Future Shortage in Bedside Nurses

  1. I have been an RN for 22 years. In recent years, we all know that the trend has been for acute inpatient facilities to try to hire BSN nurses as much as possible. However, another trend that I am seeing, both here on these forums and in the places where I have worked, is that most of the young BSN nurses have no desire to do bedside nursing any longer than they have to. All I seem to hear is that they all want to either move into a management position or go back to school to become an NP or CRNA. Even the ones who haven't voiced those goals have expressed a great contempt for bedside Med/Surg nursing and want to work in specialty areas such as OB. The thought process seems to be that they didn't go to school for four years "just to" care for sick people at the bedside. If this continues, it seems that there is going to be a great shortage of bedside nurses in the near future as more and more of the "old school" nurses retire.

    Does anyone else see this where you work? What happens to the army when everyone wants to be a general and no one wants to be a foot soldier? I'm just curious. I have over 100 undergrad college credits that I could apply towards a BSN, but at this point in my career, I just want to finish out my years as a nurse taking care of people who need help. Never had any desire to climb the ladder whatsoever. Are any of you new grads in the same boat, where you would be contented to do bedside nursing for the foreseeable future, or is being a bedside nurse becoming passe'?
    Last edit by westieluv on Aug 29, '12
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    About westieluv

    Joined: Jul '10; Posts: 951; Likes: 2,194
    RN; from US
    Specialty: 26 year(s) of experience in Med/Surg, Tele, Dialysis, Hospice


  3. by   classicdame
    wanting and getting are two different things. There are not enough management jobs for everyone.
  4. by   turnforthenurse
    I have my BSN. I have been a nurse for over a year but as of now I have no desire to go back to school or to move "up" the clinical ladder. I'm perfectly happy with my BSN and being a bedside nurse. Out of all of my nursing school friends, I seem to be the only one not going back to school for their MSN.
  5. by   33762FL
    I graduated with a diploma/AS in 2011 but had a previous unrelated college degree. I've been in med-surg since I graduated and I have no plans of changing that any time in the near future. I may want to go into a specialty (but still direct patient care) like endoscopy in the future, but would still want to work med-surg per diem. I'm working on my BSN and will finish in 6 months, but I have no desire to go into management. I am only getting the BSN because it will give me more options of what facilities will hire me as a bedside nurse or for a specialty in addition to med-surg.
  6. by   westieluv
    That's what I've noticed too, that everyone seems to be going back to school for their MSN. I can't think of a single nurse with their MSN who works on the floor either. I mean, yes, floor nursing is stressful, grueling work a lot of the time, but someone has to do it, and with the baby boomers just now getting into their sixties and seventies, the need is going to be greater than ever as they continue to age and have the normal health problems that go along with it.

    I didn't mean to imply that all BSN nurses want to move on, and I'm glad that you are happy being a floor nurse. It's just that the majority of new, young nurses that I know seem to have no intention whatsoever to make a career of doing bedside care, and it makes me wonder what this, combined with the ever increasing stipulations of Medicare will mean for the future of nursing care. Presumably, wages would go up due to an increased need, but with lower compensation and more expensive regulations, can wages go up enough to meet the need?
  7. by   peggyshadel
    I just finished a BSN and took the NCLEX today. I am a second career BSN and was an LPN in a "former life". I have a degree in Business/Organizational Behavior. I would love to be able to include doing some staff development (thereby using my first degree and previous employment experience) but the idea of going back to get and MSN or be an NP is completely nauseating. Maybe I will change my mind, but right now what I WANT to do is get back to bedside nursing. I did it as an LPN and I remembered that I loved it during clinicals. Yes, I know it will get icky and I'll be overworked and there will be days when I hate it, but it's what I set out to do. So, no more degrees for me.
  8. by   Not_A_Hat_Person
    I have an ADN. So far it has yielded jobs in LTC, which I will never do again, and Home Health, which I like, but doesn't pay well. I have a BA, and I've been thinking of getting a BSN, but then I think of the time and expense it took to get my ADN, and the 10-month search (and major move) required for my first job. I have no desire to get another pretty piece of paper. I'm debt-free, and determined to stay that way. If my job wants me to get a BSN, they can pay for it.
  9. by   MedChica
    You shouldn't feel too put off. Only a handful in my class wanted to go the APN route. Most wanted to do things like: Wound Care, Dialysis, Corrections, LTC, Child Psych, Adult Psych, ER, etc...
    Some wanted to be RNs. Some want to remain LVNs.

