Nurses are truly underpaid

  1. I'm a new LPN (3 months) new. I have tried just about every LPN position there is except for office work in my short time. Employed Per Diem everywhere.
    I left a great job in a totally different career and I had hoped to make a difference by being a nurse.

    I knew the pay would decrease a lot, but never knew the back breaking work it entails.
    The responsibility of a human life, passing meds, meds, meds, with no time for a pee, a sip of water or just to get off your feet for 5 minutes.... somehow, I find that abusive and cruel and more importantly.... low pay for the amount of work to be done, the infections and disease we face everyday.

    I had my first day alone in an LTC after 3 days of training. I was put on an unfamiliar floor and barely finished my meds and treats on time. The night shift nurses were totally rude and nasty, they asked what kind of training I got. Well, I told them I will not be back in the morning. I cannot deal with rudeness after I gave it my best try.

    Not sure why this is such a low paid field. Not even sure why nurses don't want other to succeed into helping them out.

    I have not found my niche and perhaps this was the wrong career for me to pursue
    I am totally discouraged....



    If anyone has suggestions, I'd really appreciate it... kind of need some ideas or a booster shot

    thanks in advance
    Last edit by Brian S. on Mar 8, '18
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  2. Visit holly2422 profile page

    About holly2422

    Joined: Jul '14; Posts: 23; Likes: 18

    47 Comments

  3. by   RegularNurse
    This is not a representation of nursing everywhere, but it is a common complaint.

    If you have an undesirable staff nursing job as an LPN, the only true way out is becoming am RN. Even then, most RN staff nurse jobs can be brutal. The best quality of life nursing jobs require grad school.

    My advice is to further your education.
  4. by   CanadianRN16
    If your first instinct is to leave a job after receiving rude comments, you might want to consider another profession... Granted the nurses coming on shift were out of line, you're going to receive a lot of criticism from other shifts regardless of how well you do your job. Not to mention criticism from CNAs who don't like being told how to do their job, or patients who have to wait too long for a glass of water/ PRN or from not completing a request from a supervisor in a timely manner. TLDR; nurses get thrown a lot of misappropriated anger.

    Pay in the medical field is directly based on required education and role, so if you want better compensation become a RN or higher and get extra training. As a RN at my LTC facility, when I work as a charge nurse, I get paid $9/h more. I also have to supervise 6 other nurses, investigate and deal with resident complaints, and if something major happens stay hours late to finish the paperwork.

    I'm my area, LPNs can get certficates in foot care and start their own practices contracting for diabetic foot care sessions. Nursing isn't easy, but there are many options and learning opportunities out there to help you figure out your niche.

    However, if your main concern is money you should go back to your old job.
  5. by   holly2422
    thank you guys
    in my old profession, rude comments and nastiness was not tolerated. To be rude or unprofessional was to be documented on your employment record. It was monitored. So, I'm finding this is a whole different world. To me, I find it sad. It reminds me of a factory job I had coming out of high school, it is the same mentality and thinking. I would have expected nurses (especially) to be a little more humane being that they chose a profession to help and care for people.

    I grew up with a mother that came in and out of cancer hospitals. I admired the nurses there, they seemed truly professional , kind and compassionate. Well, at least that is how is seemed. They always had a smile and looked like they loved their job.

    I didn't leave my other job for the money. However, my hat is off to all of you that work under these conditions and don't get paid enough. I will stick to that, you do not get paid enough for the work you do. One of my RN,BSN case managers only got paid 5.00 more than me. I do not think that is right either.

    I'm thinking about going back for my RN, it's only 3 semesters. But, then I think, I'm stuck in this same situation and environment but getting paid a little more. I'm at a cross road since I have enough credits to get an associates in health science ( don't know what I can do with that) or continue to the RN program.

    I miss the corporate atmosphere, the professionalism, the team building.
  6. by   RegularNurse
    Quote from holly2422
    thank you guys
    in my old profession, rude comments and nastiness was not tolerated. To be rude or unprofessional was to be documented on your employment record. It was monitored. So, I'm finding this is a whole different world. To me, I find it sad. It reminds me of a factory job I had coming out of high school, it is the same mentality and thinking. I would have expected nurses (especially) to be a little more humane being that they chose a profession to help and care for people.

