Report on Nursing Shortage with Solutions - page 2

Has anyone read "Health Care's Human Crisis: The American Nursing Shortage"? I found this report (80+ pages) to be extremely interesting, on point and thought provoking. I would appreciate any... Read More

  1. by   -jt
    <hospital administrators know that if they leave a job undone, or eliminate those who were doing the job, the nurse will eventually do it.
    This has been termed the fatal availability of the nursing profession.>

    We dont have a nurses aide in my unit and my hospital cut our housekeepers. The charge nurse has made a habit now of going around the unit at the end of the shift telling us all to "take care of your dirty linen" - meaning haul out all the linen bags & filled hampers, replace with empty bags & redistribute the hampers. Most of us ignored that, so she insisted, saying if we dont do it, the bags will pile up & the unit will be a mess. EXACTLY! And then they will have to do something about that like put the housekeepers back in there.

    But the charge nurse then decided that since we were not obeying, she will put our names on each hamper so she knows who is and isnt taking care of "their" linens. That idea was promptly squashed. The staff reminded her that she is a member of our union, has the same contract we do & she was shown the section of it where the hospital agreed that RNs are not to do housekeeping, transporting, pharmacy, etc. Its not our problem if the linens pile up. Its her responsibility to call the supervisor to get someone in to clean it up - not dump it on us.

    She is not very happy with our "unco-operativeneness" & now we have tension in the unit because some nurses are doing the housekeeping and some are sticking to the contract agreement. Those who are sticking to the agreement are getting flack not only from the charge nurse but also from the next shift because they didnt clean out "their" dirty laundry bins and "the next shift has to do it". Why are they missing the point that the next shift does not have to do it - no nurse should be doing it. Why arent all of us just making a phone call to the supervisor to say the hampers need to be to be cleared out? It wouldnt take many days of numerous phone calls each shift before a housekeeper is put back into our unit. Why wont some of these nurses see this instead of just taking the housekeeping job on themselves, & fighting with other nurses who rightfully follow their contract & wont do the houskeepers job?

    what we have yet again is more nurses fighjting with nurses over something that shouldnt even be happening.

    What I want to know is what do we have to do to obliterate this mind set of some nurses who believe that every job description & everything that has to be done to keep the place running while the hospital cuts & cuts to saves a buck suddenly becomes the RNs responsibility?

    We have a contract that says the hospital agrees that nurses will not do non-nursing tasks like housekeeping, but we have NURSES who put pressure, stress, & aggravation on other nurses who follow that agreement. While we end up fighting with each other about who is & who is not doing their share of the housekeeping for the unit when nobody is supposed to be doing it, the hospital sits back, saves money by not providing support workers, knows that the nurses will do this to each other & the job will get done by us out of sheer frustration. What good is gaining something in your contract when you not only dont enforce it, you insist on breaking it yourself?

    Talk about shooting yourself in the foot.
    Last edit by -jt on Jun 5, '02
  2. by   OC_An Khe
    There is an old saying that charity begins at home. We need to begin educating our fellow nurses that this sub-serviant behavior is really damaging to our profession. We as nurses were trained to identify and solve problems quickly, even quicker today with shortening lengths of stay. The tendencey to do someone else's job, the linen hamper is full so empty it, is part of this culture. You are right -jt let the linens pile up.
    Many nurses were taught in school that the sub serviant nurse is a good nurse. This has a very strong hold on the culture of nursing. Administrators, and our fellow nurses, take advantage of this. Even in those schools that stopped teaching the sub serviant role years ago that cultural attitude is still strong with in the profession. It will be difficult to change.
    Confrontation can work, but educating our peers and then forming a united front will in the long run be better for the profession.
  3. by   teamrn
    The RJW article will need to be tomorrow's reading, but it will get done.

    When are nurses going to stand up, put some hair on their chests, and demand that nurse execs listen to them and/or take working conditions more seriously? When was it that you last approached, or wrote a letter to an exec who you thought misrepresents you (or didn't take you seriously) and let that individual KNOW beyond a shadow of a doubt that you'll work for change, and HOW? These ppl are just that; people who put their pants on one leg at a time, and need their knickers knocked every now and then. When/if they hear from enough staff nurses who MEAN what they say (actions speak louder than words), they'll act in accordance.

    I go by this belief-or will die trying!
  4. by   lncmitch
    Lack of respect???!!! Poor working conditins??!!! Blah blah blah..Bottom line...crappy compensation. Let's quit cut to the chase...There will always be a shortage of nursing...Look at the compensation...You can be saintly and intellectual all you want..but think about this..people have more respect for something they pay a lot for.....look at your other professions..Just a thought...Quit selling yourselves short and demand more and you will get more of everything...compensation, respect, you name it..
  5. by   OC_An Khe
    Yes nursing compensation needs to rise, but if the working conditions don't change within the hospitals they will still remain a revolving door. And the shortage will continue to grow. The problems of nursing will not be solved by raising compensation alone. Although that must be done also.
  6. by   -jt
    <When are nurses going to stand up, put some hair on their chests,>

    Hey! I pay my electrolocist a lot of money to get rid of that stuff for me! I think we can do this without letting it grow back!

    Wouldnt it be an interesting day in DC if the posters from this board descended all at once upon the powers that be & gave them even just a sampling of the posts we've put here?
  7. by   Huganurse
    Furball, Are you serious? Are you really planning on leaving nursing?? OK, so be it, if that's what you want, but I don't think you've given your career a chance. There are other places and things you can do with your nursing degree without leaving it. Maybe I'm mistaken but I thought you just finished school in the last few months. I really hate to see us loose nurses so quickly.
  8. by   Furball
    Originally posted by Huganurse
    Furball, Are you serious? Are you really planning on leaving nursing?? OK, so be it, if that's what you want, but I don't think you've given your career a chance. There are other places and things you can do with your nursing degree without leaving it. Maybe I'm mistaken but I thought you just finished school in the last few months. I really hate to see us loose nurses so quickly.
    I've been an RN (hospital) for 5 years now. I tried homecare for a year but didn't care for it. Actually preferred the hospitals "safety" with the docs and other RN's around for help and brain picking when something comes up that I'm not sure about.

    I may have made a mistake going into nursing in the first place. The idea of helping people along with ongoing education and using high tech equipment sounded very appealing. Boy, reality bites. I'm going to try one more change in employment before I totally say adios.

    I've given nursing my very best. I come home everyday exhausted and drained. We'll see.

    Ya'll take care. Love this BB. Sure helps to vent!
  9. by   bestblondRN
    You all have brought up some very salient points about the reasons for the nursing shortage. I have been in nursing for almost 25 years and have seen how cyclical it tends to be--but this shortage is different. The difference now is that with insurance companies/Medicare holding the checkbook on reimbursements, hospitals are seeing less and less money for services rendered. Something that hospitals have never done (at least in the regions I have worked in) is to charge for nursing services--is our time and expertise something that is worthy of payment? I think so......perhaps even at a higher rate than the 2 minute blow-by visit by the physician. If they also want to pay us for the work that housekeeping and the other support services are supposed to do, fine......let's charge for those services as well. It'll get REAL expensive REAL quick. If we are to attain and RETAIN professional status, we have to start somewhere, and perhaps charging for our services is one place to begin. I really hate thinking that our knowledge and expertise is something that just gets rolled into the cost of the room! It promotes the idea that nursing care is just part of the all-inclusive cost, just like housekeeping, transport, laundry, etc.