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Nursing crisis looms as baby boomers age

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by Brian Brian, ASN, RN (Member)

Brian has 16 years experience as a ASN, RN and specializes in CCU, Geriatrics, Critical Care, Tele.

13 Articles; 201,209 Profile Views; 3,695 Posts

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You are reading page 5 of Nursing crisis looms as baby boomers age. If you want to start from the beginning Go to First Page.

29 Posts; 1,498 Profile Views

It is impossible not to look past what is currently happening to our older nurses. We need to ban together and start a shake up and impose some age discrimination complaints. Call us the gray nurses. Forcing older nurses to work 12hours shifts is similar to mandatory overtime and forcing it should be banned. If the younger nurses want to do it that fine but we should not be forced to working 12hours in the dell hole just to save the hospital money . 12 hours shifts is the loop hole to mandatory OT. It should always be voluntary and not forced on any nurse. As we retire and positions open and they want to make them 12h positions thats one thing but to force nurses who have been working 8 hour shifts for 20 years to working 12h in a row is barbaric and tantamount to mandatory OT even if the end result is less than 40 hours in the week. What are hospital administrators thinking? No nurse should ever be told you work the 12hour shift or you don't have a job.

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255 Posts; 4,585 Profile Views

I think if we read between the lines of all the posters above- and they are all correct, what I can get from this is and it's something I think we all know and most face is the hospital/healthcare 'powers that be' are plain out mentally ill. Thier personal bonuses and perks which are hefty- millions of dollars for the individual, are tied to hospital profits, if that slumps for a month WHO do they come after- the NURSES. The witch hunt begins- not fast enough, forgot to document this or that, need to cut hours, NO OT, work short, poor customer sevice skills= get written up, what ever the disipline may be. We take a beating I think there's an entire abusive culture thing going on between direct care nursing and administration/management. WE are the brunt of the higher ups personal profit frustration- they treat us with such disrespect, that they do everything but spit on us. As was mentioned above- if the new RN (whether she is new grad or older) can't catch on in the 12-16 week time frame, their gone,,,next. another for12-16 weeks,,,gone,,,next... Maybe we should stop attaching words to it like expendable and just call it abusive and mental illness. If you beat a group down enough they stop fighting and start to believe they deserve the treatment they are receiving. They'll some have us believing we don't deserve to be paid, they are trying with this work for free just to get experience deal. These hospitals are sick. They need to be held accountable for THEIR practices.. When one of theirs is caught frauding medicare what do they do- they swiftly remove him from harms way( get him out of his CEO position)and replace him with this woman- Judith Perch... who happens to have been a RN in her former life. Not hardly throwing the crooked CEO under the bus. I think that former nurse needs to look behind her- she may be the one they trow under the bus.

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1 Article; 624 Posts; 12,606 Profile Views

We do absolutely have a structural and long term nursing shortage, but it's currently masked by a short term recession. I've been at this long enough to have seen it before. At any given time, a certain percentage of people with nursing licenses are not in the nursing workforce: either they are women who are being supported by their husbands or they are nurses working at something other than nursing. When there is a recession and those other jobs go away, they come back to nursing and the shortage is temporarily relieved. Naturally, being shorsighted, the hospitals act like it's a permanent change and treat applicants like dirt.

As has been pointed out above, the answers in the long run are to raise the standards of pay and benefits so that more people are attracted to the profession, raise the pay for professors of nursing so that a nurse who takes time off to get a masters and teach can actually increase her pay rather than take a cut in pay, like it often is now; and make the working conditions attractive enough to keep good nurses at the bedside.

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378 Posts; 4,661 Profile Views

I was reading an article talking about the same problems the above posters are talking about and was amazed to find that the article was from 2001! So nothing has actually changed? Its the same issues. Its sad that hospital administrators will not make a more hospitable work environment for nurses. But it hasnt had any effect on the nursing schools because even though they are graduating more nurses there are thousands of qualified nursing students turned away from programs. Students still want to be nurses;).

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1 Article; 624 Posts; 12,606 Profile Views

I was reading an article talking about the same problems the above posters are talking about and was amazed to find that the article was from 2001! So nothing has actually changed? Its the same issues. Its sad that hospital administrators will not make a more hospitable work environment for nurses. But it hasnt had any effect on the nursing schools because even though they are graduating more nurses there are thousands of qualified nursing students turned away from programs. Students still want to be nurses;).

There are many ways of looking at this, but my personal belief is that the long term answer is for nurses to band together to take the power and influence in the system that should be ours. Which fundamentally means unions, as the only really viable way for that to happen - not just any unions, but unions that are nurse controlled and put nursing issues at the forefront. I think the new trend of the various fragmented state nurses associations coming back together again is an important step in the right direction, which hopefully will continue.

