Yet Another One That Misses the Boat

  1. This one appeared in this Sunday's NY Daily News. Unfortunately, while the college administrator who wrote it reports that there are 126,000 vacant RN positions nationwide, he neglects to mention that there are about 500,000 currently-licensed nurses nationwide who are not working in nursing right now & could be tapped as an available pool to be brought back to the bedside if improvements were made to attract them - but are being ignored. Nor does he mention one word about WORKING CONDITIONS that continue to drive RNs away & keep them away. His whole focus is on recruiting new students from high schools & and under-represented groups. He mentions marketing & altruism & nursing schools but not one word about how to keep the new students in the nursing workforce if these conditions persist. Otr how to keep experienced nurses from leaving. Maybe he just doesnt see all the NYSNA press releases reporting on RN working conditions in the very newspaper where his column appears. And to think, he has chaired a task force in which spent the past year coming up with recommendations to solve the RN staffing crisis - yet he says nothing in his article about working conditions being a major part of the problem. How did he miss that??????
    See below:

    Oh, nurse,
    you're needed

    NY Daily News
    July 21, 2002

    America is in the midst of a health care crisis because of a tremendous dearth of trained nurses. There is a gap of 126,000 nurses in our nation's hospitals, and by the year 2020, it is estimated that there will be a 20% shortage in the number of needed nurses.

    Enrollments at nursing colleges and universities are in a six-year decline. Unless this trend is reversed, the consequences for patients will be bleak. A recent study in The New England Journal of Medicine found that patients in hospitals with low numbers of registered nurses are likely to suffer complications, stay in the hospital longer and die from conditions such as shock or gastrointestinal bleeding.

    Nowhere is the shortage more acute than in New York City. Last year, city hospitals reported vacancy rates of 8% for registered nurses and 12% for licensed practical nurses. Continuing care facilities reported vacancies exceeding 15% for registered and licensed practical nurses and more than 10% for nurse managers.

    An even greater emergency looms as the supply of nurses continues to decline while demand rises because of an aging population, changes in health care delivery and waning nursing school graduation rates.

    A City University of New York task force I chaired over the past year has developed a series of recommendations that are applicable nationwide.

    First, health care providers, nursing associations and health care unions must engage in partnerships with nursing schools on recruitment, marketing and placement. We must get the word out to prospective students that nursing offers incredible opportunities for exercising leadership, independent judgment and analytical skills.

    From an altruistic standpoint, nursing represents an opportunity to truly make a difference in people's lives - and actually save lives. Moreover, there are financial rewards. Students at Borough of Manhattan Community College graduating with an associate degree in nursing are walking into $55,000-a-year jobs. Senior and specialty nurses can earn upward of $100,000.

    Of course, college-level nursing programs can, on their own, play a key role. There must be stepped-up efforts to attract more high school students to these programs. We must work with secondary schools to improve science and math instruction for high-schoolers.

    We must encourage men, Hispanics and other underrepresented groups to pursue nursing careers.

    We need to offer students more support educationally and financially, from tuition assistance to mentoring and paid internships. We must also offer more flexible nursing class schedules, with courses on evenings and weekends to accommodate working students. And we need to admit better qualified students and rigorously enforce grade requirements.

    Borough of Manhattan Community College is piloting the Nursing Now program to help achieve these goals. It enables high school students to take college-level pre-nursing courses. Students also participate in workshops conducted by our nursing professors to introduce them to a college nursing curriculum. Finally, we promise them scholarships if they enroll to major in nursing.

    With more students comes a need for more qualified faculty. Colleges must hire more nursing professors, make salaries more competitive and add better incentives. Fortunately, CUNY has recognized the need. Responding to the city's tremendous nursing shortage, and based on the task force's recommendations, it recently announced it would add 30 full-time nursing professors to its programs this year.

    The immediate implementation of these recommendations is essential to stemming the shortage of nurses, both in New York and across the nation.

