The death of nursing

  1. I have been an ICU nurse the majority of my 30 years in nursing. I started out and am still a diploma RN. I learned "old school" but have kept up with technology and have always felt that at the bedside one did not know if I had a degree or not.

    My employer has been actively at war with nursing for the past few years. Making cuts in the name of lack of medicare reimbursement. I have watched the nursing numbers dwindle, have seen ancillary staff done away with. We are now facing cuts in our hours to save the hospital on having to pay benefits. I am sad, very sad that nursing is dying.

    I have always been the type of nurse that has frequently, on an almost daily basis been sincerely thanked by my patients or their families, have frequently had a patient say "you have taken such good care of me." Have frequently gotten a smile out of the sickest or most nervous patients with my "humor."

    But now I am afraid. I am afraid that nursing is dying and I am afraid I will lose my job and won't get another because I lack a BSN and I am in my 50's. I am sad that I devoted so many years to a heartless hospital system that does not appreciate my years of service and the fact that I am not a bump on a log.

    I am mainly sad because nursing is dying and all those "nurses" with advanced degrees are not acting as nurses and being proactive in trying to save nursing. Instead they are siding with management big wigs, ceo's with big salaries and allowing nursing to die. You are the ones that never stayed too long at the bedside and realizes there was a real, live person who was depending on you to give excellent patient care, to be an ear, to give hope to the hopeless, to crack a whip on those that were giving up, to hold the hand of the dying. I would have to think if you had stayed just a little while at the bedside you would realize the value of a nurse, the value of me and would not contribute to the death of nursing.
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    About massrn116

    Joined: Jan '09; Posts: 117; Likes: 183
    from US

    64 Comments

  3. by   Esme12
    Here here....!
  4. by   Here.I.Stand
    *Round of applause* Thank you for so many years of devoted patient care and for all the knowledge I'm sure you've imparted to newer nurses.
  5. by   anon456
    Amen! I put myself through nursing school because my heart led me to it. I already have a BA and a desk job, and then took time off to raise my kids. That was a few years ago and I have an ADN. I think I am a good nurse, and I am one of the stronger nurses on the unit because we just hired a bunch of "green" BSN's who are still learning their way. Who do the new BSN nurses call for help? Me. They will be amazing RNs someday but at the bedside, does it matter that they did more research papers than I did? No, it matters that they can do what needs to be done to get a patient through the night.

    I am being strongly encouraged by management to get my BSN. I have kids who will start college in a few years. I am saving for their college. And I am tired. I have worked hard my whole life and my time for stressing over exams and papers is over. I want to enjoy my off time doing what makes me happy. Time is precious. I am happy where I am. I love being a worker bee. I never want to be a manger. Why can't I just be the valuable person I am doing the bedside skills I do? Why do I need to "finish" my degree by writing papers about hospital proposals and such? I will never do this in real life. For the last 1.5 years they have only hired BNS's. I was told that they would not let me go, but I would not be able to transfer *within my own hospital* because each unit is only hiring BSN's now. I am stuck.

    Last year a long-time very good PICU RN manager was made to go back to bedside nursing because of the new BSN for managers policy. She was over 50 years old and she was asked to get her BSN. She was trusted and worth her weight in gold. But being older she could not do all the physical work required of hourly turning and such, and she transferred to outpatient easy work somewhere until she retired. We lost a very very good nurse.
  6. by   nekozuki
    A couple years ago during clinicals, an RN pulled my group aside. She lined us up and asked us one by one what field of nursing we wanted to go into. Every student had a field they were strongly interested in, and every student was mocked and cautioned against it. This RN, who had been a nurse for twenty years, told us to get the hell out of nursing or use our degree in either the legal field or marketing, because it was a dying profession.

    My generation is graduating into a poor job market with higher debt, lower pay and sometimes non-existent benefits. New grad RNs sometimes work for LPN pay, and LPNs don't work in many places at all, and we've learned that hospitals will offer neither loyalty nor job security. A career in bedside nursing can be a frightening prospect for us younger folks constantly looking over our shoulders for the next round of layoffs or pay cuts. Heck, in my company, I am offered no benefits, no raises, classified as per diem despite a reliable 48/hr scheduled workweek, and only older nurses grandfathered in under old rates enjoy such luxuries, as they have been permanently eliminated for new hires.

    It's not that we don't love nursing. It just seems that these days, nursing doesn't love us back.
  7. by   LadyFree28
    Quote from nekozuki
    It's not that we don't love nursing. It just seems that these days, nursing doesn't love us back.
    Guess we are looking for that loving, nursing feeling....
  8. by   14Gemini
    AMEN!!!!!
  9. by   MatrixRn
    Per the OP post "I am mainly sad because nursing is dying and all those "nurses" with advanced degrees are not acting as nurses and being proactive in trying to save nursing. Instead they are siding with management big wigs, ceo's with big salaries and allowing nursing to die. You are the ones that never stayed too long at the bedside...."

    I was right with you and applauding while reading your post until I got to the part above which descended into back biting on your fellow nurses. If we look at nursing as a whole, one of the reasons we are not taken as seriously as we should be is because we are constantly picking apart the profession.
    I can go to another thread and find the BSN vs ADN fight. In this post it was, I am working by butt off and ONLY if the those nurses who work management would fix it, all would be okay. It does not work that way....if we are to fix nursing ALL of us need to be engaged, and offering solutions.
  10. by   Sam J.
    Quote from massrn116
    I have been an ICU nurse the majority of my 30 years in nursing. I started out and am still a diploma RN. I learned "old school" but have kept up with technology and have always felt that at the bedside one did not know if I had a degree or not.