On another issue, which a few posters may not understand: At least in the highly unionized states, the salaries for experienced nurses are high enough now that they are considerably higher than those for beginning college professors. This has created a bizarre imbalance, wherein a nurse who takes time off work and spends money on tuition to get a masters degree and prepare to teach nursing has to actually take a cut in pay from what s/he can make at the hospital. This is compounded by the fact that nursing schools, by the very nature of what we do require a much richer teacher to student ratio than something like English or History, and it makes for an intractable economic problem: we are asking the state colleges that do most of the nursing education to increase their enrollment at a time when they are also being told to cut their budgets and can't find teachers. Plenty of people want into the profession, but the education is a bottleneck.

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105 Posts; 2,038 Profile Views

The last couple of paragraphs in the article gives a popular solution to the problem: let's hire more foreign nurses (probably at a lower hourly rate) since we do not have enough US nurses for the job... The lobbyists are getting paid good money to pump this info into the ears of your representatives.

It's a very scary concept, but it may become the trend, unless we all band together, speak up and protect our profession.

Barry Pactor, international director of global health care for consulting company HCL International, agrees that more nurses should be trained within the U.S. system. But as a short term solution for this "huge shortage," he said the U.S. government should loosen immigration restrictions on foreign health care workers.

"I don't see this as foreign nurses taking American jobs, because these are vacancies that already exist and cannot be [filled] by nurses currently in training," he said. "We'd be filling in the gaps until the training can catch up with the demand."

And what would you do with the foreign nurses at that point? Ship them home? Not bloody likely.

This type of article incenses me, as does the selfish greed of Mr. Pactor and his ilk.

It's our own fault, though, for yacking on the board here instead of communicating with our elected representatives.

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4,115 Posts; 40,277 Profile Views

Coming in on the tale end of this, and while not reading all the previous posts, can pretty much sum things up as the rest have stated: as far as the United States is concerned, there has most always been a shortage of nurses.

Even far back as the 1930's and 1940's there simply were not enough nurses, and yes hospitals went abroad to recruit nurses. First to England, Scotland and other English speaking Northern European countries, (though many nurses did come from the Nordic countries as well). When immigration laws were changed around the 1960's, the shift was to the Phillipines because English was spoken by many of the native population.

During both World Wars, there was such a drastic shortage of nurses that the federal government launched various programs to encourage and or train more women to enter the profession.

Basically, as others have stated, there has always been a large turnover of nurses from the bedside. Historically this was due to marriage and or child rearing, at which point women normally left the profession. Or, quite simply nurses then as no got fed up with bedside nursing and found other work instead.

Until Title IX and other laws were passed starting in the 1960's and 1970's the "other" work for women was severly limited and usually did not pay well, so most women and girls were "stuck" with nursing, unless they happend to marry and marry well. However once the aforementioned laws passed, whole new careers and jobs opened up for women, and the generations afterwards have been reaping the benefits. Girls born after say 1970 and certianly 1980 do not have to put up with what their mothers did in terms of finding employment doors closed to them strictly based upon gender. This has lead to many, many girls who might have entered nursing, choosing other careers instead, and the profession has never really recovered.

At least in the United States, there is a feast or famine approach to nurses. No one seems to realise it takes on average three years (ADN degree) to graduate a nurse, and perhaps several months or years after being licensed to truly have their bearings. For the most part everyone seems to be acting as if every hospital still had it's own nursing school, churning out new grads every year to replace nurses who have gone.

Let us not forget what managed care did to the profession during the 1980's and 1990's and what may still be down the pike once insurance companies and hospitals digest "ObamaCare", and look for ways to cut costs to keep their margins up. Given the past twenty year history, "cutting costs" does not bode well for the nursing profession, at least not those doing bedside care.

Nurses are being asked to care for more patients, seeing bits and pieces of their profession being handed out to unlicensed personnel/techs and so forth, all while their wages and benefits are stagnant. Yet, those in power wonder just why so many nurses leave the profession, and the difficulty in attracting highly qualified applicants.

This is not to say the profession itself does not share some of the blame.

After over forty years of going back and forth, there still is not one mandatory standard for entry into the profession. One camp sees nursing as a "Profession" the other as a profession, and the subject is one neither will agree upon or give ground. On side wants to increase educational standards, the other does not want to make things too difficult because of the need to "crank out" grads every two or so years, versus four.

We were joking in another thread about how funny it was that our grandchildren, or many others younger than a certian age didn't even know what nurse's caps were, and that nurses once wore them and starched whites. Well study after study also has shown a majority of the population does not even know what nurses actually do. Furthermore the oft asked question of pre-schoolers and grade school children about "what do you want to be when you grow up?" has few if any hands raised about becoming a nurse, even amoung young girls. Such girls will raise their hands for doctor, lawyer, and so froth, but nursing is O-W-T, out.

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4,115 Posts; 40,277 Profile Views

Coming in on the tale end of this, and while not reading all the previous posts, can pretty much sum things up as the rest have stated: as far as the United States is concerned, there has most always been a shortage of nurses.

