Interview with local paper

  1. Hello Nurses. A few weeks ago I wrote a letter to my local paper the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette briefly describing the working conditions and mandatory overtime at the facility where I work. They actually contacted me and set up an interview for Thurs. morning. I'm on my way out the door for work. Any suggestions or tips on what to say or what not to say would be appreciated. My postion is that the public has a right to know about nursing issues that affect patient safety. Thanks.
  2. Visit Nebby Nurse profile page

    About Nebby Nurse

    Joined: ; Posts: n/a


  3. by   oramar
    I do not want to put words in your mouth but if it was me I would point out that we here in Pa we DO NOT have a shortage of nurses at this moment in time. I would get the stats on actually how many licensed nurses there are in Pa. to prove it. The shortage is actually a shortage of people who want to work at the bedside because of poor conditions and poor pay. I would point out that there are more non bedside jobs than ever that provide many benefits that traditional nursing jobs do not and that many nurses went to these jobs. I would also point out that many older nurses retired early because of a lack of consideration of their needs. I would say that it is true many young people do not precieve nursing as a choice profession these days but that increases in pay and benefits and improvement in current conditions could change that perception. However, it would not hurt to point out that there is a looming demographic shortage in about 10 years. They have a window of opportunity here to gear nursing education up for the coming real shortage. While they are gearing up the educational system they could at least try to attract licensed nurses both Practical and Registered back to the bedside to cover the current shortage by promissing to treat them better than they had in the past. By them, I mean hospitals and nursing homes because that is where the biggest problem lies.
  4. by   NRSKarenRN
    Second Oramar post, in addition consider these thoughts. Karen

    PA Nursing Concerns:

    1. Shortage of nurses in PA willing to work at bedside due to working conditions:
    a. Increased patient acuity/seriousness of illness--patients would have been ICU & stepdown 5 years ago now treated on med/surg floors.
    b. Increased patient ratios RN/LPN expected to care for in one shift: prior 5-6 now 8-10 some units; jeopardy of license if mistake made due to unsafe staffing.
    c. Mandatory overtime.
    d. Lack assistive personal esp in SNF. Work at McDonalds for same starting rate $6-8Hr without stress of caring for patients/heavy lifting required. Aides rarely make more than $10.00. Begining to affect disabled children and homebound clients with parents/caregivers staying home due lack aides and missing work.
    e. Working entire shift without lunch/bathroom break almost daily occurance.
    f. 24hrs/7day week staffing. Ssome instituions still require rotation all 3 shifts!
    g. None or very poor pension plans.

    2. High school students NOT given encouragement to consider nursing as career.
    For women, many careers to consider, no longer limited to nursing/teaching. High School students who haven nurses as parents don't want to work as hard/weekends/holidays.

    3. Lack of Nursing Statistics in PA.
    a. State Board of Nursing (SBON) only has numbers of nurses licensed in Pa : active and innactive.
    b. NO stats on where these nurses work(in or out of state of PA).
    c. No stats on RN vacancies.
    d. No stats on total RN emploment in each licensed healthcare facility: RNS in management and at bedside; This would show trend towards increase/decline positions throughout PA and help in knowing if increase in strudents/ creation of new schools of nursing needed.

    4. 2001 PSNA Testimony to state legislature available for down load @

    5. Pending PA legislation introduced by Rep. Mary Ann Daily RN @
  5. by   -jt
    <we here in Pa we DO NOT have a shortage of nurses at this moment in time. >

    Thats the same nation-wide. Please make the interviewer understand that according to several well-recognized sources, including the recent study by the University of Pennsylvania, research by the American Nurses Association, the General Accounting Office in DC, & the 107th Congressional Research Survey (released to Congress on May 18 of this yr), there are almost 500,000 licensed nurses in the country who did not work in nursing last year. Thats almost 20% of all U.S. nurses & they are not working in hospitals, nursing homes, or even in nursing.

    The major reason is the unacceptable working conditions like the ones mentioned - poor staffing, high pt loads, dismal salaries, poor or no pensions and health benefits, lack of recognition and compensation for experience/education, lack of support services & support staff, lack of equipment that would ease the physical labor of the job, lack of safety procedures & supplies, forced overtime, being prevented from speaking out about unsafe pt care or conditions - at the threat of loss of your job, abusive administrative policies & practices - all geared to save a buck on the botom line, etc.

    According to the American Hospital Association, there are only about 120,000 open nursing positions now vacant nation-wide. Yet there are 500,000 non-working nurses. That means there are 5 TIMES as many nurses available nation-wide as there are jobs for them. So there is no shortage of nurses right now - just a shortage of jobs with acceptable working conditions. Nurses are out there but are choosing to stay away from these jobs. The solution is to fix the working conditions.

    Students are not choosing this career for the same reason current nurses have left, are leaving & continue to stay away. The ANA has told Congress that "the current nursing shortage will remain and likely worsen if changes to the workplace are not immediately addressed".