    My employer has been actively at war with nursing for the past few years. Making cuts in the name of lack of medicare reimbursement. I have watched the nursing numbers dwindle, have seen ancillary staff done away with. We are now facing cuts in our hours to save the hospital on having to pay benefits. I am sad, very sad that nursing is dying.

    I have always been the type of nurse that has frequently, on an almost daily basis been sincerely thanked by my patients or their families, have frequently had a patient say "you have taken such good care of me." Have frequently gotten a smile out of the sickest or most nervous patients with my "humor."

    But now I am afraid. I am afraid that nursing is dying and I am afraid I will lose my job and won't get another because I lack a BSN and I am in my 50's. I am sad that I devoted so many years to a heartless hospital system that does not appreciate my years of service and the fact that I am not a bump on a log.

    I am mainly sad because nursing is dying and all those "nurses" with advanced degrees are not acting as nurses and being proactive in trying to save nursing. Instead they are siding with management big wigs, ceo's with big salaries and allowing nursing to die. You are the ones that never stayed too long at the bedside and realizes there was a real, live person who was depending on you to give excellent patient care, to be an ear, to give hope to the hopeless, to crack a whip on those that were giving up, to hold the hand of the dying. I would have to think if you had stayed just a little while at the bedside you would realize the value of a nurse, the value of me and would not contribute to the death of nursing.
    To read such a sobering and poignant story, in the midst of so many nurses that cannot find work or pay their bills- even while others claim there is no nursing shortage (and that nurses make great money) leaves me scratching my head, with amazement. As in- "I should have had a V-8!?".

    OP: Might want to explain to folks what you mean by 'diploma RN'- I'm betting most of them have no idea what that means. Even a BSN is apparently not enough to satisfy the ongoing push for nurses to obtain ever-advanced education, even as opportunities, and pay, continue to backslide...despite claims by some to the contrary?
  11. by   Sam J.
    Not that, looking back on things, I would have done anything else- and thank 'god' for the permament vacation nursing has given me.

    -Got in While the Gitten' was GOOD
  12. by   SNJS
    I really loved this post, as sad as it made me. I have been working in the ICU for just two years, and I can say that I have learned everything I know from nurses like you! I am definitely the youngest in age AND experience on my unit so I can say that I truly appreciate the knowledge, skill, and sincerity of nurses like you. I am sorry for the direction that the nursing profession may be heading, but I can only hope that these new nurses like myself can provide as good of nursing care as you have.
  13. by   nursel56
    Quote from massrn116
    I have been an ICU nurse the majority of my 30 years in nursing. I started out and am still a diploma RN. I learned "old school" but have kept up with technology and have always felt that at the bedside one did not know if I had a degree or not.

    My employer has been actively at war with nursing for the past few years. Making cuts in the name of lack of medicare reimbursement. I have watched the nursing numbers dwindle, have seen ancillary staff done away with. We are now facing cuts in our hours to save the hospital on having to pay benefits. I am sad, very sad that nursing is dying.

    I have always been the type of nurse that has frequently, on an almost daily basis been sincerely thanked by my patients or their families, have frequently had a patient say "you have taken such good care of me." Have frequently gotten a smile out of the sickest or most nervous patients with my "humor."

    But now I am afraid. I am afraid that nursing is dying and I am afraid I will lose my job and won't get another because I lack a BSN and I am in my 50's. I am sad that I devoted so many years to a heartless hospital system that does not appreciate my years of service and the fact that I am not a bump on a log.

    I am mainly sad because nursing is dying and all those "nurses" with advanced degrees are not acting as nurses and being proactive in trying to save nursing. Instead they are siding with management big wigs, ceo's with big salaries and allowing nursing to die. You are the ones that never stayed too long at the bedside and realizes there was a real, live person who was depending on you to give excellent patient care, to be an ear, to give hope to the hopeless, to crack a whip on those that were giving up, to hold the hand of the dying. I would have to think if you had stayed just a little while at the bedside you would realize the value of a nurse, the value of me and would not contribute to the death of nursing.
    I'm really sorry this has happened and more so knowing that your experience is far from unique. I get so depressed about it I'm actually glad to be walking through the exit door pretty soon.

    I think those inclined to say go back to school no matter what your personal circumstances (because they did!) don't really get it that the issue is having our current skills and experience discarded like something you toss in the garbage.

    I'm sure the backbiting culture is tiresome to some, but the cause is institutionalized by one faction seeking to destroy another. The actual nursing shortage kept that effort ineffective for decades. The end of the nursing shortage is doing what 50 years of divisive rhetoric could not despite the probability that faction will take credit for it. It's going to be a bumpy ride for experienced ADN and diploma nurses in the next few years.

    I really hope you don't lose your job. It may help to focus on all those thousands of patients under your care you have touched by your presence in their most trying challenges.
  14. by   featherzRN
    It seems this is happening more often these days. I'm all for higher education, and I think that eventually a 4 year degree should be required as entry level, but making RN's with a zillion years of experience go back to school is just not necessary. Grandfather those nurses in! I've been a nurse for 25+ years and I *did* do a BSN last year, but I had the time and the inclination to do it. No one forced me, I just wanted it and figured I might be able to use it someday. I didn't find it difficult, but honestly it's not anything that made me a better nurse. I know how to write APA papers now and I can identify paintings from the Rococo period.

    It's the same thing that's happening with the LPN's out here - they are great nurses and suddenly they aren't?

    That said, for those that are being *forced* to go back to school - know that you CAN do it if needed no matter your age. Look through the forums here - there are programs for every learning style that are not overly expensive and long. My degree ended up costing just over $1K when I factored in the tax credit - that's pretty low, but I've seen several schools under 10K. Hopefully these 'go back or else' employers are offering some reimbursement?

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