Why Nurses Leave Nursing - page 3

health affairs-the policy journal of the health sphere n a r r a t i v e m a t t e r s january/february 2002 3/12/02 note: acrobat reader required to view articles as they are now archived.... Read More

  1. by   nursemicke
    WOW. Thanks Karen. Dynamic articles. What got me was when Ray Bingham talked about the nurses"resignation to unsafe conditions". How many patients will die before nursing speaks up and says NO MORE???
  2. by   nightingale

    susanmary ... Are you suggesting that we don't work in hotels?

    :roll :roll :roll LMAO.. why yes I believe we do...

    As to the seriousness of these articles... yes yes yes.... we must wake up and let the public know! I believe the only real way to empower us and the cause it to get busy and let the public know... one way I am working towards this endeavor is by joining ANA and becoming active on the local level....

    jt.. you amaze me... I know someday... we are gonna meet and we gotta have some beers,,, wine whatever,,,, and talk... thank you for your posting which give me food to continue... and yes.. some light hearted smiles along the way....

    Karen.. God Bless you girl.... you are a rock and salvation in the storm of getting through the puter stuff.... (big smile)

    In peace,

  3. by   nursemicke
    Well now they took my post off of general discussions telling them they should visit this discussion.
    Last edit by nursemicke on Mar 13, '02
  4. by   -jt
    <They had Ms. Foley on, from the ANA, and the biggest part of the discussion was that the nursing shortage was because the population of nurses is older than the mean population of the country, and as the country ages, they need more nurses.
    She did talk a little bit about the problems with staffing, with mandatory overtime, but I came away with the impression that she thought that the problem was due to all of us aging.>

    Unfortunately, when we talk to reporters, we have no control over what they edit out. CBS did a special on the nurses shortage last year and completely eliminated Foley's piece of the interview. She had focused on working conditions as being a major cause of the shortage which is really not a shortage in numbers of nurses but a refusal by nurses to accept these jobs where they are so abused. None of that was aired. Maybe the hospital that was being highlighted in the story objected to her comments and had some influence in eliminating them from program. Whatever the reason, neither she nor any of the older, experienced nurses who spoke about those issues made the cut that was on TV. But the program did show a new grad who said how thrilled she is with her salary.

    I recently spoke to a news reporter who asked for my comments for an article on a new state law that will add a cigarette tax to be used to raise salaries of healthcare workers to help reverse the over-all shortage. I said that although higher salaries is an important issue, this alone will not reverse the shortage. The working conditions and abusive management practices such as forced overtime must be corrected first or people will be coming in, seeing what they have to deal with, and going right back out the door. All the reporter printed in the story was that I said raising salaries was very important. I sent a letter to the editor telling him that they didnt get it quite right. That letter was never printed. ::::sighhhhh:::::

    Below is an excerpt from Mary Foley's comments at a recent Congressional hearing on nursing's present situation. The full text can be read at:

    "......By far the riskiest result of understaffing is the abuse of mandatory overtime as a staffing tool. Nurses across the nation have told me their concerns about the dramatic increase in the use of mandatory overtime......employers are insisting that a nurse work an extra shift (or more) or face dismissal for insubordination, as well as being reported to the state board of nursing for patient abandonment.........

    ANA's concerns about the use of mandatory overtime are directly related to patient safety. We know that sleep loss influences several aspects of performance, leading to slowed reaction time, failure to respond when appropriate, false responses, slowed thinking, and diminished memory. In fact, 1997 research by Dawson and Reid at the University of Australia showed that work performance is more likely to be impaired by moderate fatigue than by alcohol consumption. Their research shows that significant safety risks are posed by workers who stay awake for long periods. Thus, it only stands to reason that an exhausted nurse is more likely to commit a medical error than a nurse who is not forced to work overtime.......

    we believe that the abusive use of overtime promotes poor patient care and therefore is a matter of public health safety. Just as limits on work hours for airline pilots, flight attendants, and truck drivers are enacted through transportation law, we believe that this matter should be handled through health law. The Safe Nursing and Patient Care Act is a fair, measured response to the abuse of mandatory overtime. ANA strongly encourages all Members of this Committee to support its enactment....

    In the end, any system that requires a nurse to work a 16-hour shift, while caring for too many critically ill patients, in a ward where he or she is not supported by adequate staff is destined to failure.....

    we insist that the central issues of staffing, overtime and whistleblower protections must not be lost in this debate......

    We are called to the profession by a desire to provide compassionate care to people in need. Believe me, no one becomes a nurse for the money. We are driven by a desire to provide safe, high-quality health services. We will remain in patient care as long as this is possible. But

    As long as unreasonable schedules, dangerous understaffing, and fears of institutional reprisal keep nurses from meeting this calling, many will continue to leave the bedside.....

    Nurses do not want to be a part of a health system that fails to meet the needs of patients. Registered nurses, hospital administrators, other health care providers, health system planners, and consumers must come together in a meaningful way to create a system that supports both patients and health care providers. We should begin by improving the environment for nursing......."

    Statement of the American Nurses Association
    for the Committee on Ways and Means Subcommittee on Health
    Regarding Improving Patient Safety
    March 7, 2002

    Presented By
    Mary E. Foley, MS, RN