Med-Surg floor sucks, and nursing unions

  1. I went back to a Med-Surg floor after a long time, I had previously worked on a med-surg unit once years ago and dont remember it being this bad. There are no unions in this part of the country and I would like to hear from some union nurses to see if things are better. I work night **** 7p-7a and we have usually 6 nurses at night and take 6 and rarely 7 pts. each. Except for newer nurses, RN's take turns being charge nurse and do added chores such as staffing and paperwork and still take 6 pts. We are regularly slammed from the ER with admissions, some coming up before we even get report on new patients and got 9 admissions the other night and no one got any breaks or lunch because they were to busy, every left about 10am next morning. The nurses dont really help each other out because they are all to busy. We do not have a ward clerk to answer phones and put in orders except one who may stay until 11pm or the house clerk who is pulled to all floors to put in orders and leaves at 5am. Nurses are pulled to every floor in the hospital except ER and ICU, labor laws state you are to have breaks and lunch, no one seems to care. For all our trouble this system pays new RN's 18.00-19.00hr, nurses with experience 23.00-24.00 hr. and 3.45 night premium (which is only reason I work nights). We have many new grads in ER and ICU. There are only 2 hospital systems here and they are both about the same, what is it like working for union hospitals? Why are nurses worked like dogs now and paid so little? I have done home heath, OR, geriatrics, med-surg and OR was the best, every place else worked you like dogs, I would like to go to Calif., any info on unions would be helpful.
  2. Visit coco42rn profile page

    About coco42rn

    Joined: Feb '12; Posts: 1; Likes: 3


  3. by   tokmom
    I have only worked for union hospitals and like the protection they provide. With that being said, getting decent staffing is still a tough sell and even unions, for as strong as they can be, struggle with getting decent ratios.

    Currently I work for an organization that has 5 hospitals in the area. Three are union and two are not. People that work the non union hospital make competitive pay and are just as happy as the union hospitals. I have heard this at conferences were we can meet up and compare, lol.
    Down the road from my hospital is another facility I used to work at. OMG, it's union, but still a craphole to work at. Staffing is horrible, management is evil and it's just not a great place to work.

    If I had a choice I would choose a union hospital because management just can't fire you on a whim.
  4. by   tokmom
    I wanted to add that not all med/surg floors suck. It's the hospital. I have worked Med/Surg for years. Totally hated the above craphole of a facility that overworked us. My current med/surg floor AND hospital totally rocks. I love my job. Med/Surg doesn't HAVE to be bad.
  5. by   sapphire18
    Because there is an oversaturation of nurses in the market. More nurses than jobs = people will put up with almost anything just in order to HAVE a job = they can throw any working conditions at us that they want. There will always be another nurse willing to take your spot if you leave.

    PS. Both of my jobs have been non-union and while the current one isn't great it's not terrible in terms of working conditions, and the first one was just plain awesome. It has a lot to do with your coworkers.
  6. by   CrunchRN
    What regoinal area is this? That is low pay for what y'all do!
  7. by   LynnLRN
    I don't think 6 patients on the night shift is bad. Seems about normal to me. On my unit the nurses have 6 patients and if staffing happens to be exceptionally bad they can get up to 8 but that is rare. I agree your pay is very low. As far as the breaks go, I'm sure upper management would say its up to you to take your break. Its not like they come in and say hey you are too busy you better not take a break. I always get a break, even when I'm super busy. I say if everyone is stable, I don't care how much tasky stuff needs to be done, I'm taking a break. I think you guys need to adapt that also, you deserve a break, and YES, things can wait. Plus, you may find you accomplish more if you take a break because you have a minute to sit down and get a fresh look at things.
  8. by   Guttercat
    Quote from coco42rn
    . For all our trouble this system pays new RN's 18.00-19.00hr, nurses with experience 23.00-24.00 hr. and 3.45 night premium

    Holy cr$p.

    You need to move.

    I graduated twenty years ago in 1992 and was making base rate $15/hr as a new grad.

    The last time I saw $24/hr was twelve years ago in Wy/Montana (both of which vie for the title of "lowest nursing salaries nationwide" every year).

    California/Wa/Oregon have some of the best salaries in the nation.

    Edit to add: I'd rather be a Wal Mart greeter before I'd accept $24/hr to do what we do and have the responsibility and stress that we do. Sheesh.
  9. by   dreamingofbeing
    The OP wages are pretty accurate for my area which is MO/IL. I make $28/hr and that is per diem wage with 5 years experience. My base wage when I was full time was $22/hr with the same experience. The job before that I was at $20/hr for 3 years and I started at $18/hr with my very first RN job 5 years ago. New grads are making an average of $20/hr here.
  10. by   laborer
    ........... CALIFORNIA NURSES ASSN............ NATIONAL NURSE UNITED for the nation!
  11. by   Lennonninja
    Quote from Guttercat
    I graduated twenty years ago in 1992 and was making base rate $15/hr as a new grad.

    The last time I saw $24/hr was twelve years ago in Wy/Montana (both of which vie for the title of "lowest nursing salaries nationwide" every year).
    Indiana here - base pay at my hospital is $21
  12. by   jelly221,RN
    OMG come to CA! My hospital starts new grads at $28.28, which is really low for So Cal (most places start around $32, Kaiser is way higher!! =O), but I'm just happy to have a job. Also our ratios kick butt, I'm always terrified when I hear about nurses have EIGHT patients- how do you get anything done? We have 3:1 (I'm on stepdown), and our M/S & tele are 5:1 & 4:1, respectively. We NEVER go out of ratio as we're union. I've found that at times lazy nurses can hide behind the union, but generally we have a great staff and I don't encounter that often on my floor.
  13. by   tokmom
    Whoa on the pay that some of you posted. I made 25.00 an hour 21 yrs ago as a per diem!! New grads in my neck of the woods, on average start at 24 ish...
  14. by   Hay Nars, RN
    I work for a unionized hospital on a Med-Surg unit. I started out on days (orientation and 8 months or so). On a GOOD day, nurses were given only four patients. Only a busy day they had five. We have a lower ratio because we do not have certified nursing aids on our floor. Before I joined this hospital this floor decided to do away with the CNA for a smaller load. It's still super busy. There is a day time unit clerk, but not nights. The charge nurse does all her responsibilities + unit clerk duties at night.

    On nights the night nurse usually starts with five patients and may go up to six. Also no CNA. It's super busy until 1am or so but then again on our floor you get your periods of bored bored bored, busy busy OMG GOT TO PEE so busy then it's back to bored again. (:

    We always take breaks. And pay here for nurses with less than 2 years experience is generally $20-24/hour.