.....gotta' disagree with you on a few points. Negotiation skills are vastly different from being able to manipulate a manager, and making peers "eat their shorts". I, too, have worked with people who have done whatever they had to do to climb the ladder or get special favor from the manager--this is NOT negotiation.

    Negotiation is the "deliberation which takes place between the parties touching a proposed agreement." In other words, a means of coming to a mutually acceptable decision. I have to support James in his efforts to be a self-employed nurse--he has a skill set and he is selling his skills for a certain amount of money to places that require his services. Does that detract from his abilities as a RN? Of course not! Think about it--he probably has to work harder than those of us employed by a hospital to complete his clinical competencies, annual requirements, and such. He also has to be completely self-insured. All he has done is taken the middleman out of the equation and contracts directly with the hospitals he works with.

    There are many professions where people are independent consultants or independent contractors, and nursing is just way into the dark ages on this one. Unions are a thing of the past 2 centuries, and honestly, negotiate salaries and benefits the same way we could individually if we wanted to do that. If we want to promote ourselves as a profession, this is only one of many ways it could happen. Think about what would happen if 25% of the RNs in your hospital quit at the same time and couldn't be replaced except by agency at $80-100 per hour (this is what is charged to the hospital in many major cities). Do you think your hospital would wake up and take notice if that same 25% said they'd come back to work as self-employed RNs who are self-insured for a higher hourly rate and for a defined period of time? I think they might, although it's a very foreign concept in this profession. I don't think the time has ever been better for RNs who want to become entrepreneurs--the shortage is profound in many areas, and the costs to hospitals to insure and provide education and benefits to a single RN is staggering. Your benefits alone run roughly 40% of your salary.

    Nell, I don't think James thinks he's any better or more special than the rest of us--he's simply found something that works for him and allows him freedom to charge what he feels his skills are worth, and to be able to contract with whom he chooses. I think it's great that he has found a way to get nursing to work for him as well as working for nursing!
  2. by   renerian
    Let me give my two cents on unions. I was a teamster member for five years. I put up with crappy wages...........a little over $8.00 per hour and this was only in 1984-the wages have not gone up there much as they are only up to $10.00 per hour. OUr insurance sucked, I worked with all men except one other woman and put up with so much sexual harrasement it was not funny. I tried to persue legal action but none of the men I worked with would admit they saw the harrassment so it was my word against theirs-got no where. I paid big premiums and got nothing out of it............I would never join another union.

    Just my two cents and I am sure this will wind people up,

  3. by   teeituptom
    howdy yall
    from deep in the heat of texas

    Nicely put bestblond RN

    doo wah ditty
  4. by   bestblondRN
    thank you Tom! :kiss
  5. by   wolfox
    Add to list of charges to patient:
    $10.00 per step for every item that the patient/family member "needs" (extra pillow, magazine, pen, phone book, juice, etc....)

    This could really add up for the patient who denies that they need anything when you are in the room, then puts on the call light minutes later and says "I need a nurse!" on the intercom, then when you rush down to their room they announce that they need some item that an aide could have brought from the nurses' station, then when you bring that item, they come up with something else that they "need"-then look annoyed if you tell them it may be 30 minutes or an hour before you have time to bring them that phone book because you are involved in patient care!!!
  6. by   sjoe
    renerian: What if your next nursing job takes you to a closed shop where you either join the union or you don't work there? And what if your present shop becomes a closed shop?

    (If memory serves, the "Right to Work" proposal (outlawing closed shops) was not passed by the voters of Ohio, though that was some years ago and things may have changed since then.)

    By the way, the hotel maid median wage in NYC is $12.58.
    Last edit by sjoe on Sep 9, '02
  7. by   salve#1
    Originally posted by lisamcrn
    I think some opinions of why our pay is lower is becoming too complicated. Our profession is and has been one of the lasting noble ones. Arising thru hundreds of years, engulfing many facets, changes, offering many nonpayable benefits. Such as instant respect (deserved or not) for holding that title, an aura of knowledge and such. Our professions falls into the category of others including policeman, fireman, and teachers. While none of these professions have the best working conditions, scheduled breaks, time for meals, we have public support and an image. We are held to a high standards and sources of support and knowledge. I, personally, value this from holding the title RN.