    Prez is president of the Borough of Manhattan Community College

  2. Visit -jt profile page

    About -jt

    Joined: Oct '00; Posts: 2,662; Likes: 46


  3. by   rbez

    I hope you sent the same message to the newspaper. Their readers should have an opportunity to hear your (our)perspective.
  4. by   WashYaHands
    he has chaired a task force in which spent the past year coming up with recommendations to solve the RN staffing crisis
    I surely hope that there were RN's on this task force too.

  5. by   -jt
    <I hope you sent the same message to the newspaper.>

    and to the college president who wrote it & to the nursing leaders of this state.
  6. by   DelGR
    Since the article had a link to the author of the article, I sent him an e-mail. Maybe we all should.
  7. by   l.rae
    jt...thanks for the lonk...l sent off and e-mail...doubt l will hear back though...LR
  8. by   RNanne
    I emailed them a book. The suits and the dummies don't have a clue. Sitting on their butts in meetings, task forces, committees etc. They probably have to have a committee to see which one of them gets to use the bathroom first.
  9. by   amy
    I emailed also...I too doubt will get a response.
  10. by   -jt
    <<I emailed them a book>>


    If you want to send a copy of your letters to the editor of the newspaper that printed this article, you can email to:
    Last edit by -jt on Jul 25, '02
  11. by   -jt
    a copy of a letter sent by my union (New York State Nurses Assoc) to the newspaper in response to this article. They also sent a copy to the college administrator who wrote the article:


    The New York Daily News
    450 W. 33rd Street
    New York, NY 10001

    July 26, 2002

    To the Editor:

    In his July 21 article on the serious nursing shortage facing New York, Antonio Perez outlines a series of recommendations to get more young people interested in entering the nursing profession. These ideas are welcome, and many of them are already being implemented throughout the country. But educating more nurses simply will not solve the long-term nursing shortage.

    Idealistic young nurses who enter the work force today are quickly discouraged to find that real-life nursing is not what they expected. They can't spend enough time with their patients because of short staffing. They can't count on being with their families because they are routinely forced to work beyond their shifts. They are rushed, exhausted, and under constant pressure. They have little or no influence on the way healthcare is being delivered. Within a short time, they leave the profession.

    Based on results of a 2000 survey by the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, it's estimated that nearly 10,000 registered nurses in New York are working in non-nursing jobs. Amazingly, that's a 32% jump from 1996. According to a 2001 study by the International Hospital Outcomes Research Consortium, 33% of nurses under 30 said they were thinking of leaving the profession, primarily because of working conditions.

    Thousands of qualified, experienced nurses are available to return to the bedside if these issues are addressed. Until then, nurses will "bleed out" of the nursing profession faster than they come in.

    Robert V. Piemonte, RN
    President, New York State Nurses Association >>
    Last edit by -jt on Jul 26, '02
  12. by   RNanne
    Thank you for the copy of that letter. It should be sent to every news outlet in this country. We need to yell and yell until someone hears us. Our whispering and murmuring won't cut it this time. Thanks again for sharing with us.
  13. by   Level2Trauma
    JT, I nominate you for the "Nursing Advocate of the Year Award ". You are always striving to make our working environment better for the rest of us. As soon as I complete my MSN (this Monday [YAHOO]), I will be joining you on the frontline...too fight for a better working environment for nurses. I thank you and salute you for your undying efforts.
    Last edit by Level2Trauma on Jul 26, '02
  14. by   -jt
    <I nominate you for the "Nursing Advocate of the Year Award ".>

    OMG!!! Thats sooooooo funny! Thanks. I WAS nominated for the ANAs National Staff Nurse Patient Advocacy Award this yr by co-workers, nurse members & staff in my state association. AND my nurse manager & the nursing executives at my hospital wrote letters in support of it too (can you imagine??). Someone much more deserving won but it was really an honor to know that what one is doing actually is helping others.


    RnAnne, youre so right about sending letters like that to all the newspapers. I love email - especially the copy & paste feature.
    Last edit by -jt on Jul 26, '02