    I grew up with a mother that came in and out of cancer hospitals. I admired the nurses there, they seemed truly professional , kind and compassionate. Well, at least that is how is seemed. They always had a smile and looked like they loved their job.

    I didn't leave my other job for the money. However, my hat is off to all of you that work under these conditions and don't get paid enough. I will stick to that, you do not get paid enough for the work you do. One of my RN,BSN case managers only got paid 5.00 more than me. I do not think that is right either.

    I'm thinking about going back for my RN, it's only 3 semesters. But, then I think, I'm stuck in this same situation and environment but getting paid a little more. I'm at a cross road since I have enough credits to get an associates in health science ( don't know what I can do with that) or continue to the RN program.

    I miss the corporate atmosphere, the professionalism, the team building.
    If you get a grad degree and can objectively create value for a health care organization, there are tons of corporate type nursing leadership jobs. You just need the experience and education.

    Staff nurses work closely together and with the public. Professionalism in that type of environment is hard to come by. Best of luck to you going forward
  7. by   Dafabb
    As an LVN, now for 39 yrs, I will say that many of the experienced nurses might make snide comments. You will need to grow a thick skin and ignore them unless they have something constructive to give you. These people quickly forget that THEY were also new nurses at one time and others opinions were probably the same then. Again if you want to pursue this grow a thick skin....It will also depend on the atmosphere of where you work. If you find a good one it will be much easier and the staff will be more helpful. Many nurses today have the same attitude of about new nurses but many do not. Many years ago i quit being that nurse and became an advocate for the students/new grads....They know who they can come to. If you have the patience and ignore those people you will be fine...The one thing I will say is if you want to stay in this profession do not get so offended about rudeness/comments and quit your jobs. It will eventually go against you....
  8. by   TheCommuter
    Quote from holly2422
    Not sure why this is such a low paid field.
    I suppose our views on pay are dependent upon the unique perspectives we bring to the table. I grew up in a moderate income household where my parents did not always have the money to cover basic expenses. Therefore, the occasional utility was disconnected and I sometimes went to bed hungry.

    The money I earned as an LPN/LVN was competitive for the 12 months it took to earn the diploma that qualified me to obtain the LVN license. I lived in a single family home in a safe subdivision, had two cars in the driveway, ate whatever I wanted, traveled domestically, and furthered my education, all as a single female LVN.

    I am now an RN, and receive great pay for minimal labor (I am in case management). If you dislike your working conditions, perhaps it is time to further your education to escape the situation. Good luck to you.
  9. by   Cultmember
    Dear new LPN,

    What you are experiencing will never stop no matter where you go.. Be it in LTC or Acute. This IS nursing.

    Your reaction to the reality of nursing is honest and true and trust me when I say this--- if you didn't respond this way to your experiences, there would be something wrong with you.

    Someone has suggested going back to school to become an RN; and while this might improve your interpersonal experiences because of the ranking system within health care, the job that both LPNs and RNs do are identical except for a few tasks that are outside of the LPN scope of practice..

    I actually think LPNs are paid way above what they have been trained to do when compared to RNs as evidenced by the fact that LPNs are in class for only 12-14 MONTHS whereas RNs today study for 4 YEARS! The pay difference between the two designations is not enough to justify an RN's need to have two or three more years of education.

    Bottom line: If you value family, friends, love, having a life, then get out of nursing because it will ultimately leave you crippled, addicted to SOMETHING, and hating humanity.

    Making a difference is what we all thought we would be doing going into nursing, but the sad reality is this--we are merely maintaining the status quo of today's health care milieu where the elderly are neglected even while in LTC r/t understaffed situations, and patients in acute are likely to contract superbugs while in hospital because of the lack of cleanliness due mostly to the fact that the cleaning staff could not care less about their job even if they tried!