    I'd much rather take my much higher than average wage I make and have those benefits. And when I tire of that I will move on to something else. Our pay should be more for what we do, but at this time, it's not happening. Our managers and leaders have a long way to go to ensure a better realistic enviroment than we have now on a typical day, but things have improved from 30 years ago.

    And currently I'm making a heck of a lot more than most cops, fireman, and teachers And teachers have much more education than I have with only an AA and ADN degree. How can most nurses expect to make high wages with only 1-4 years education. My dad's law degree took 7 years of his life....my career only 2.

  8. by   salve#1
    There are several reasons. First is that we will never be able to establish a nation wide walk out. I believe this to be the only way we will finally be heard. Small groups do nothing. In the negotiating tables things are expressed and we are told they will be looked into. Trust me, they aren't. The big reason-The folks who run the show are primarily male. Believe it or not people, we still live in a country with an incredible amount of sexism. So yes, it is abunch of man say, " oh, those woman will take what we give them and if it gets real bad we'll give them 2-3%" 2-3%? do I have to tell yah all what a joke that is! Try a 50-60% rase!

    Some woman have moved into upper management, but once they get there they generally become queen bees The attitude of, "well, I got here so what do I care about those damn nurses." Its all about me,me,me and they don't care as long as they and the men running the show can fill their fat wallets!

    After 3 short years I'm leaving this profession. I've gained 40 pounds and have been on anti deppresants for the worst I've ever felt in my life. And yes, trust me, the way ups could care less. They'll sleep well tonight in there big bedroom and big house with a nice bank account.
  9. by   lisamct
    Just to give you all a comparison.Im a learning disability nurse in the uk, Im on top increment E grade which is senior staff nurse level. I am in charge of my own unit, 8 clients all with severe learning and physical disabilities and challenging behaviours. My basis annual salary is 20,ooo, locally police officers recieve 26,ooo after 18 weeks training, teachers earn 23,ooo newly qualified and only work 30 hours perweek.
  10. by   salve#1
    I've heard some say, "well, we werent in school that long." People, what does that have to do with anything? My sister wen't to pharmacy school and spent 3 years longer than I did. After 2 years she makes $90,000 a year. After 3 years I make $42,000. Is someone out there really going to tell me that 3 more years constitutes more then double our sad pay! Please. Education length means nothing! what matters is what you are doing once you get there! In our case its everything with nothing in return!
  11. by   jode
    I'm not at all sure that unions are the answer. But certainly standing up for who we are, standing united and being more politically active may be better solutions. We are in a position right now to do just that. They are in need of us now.....and we need to rise to the occasion. Put our best foot forward and stand firm. Write letters to senators, govenors, congressmen and join your local nursing organization. Be pro-active.
  12. by   NannaNurse
    All I can say is, we get 'crappy' pay because we allow it. I'm in the process of requesting more pay....will I get it??? Probably not, but I will be looking for another job.
    I really like where I work, but the pay sucks! I got my friend a job where I work and he was offered $1.25 more per hour than what I'm getting.....I have more experience!
    Plus the new staffing coord is really screwing up all our schedules and 3 have put in notices to quit.......They would rather bring in Travel nurses and Temps than raise our wages and offer better pay........doesn't make sense to me..........pay more $$ for temps/travel than give your OWN people????
    Like others have said...a nation wide walk out would be next to impossible, but I would be willing to be part of it.....I know alot of others that would too.
    Until we get together and let the 'powers that be' know that we are the backbone of healthcare and deserve more, we will continue to get poor wages and little to no respect. If we are not there....what will they do?? We actually have the advantage and we are not utilizing it........why???????