    You might want to go to this interview armed with some back-up.... like a print out of those posts up there. Also, heres some other things you could print out & give to the reporter to make your point , make him aware, so you can get an informative, accurate article written. They arent so much interested in our opinion as they are in our experiences, the facts & statistics....

    Nurses do have the solutions.
    Good Luck.

    If you arent unionized, be careful you dont name names. Instead of identifying the hospital you work in by name, just say in print that you are a Registered Nurse working on whatever kind of unit, in whichever town in a "large medical facility" or whatever it is. Stay away from names & just talk about your experiences.
    You can tell the reporter off the record where you work but ask it not be printed.... and tell him why! If you are not unionized or dont have a whistleblower state law, you dont have the protection against retaliation by your employer.
  6. by   -jt
    The reporter would be interested in the PA legislative info in the links Karen posted for you. Go to those links & copy & print the info instead of just giving him the link. Also, this is an excellent overview of the nation-wide situation for the reporter to do his homework with:

    Statement for the
    Committee on Governmental Affairs Subcommitte
    on Oversight of Government Management, Restructuring - on Addressing Direct Care Staffing Shortages
    Presented by
    Anne O'Sullivan, MSN, RN
    for the American Nurses Association
    June 27, 2001
  7. by   Nebby Nurse
    Thanks to all for your replies. I am well-prepared and hope I can do something good. The reporter's interest is generated by the fact that I named the facility and how its administrative policies are putting our citizens in danger. I am sure if my letter was focused on general nursing problems I would not have gained any interest. Not worried about retaliation. No anonymous for me. Just want to do what's right. And hopefully bring to the public's attention what it's like to be a nurse in Pa. Thanks again!
  8. by   oramar
    you are my hero!
  9. by   Zee_RN
    Nebby, I also work in a local Pittsburgh hospital. I'm very interested in knowing when your article will be in the paper. I don't usually get the Post-Gazette but certainly will the day your article appears! Please let us know.

    I'm within the West Penn-Allegheny Health System. I tried to email you to see where you are, in the event you didn't want to broadcast it here. But your email isn't listed in your profile. Be curious to know where in the city you are.

    You go girl! All us PA nurses appreciate your work in this! Lemme know if she wants to talk to more area nurses; I'm sure Oramar would join me in talking with her.
  10. by   Nebby Nurse
    Hi! The reporter Jeff Dolan was to have called me Thurs. morning. No call. Waited till this morning and sent a multipaged e-mail detailing the issues of all RNs and the problems affecting patient care where I work and am almost ashamed to say :Allegheny County Kane. Many of our problems here are the result of secrecy surrounding this political"hot-potato" taxpayer-funded,long term care facilities. Some of my concerns included the contracting of PT/OT services by Grane Corp., one of County Chief Exectutive Jim Roddeys biggest campaign contributers. And a whole host of other problems which since this admin. have come in to power have beset us and the citizens in our care. Omar, I am not a hero and and as a matter of fact feel lousy because of not being able to have the interview yet,not being able to speak of nursing issues and get them published. Not only am I psyched up but you all are too You've all been so supportive and have been an indispensible way for me to help hold onto my sanity! Maybe something good will happen yet. My e-mail is
  11. by   oramar
    A hero is a person who takes risk a in order to help others inspite of the potential for risk to themselves. You did not know the reporter was not going to follow through. They can be fickle and unreliable. Also, in some cases they can be got to by editors that say "we do not want to make that person or orginazation mad so drop the subject".
  12. by   cargal
    Hi Nebby and others,
    I am an RN from the Pittsburgh area also, currently one of those NOT working due to the hostile working environment. Nebby, don't give up, I have a feeling he will call. Can you find his email at the Post-Gazette? All us Pittsburgh nurses can email him and let him know he has an important story to do with you. Let us know anything-we are anxiously waiting!
    PS Let's all get together for lunch! There seems to be a number of us. Oramar will be in, I'll bet. Zee? Anyone else game? We can call the newspaper and let them know Pittsburgh nurses are getting together to discuss the issues and start a support group, lol!
    Last edit by cargal on Aug 24, '01
  13. by   Nebby Nurse
    He just e-mailed me and said we can talk next week. Can't wait! I'll keep you posted ,dear friends.
  14. by   NRSKarenRN
    Phew, "tech support" brother finaly could talk tonight and solve my computer glitch...unable to reply x 2 days @ advocacy site.

    Keep up the good work. Found that the Penna. Cable Network (PCN) is carrying TV coverage of
    Nursing Shortages : PA State Nurses Association this SATURDAY Aug. 25th at 9:10PM for anyone interested. Maybe you want to email this to reporter &/or tape it yourself to see what was presented.
    I finally got the corect info that PCN carried on COMCAST Wallingford (part of old Suburban Cable) on Channel 76. I will be taping it if you are unable.

    Also, plan on checking out PCN'c coverage Sunday, Aug.26th @4:40 PM :
    Drug Related Deaths
    PA House Urban Affairs Committee, Philadelphia.

    Thanks, Oramar for tip re PCN's coverage.