    Years ago, you could have eaten off the floor of any hospital in my area; but today, if you touch a surface and then scratch an eye, you're likely infected..

    Happy Mother's Day!!!
  10. by   Ellekat2
    Other than disagreeing that Housekeeping doesn't care about cleanliness, I agree with what Cultmember says. The housekeepers I have known understood the importance of their job. Unfortunately, the administration did and does not. Anyone who thinks nursing is staffed unrealistically should check into what a hospital housekeeper is expected to do and how much time is allotted to do it.

    If you practice a religion that subsidizes Parish Nursing, there may be a niche there. I have never worked with a nurse who has been a parish nurse, so I can't say if the conditions would be better. Personally, I would say that if you don't like what you've seen as an LPN, it's pointless to spend the time and money to go for an RN or BSN, only to end up in the same untenable situation.

    If you enjoy the corporate world and have kept your skills in that area, I would suggest reconsidering your decision to become a nurse while you still have a choice. Life is short; enjoy yourself. There are other ways to serve humanity.

    I have been a nurse for >20 years and I wouldn't recommend today's nursing to anyone. As I said before, there are other ways to serve. Good luck on your decisions; I hope you decide on whatever is best for YOU.
  11. by   brandy1017
    I'm surprised you're so shocked by the conditions in LTC. All you have to do is read the news, low medicare & medicaid reimbursement, the lawsuits and even all nurses to get a reality check. LPN's are being replaced by medical assistants in office settings because they are paid $10. LPN's are the backbone of LTC. Didn't you start to get an idea in your clinicals?

    You can look for a better facility and/or go on to being an RN which is still a hard job getting harder everyday but pays more and there are more job opportunities. Grad school for NP is where the money is although you still work at an assembly line speed up the pace.

    Well at least you only invested about a year, maybe you can get your old job back and just volunteer or work part time in healthcare. I agree your training sucked but I read that's common too.

    Good luck to you, whatever you decide!
  12. by   Lad345
    What you're experiencing does happen often, to a lot of nurses. Don't give up on nursing if you really want this, over one job. I think it's a bit unfair to write you off and say you don't belong, or that you're not cut out for it. Healthcare has its social quirks you adapt to over time. It's a culture shock, and wondering what you've gotten yourself into is normal. Not one person has thick skin on day one; some people ignore rudeness, some meet it with returned rudeness, others call people out for being unprofessional, and some just remove themselves from the situation. While it's usually in your best interest to try a job out longer than you did, I understand fully. Some places are giant red flags, and it's better to get out before they start writing your name with pen instead of pencil.

    I honestly almost walked away from nursing myself about a year ago because an LTC was crushing my spirit and wreaking havoc on my body/mind. I came out of school and took a Unit Manager position at a SNF (which, lessidea earned, if somewhere will hire. someone for a "higher" rung position like that as a new grad, you should probably run far, far away fast). My passion is in geriatrics, and I was wide-eyed and excited to have my very own unit and residents. While I truly enjoyed getting to know and love my residents and the place in my heart for the geriatric pt population only grew bigger, I also stubbornly tried to fight something much bigger than me and threw myself into that position full-force. I pushed and pulled for better staffing, I relentlessly tried to motivate/reward staff for how burdened they were while still coming down hard on abuse/neglect, I lobbied to be properly supplied and outfitted with equipment, I created inservices and streamlined work flow, I squared up when needed with the handful of MDs that rounded weekly if they werent acknowledging issues, and I talked myself blue in the face arguing for our right to better resources/attention/treatment from our mother hospital system. I kept it up a long time before I started becoming really jaded to healthcare, and even in some ways: human nature itself. It was as though I was a figurehead leader of a glorified health insurance-money farm. They made a killing off my SNF while providing borderline inhuman conditions, because, hey, the checks clear and most of my residents weren't cognizant enough to understand how they were being disgustingly shortchanged. Nothing I said/did helped and I was advocating into a vacuum. And I was there almost every day of the week, upwards of 60 hr a week, for what was about 21/hr with no overtime pay, so my checks only showed 42 hr if I was lucky. Honestly, through and through, I got to be truly miserable and exhausted to my very core. Not sleeping well, poor appetite, always lethargic and sad. I didn't think it healthy for me to remain in nursing. But instead of leaving outright, I applied around and fielded some different possibilities before I accepted my current position where I'm now practicing patient care that I'm excited about, at a facility I enjoy, with teamwork and good people.

