Published Jan 6, 2004
I am always hearing on this board that people became or are becoming nurses to help people. I think that is great. I don't understand though, why they find it acceptable to be taken advantage of. I mean just because you are going into nursing to help people shouldn't you get paid well and treated right. There are a lot of people out there that like their jobs, but they still want to get paid well and get treated right. Can someone explain why many nurses think that accepting lower pay and less respect is acceptable? Would these same people that find lower pay and less respect acceptable be nurses for free?
llg, PhD, RN
OK ... I'll nibble ...
I think you may be mis-interpreting some people's comments. I doubt there are many nurses who would prefer to be underpaid than paid well. It's just that many of us would rather work in a job that has personal &/or spiritual meaning for us than work in a job that does not hold that much meaning for us -- even if the pay is less. We knew that we had the capability of earning more money in other careers when we chose nursing, but chose nursing (and continue to choose nursing) because of the personal fulfillment we receive in knowing that our work helps people. We help them more than people who "make and sell widgets" for a living.
It's not that we wouldn't LIKE more money, better benefits, etc. Personally, I would love a big raise. It's just that money was/is not the primary motivation behind my career choice and I don't regret settling for less money in exchange for personal satisfaction.
I have sometimes asked myself the question, "Would I be willing to work twice as hard and/or be twice as stressed in exchange for twice the money?" The answer has always been a resounding, "NO!" That doesn't mean I have no qualms about being taken advantage of. I don't let myself be abused and take responsibility for the decisions I make about my work and compensation -- even when it has not as much as I would like.
nurses don't ask to be taken advantage of by the suits that think they know how to run a hospital. All they see is the numbers, if they can get away with paying you less, they will. All we ask for is a job we can care for our patients and give them what they need, and respect for trying to do so.
They need to remember it is the nurses responsible for the healthcare in this country and not the people with business degrees. they have no concept of good care til their family member is ill, then you will find there is good staffing on the floor.
Of course nurses should be treated well and paid better. We are responsible for people's life; whether they have a good or bad outcome in the hospital usually depends on the nurse. The majority of nurses are in this profession to take care of people and help people, usually that means taking second place. That is the same reason we work overtime and double shifts, because our patients need us. That doesn't make it right, just the way it is.
Eventually we will get sick of the poor pay and little respect, that or the managers will smarten up (which do you think will happen first? ).
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