    I don't even know the sort of speciality that I'd like to concentrate on. I like LTC. I LOVE Psych. I've always wanted to go to the ER. The ICU would be nice. I could learn lots of things in Wound Care. I also like 'disaster nursing'...a throwback to my days in the military where we did hurrican relief missions. OB-GYN seems interesting...but so does working for a plastic surgeon....

    I don't know what I want to be. LOL
    I have all of these interests, but difficulty narrowing everything down. At this point? I'm just grabbing at experience wherever I can get it.
    Even if I had a clear plan, I'd still want at least a decade of solid nursing experience under my belt.
    Whether I'm management, a Specialist or an NP, I'd want the other nurses to trust me. Trust my judgement and abilities. Trust that, although I'm management, I'm not one of them and I'll back my nurses up b/c I was one of them and I know 'how it is'.
    ...and that won't come easily if they've been nursing 5-30 years and here I come, having fast-tracked my way to an MSN in under 2. I'm just 'suit' with RN credentials, more or less. Why would they

    My degree and concentration? Well:
    --- I've always liked management, but the bloom's off the rose. Kind of.
    --- I've always hated the OR. So, CRNA is likely out. It's really not my cup of tea.

    I will get my RN and BSN and pay out of pocket. (another headache) I will get my master's. (yet, another headache)
    So...it boils down to CNS or NP. If I stick with Psych? I'd definitely be an NP.
    For other specialties? I believe that CNS nurses still get to bedside work. They seem to have more flexibility, too.
    So, that's a bonus.
    I'd like to progress, but I don't want to be so far removed from the pts, y'know?
    I think I like bedside nursing. Of course, I'm 'new' to it all, so everything would be roses. But, it's...good. Even my bad days and yesterday, I had something of a poor day. Well, in my opinion.
    I'm just...content at this moment. I do 'good work'. Nursing is a respectable/honorable profession...and the public loves nurses. This is going to be my life's work. I'm just glad that I finally found what seems like it's going to be my niche.
    I'm thinking that I could really come to love this nursing thing.

    So, I'm playing it by ear. Wherever I find myself is wherever I find myself.
  10. by   lizeroo
    I have been a nurse for 24 years, most of it in critical care. I have a diploma and have never considered completing a BScN, only because I enjoy bedside nursing and cannot see myself in admin., education or management.The way I see it is- someone has to look after the patients - what happens when no one wants to work bedside? I think part of the problem here (in Canada) is that our professional organization truly does not represent the bedside nurse. Their magazine causes me to shake my head every time it is delivered to me, as I peruse article after article celebrating every type of nurse BUT the bedside nurse.I will happily end my career in 9 years having spent it as a foot soldier and knowing that I made a difference to at least a few patients along the way.
  11. by   joanna73
    Quote from classicdame
    wanting and getting are two different things. There are not enough management jobs for everyone.
    True. However, not everyone with a BSN desires a management position. I think many nurses, including new grads want to eventuallly move away from hospital based floor nursing, due to understaffing, lack of resources, and overtime. There are all sorts of opportunities...community health, research, sales, occupational health, clinics, teaching. As far as hospital bedside nursing is concerned then, I can see a shortage in the future. Personally, I have no intention of remaining in hospital based nursing beyond another 5-6 years. I've heard many nurses say the same.
  12. by   NYbabyRN
    I had my first RN to BSN class today, and out of the 15 students in the class at least 11 stated they wanted to become psych NPs, FNPs, or earn a MSN degree. I was in shock! Most everyone stated something along the lines: "I've always wanted to be a mid-level practitioner".
    I enjoy the acute care setting, as stressful as it may be, and hope to be a bedside nurse for many, many years to come.
  13. by   Genista
    I'm a BSN/RN. I actually like bedside nursing. However, after over 10 years in acute care, I am really, really done with it. It's not the job itself that burned me out, but the ridiculous expectations and diminishing support. I felt like the floors where disorganized, chaotic. I would have too much on my plate to do a good job and often it felt borderline on unsafe. That is why I don't want to work at the bedside. It does not matter how high the acuity goes...you will NOT get extra help on med/surg floors. You always seem to be "working short," and there are always new and ridiculous new tasks to do. If the workload was realistic, and I had someone to delegate to...someone to help, well, maybe I would go back. I never wanted to be a manager. However, I always wanted to make a difference in helping achieve positive outcomes. Med/surg feels like a battle ground these days. High stress. I want to help people, but not at the extreme expense of my own health.All jobs have stress, but bedside nursing can really wear on you. High fives to all of you who are still there, working hard and taking good care of your patients.
  14. by   Indy
    ADN here, 60K/year income range, I work ICU and have no desire to go back to school. However, I do sort of feel like I am in a race against time to get my house paid off before my body quits on me. I like bedside better than I like the idea of taking organic chemistry.