    Just to give you an example of how another nursing job could be totally night-and-day different from your last one: I now work on an ICU stepdown surgical floor. I work with a 1:3 ratio for appx $37 an hour before diff, and I get to self-schedule. My fellow nurses and our techs are really amazing and proud of what they do and where they are. The high job satisfaction leads to everyone consistently helping everyone else. No one sits and lollygags at the desk while another nurse/tech is drowning and running around wide open. We toliet each others pts, medicate if needed, help each other with invasives, and look out for one another. Additionally, my facility does quarterly, organization-wide nursing forums to field concerns/needs/issues of the bedside nurses, and then *actually* follows through with change rollouts and work flow improvement projects that we on the floor *actually* petitioned to have. I'm also constantly getting to learn new things. I take care of some involved sxs like Islets, CABGs, TAVRS, Whipple's, etc. I'm given pay incentive to increase my skill set, and take part in innovation and new training in pt care. And to top it all off, my facility is providing me with a full-ride from BSN to MSN, with option to bridge to DNP down the road. It also has the framework, resources, and infrastructure in place that's allowed me to join the research team of an ANP, with the ability to form my own team down the road to conduct my own research.

    I suggest, like others have above, that you perhaps consider clinic work and go do the last bit of school to get your RN. Now, when I say that I honestly don't mean it to sound as though it'll make you any "better". I've met many an LPN that's more savvy and adept than BSNs with the same work experience. It's just the nature of how nursing is progressing--you almost have to get the RN to get on in acute care, the extra bit of school opens up a lot more doors.

    I know this was an extremely wordy reply, but I feel like I can kind of relate to what you've said. I really wanted to stress that there's better things out there for you. LTC is almost universally deplorable, it seems. But there *are* good companies out there, and different roles you could fill as a nurse. I came from the science research sector myself, and rudeness was no acceptable there either. I was taken aback by how nurses/CNAs spoke in residents' rooms, talking about them like they're objects. Not explaining care before the touch them. Just rough stuff for me to stomach.

    No matter where you go though, you'll sometimes have heavy shifts and deal with rudeness. The real litmus test is if those instances are not commonplace. Some MDs you'll have to work alongside will be like pod-people, lacking any social manners. Patients and family will also occasionally be rude and mean. You develop a thick skin, and a begrudging empathy towards a-hole pts. It's not personal, and being sick/anxious/scared in a hospital can bring out the worst in people.

    But it's rewarding to watch people progress and get better each shift, because you helped them do that. I think you ought to give yourself at least one more chance to find your place in nursing, and I hope you find a better position.
    Last edit by Lad345 on May 8, '16
  13. by   theradiantforce
    I have noticed that a lot of people who had previous careers, particularly outside of healthcare, are shocked once they hit the nitty gritty of nursing. While there is a level of professionalism that should be upheld, it certainly isn´t unheard of for some nurses to be a bit harsh. Depends on the culture of your place of employment. You will definitely grow a think skin nursing.

    For the record, LTC isn´t always the best representation of what nursing is like on the grand scale. Mostly because some of these places are pretty terrible. Maybe a different job would suit you better. I would say look for something in a unit that interests you, or if you like LTC, try another facility. Iḿ not sure what options there are for LPNś where you are. Would you be interested in hospitals at all? They usually pay higher.
  14. by   holly2422
    oh wow...I thought I was noticing things that no one else was. clients make complaints about various things, the nurse mentor literally kept moving - no time, they always say that - more meds to do..... I was really upset, even spoke to higher ups, it was taken in shock, but I know it will continue. Right then and there, I decided....I never want to go into a LTC myself

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