<I'll be starting a position as a new grad in a couple of weeks. I'm just wondering what the big issues are that I need to be aware of that are affecting nursing. I do know about the shortage, but, what else is going on?>
Good luck to you! For your own knowledge, and personal professional growth, first, stop by and browse your state nurses assoc website to see whats going with nurse's issues where you live. Join it and get involved. That involvement could be as much as particpating on a statewide committee or as little as sending an email to oppose or support state legislation that will affect nurses there. Its completely up to you how involved to get, but being a member of your state nurses assoc is the best way I know of to keep on top of the issues.
For whats happening with nursing issues on a national front, visit places like this website and also the American Nurses Assoc website:
For nursing issues at your state level, see: http://www.aznurse.org/default.asp?PageID=10000647
Something interesting is happening in Arizona lately:
<Arizona Nurses Assoc NEWS
Hospitals voluntarily sign pledge to prohibit forced overtime -
3/27/03 Arizona Nurses Association (AzNA) Officials announced today that over 50% of the patient beds in Arizona are now represented by hospitals who have "Signed the Pledge" for Voluntary Mandatory Overtime Prohibition.
The number of participating hospitals who have agreed to prohibit mandatory overtime in their facilities continues to rise. Ask YOUR facility whether or not they have "Signed the Pledge" yet. Please see the news and information page of this website at http://www.aznurse.org/default.asp?PageID=10000648 for detailed information on how you can advance this effort which is sponsored by the Arizona Nurses' Association and Arizona Organization of Nurse Executives. Our hope is that by improving the conditions in our state's hospitals we can make Arizona an attractive place for nurses to work.>
For your employment, when you go on interviews, remember to interview the hospital - not just have them interview you. Ask about their medical benefits, pensions, RN staffing levels, patient ratios, levels of support staff, and if you will be required to work forced overtime. Also, look at not just the salary they offer but also the level of benefits and pension. Some facilities may have a little lower starting salary but much better medical and pension plans. Weigh it all when considering which job to accept. And dont be like so many of us who didnt think not having a pension mattered 'cause we were only 20 years old at the time and pensions were the last thing on our minds. Now we're 20 years older
and realizing we worked all that time & have nothing to retire on.