Even far back as the 1930's and 1940's there simply were not enough nurses, and yes hospitals went abroad to recruit nurses. First to England, Scotland and other English speaking Northern European countries, (though many nurses did come from the Nordic countries as well). When immigration laws were changed around the 1960's, the shift was to the Philippines because English was spoken by many of the native population.

During both World Wars, there was such a drastic shortage of nurses that the federal government launched various programs to encourage and or train more women to enter the profession.

Basically, as others have stated, there has always been a large turnover of nurses from the bedside. Historically this was due to marriage and or child rearing, at which point women normally left the profession. Or, quite simply nurses then as no got fed up with bedside nursing and found other work instead.

Until Title IX and other laws were passed starting in the 1960's and 1970's the "other" work for women was severely limited and usually did not pay well, so most women and girls were "stuck" with nursing, unless they happened to marry and marry well. However once the aforementioned laws passed, whole new careers and jobs opened up for women, and the generations afterwards have been reaping the benefits. Girls born after say 1970 and certainly 1980 do not have to put up with what their mothers did in terms of finding employment doors closed to them strictly based upon gender. This has lead to many, many girls who might have entered nursing, choosing other careers instead, and the profession has never really recovered.

At least in the United States, there is a feast or famine approach to nurses. No one seems to realise it takes on average three years (ADN degree) to graduate a nurse, and perhaps several months or years after being licensed to truly have their bearings. For the most part everyone seems to be acting as if every hospital still had it's own nursing school, churning out new grads every year to replace nurses who have gone.

Let us not forget what managed care did to the profession during the 1980's and 1990's and what may still be down the pike once insurance companies and hospitals digest "ObamaCare", and look for ways to cut costs to keep their margins up. Given the past twenty year history, "cutting costs" does not bode well for the nursing profession, at least not those doing bedside care.

Nurses are being asked to care for more patients, seeing bits and pieces of their profession being handed out to unlicensed personnel/techs and so forth, all while their wages and benefits are stagnant. Yet, those in power wonder just why so many nurses leave the profession, and the difficulty in attracting highly qualified applicants.

This is not to say the profession itself does not share some of the blame.

After over forty years of going back and forth, there still is not one mandatory standard for entry into the profession. One camp sees nursing as a "Profession" the other as a profession, and the subject is one neither will agree upon or give ground. On side wants to increase educational standards, the other does not want to make things too difficult because of the need to "crank out" grads every two or so years, versus four.

We were joking in another thread about how funny it was that our grandchildren, or many others younger than a certain age didn't even know what nurse's caps were, and that nurses once wore them and starched whites. Well study after study also has shown a majority of the population does not even know what nurses actually do. Furthermore the oft asked question of pre-schoolers and grade school children about "what do you want to be when you grow up?" has few if any hands raised about becoming a nurse, even among young girls. Such girls will raise their hands for doctor, lawyer, and so froth, but nursing is O-W-T, out.

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1 Post; 569 Profile Views

I am trying to get into nursing school, for this fall. I am 44, male been an at home parent for 13+ years. I also have an AS in comp sci.

I remember back in the late 80's early 90's when hospital want to cut cost by using more techs and less nurses. Health care is big business. For proffit or non, the bottom line is what is most important. Nurses are overhead, DR's make money, imo tests make money.

Customer service, which many nurses are, is not lucrative. The "shortage' is more about a shortage in staff that is will to work for a lot less. But that is not limited to just nursing.

I know many nurses, all are over worked, but love their jobs.

Kevin

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11 Posts; 1,077 Profile Views

What I don't get is how we can be so shorthanded on Nurses, yet nursing programs are so hard to get into. I don't mean hard academically, because if you want to be a nurse you should be tested and challenged academically, I mean hard as in "if you're not in the top 5% of you class, you don't get in to a community college program." We need more RN programs out there so more students can pursue their degree on their first application, rather than their 2nd or third.

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JeanettePNP has 8 years experience as a MSN, RN, NP and specializes in Pediatric Pulmonology and Allergy.

1 Article; 1,863 Posts; 26,333 Profile Views

What I don't get is how we can be so shorthanded on Nurses, yet nursing programs are so hard to get into. I don't mean hard academically, because if you want to be a nurse you should be tested and challenged academically, I mean hard as in "if you're not in the top 5% of you class, you don't get in to a community college program." We need more RN programs out there so more students can pursue their degree on their first application, rather than their 2nd or third.
Even with the current graduation rates many new grads are having trouble finding jobs. So let's churn out even MORE nursing grads so they can be unemployed for even LONGER. What a great plan.

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11 Posts; 1,077 Profile Views

What a contradiction. Everyone is always complaining about the shortage in Nurses and yet new grads can't find jobs. I guess its just something that isnt solved so easily. No need for the sarcasm though as there is clearly no simple solution. I was simply stating my opinion on the shortage mentioned in the article.

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