I will again repeat my mantra: hospitals, and the "powers that be", do not want to recruit and retain more nurses. They want nurse to go the way of elevator operators, and just go away. Or have enought of them leave so that they can petition Congress to allow more foreign nurses, and pressure the State Boards of Nursing to allow more de-skilling of the profession.
The writing is on the wall. If there was really a shortage of nurses, there would have been an overall massive increase in our pay and benefits. In fact, as evidenced above, and in the thread concerning the lying about the nurses shortages in the NHI in England, there is a movement to turn new grads away, and they are hiring foreign nurses at the lowest level they can in terms of pay. That, to some extent, is happening here.
It is not in the best interests of the insurance companies, hospitals, and the Hospital Associations, to encourage nurses to stay. It is much more in their best interests to keep nursing a "revolving door" profession. And we allow it to go on, by not sticking together, not unionizing, (which allows for a united and powerful voice to face administration), and makes our voices heard.
I will also again say, that nursing is the lowest educated member of the health care team. It is reflected in ojr paym benifits, and lack of respect. There is minimal reward in bedside nursing to earn a BSN, and that is exactly what the hospitals want. We are playing right into their hands, in not demanding that the entry into practice be a BSN, and rewarding the nurse how have BSNs with higher pay. If there were rewards for education, more nurses would earn a BSN at the outset, and more BSNs would go back to earn it. We gain nothing by continuing a spintered entry into practice. And continue with "tiered" level of education. I will again say, that the time of the LPN/LVN has come and gone, and needs to be eliminated.
Yes, hospitals and nursing homes can have an all RN staff, with reasonable ratios. RNs can and should be hired to replace ALL OF THE POSITIONS THAT WERE HELD MY LPN/LVNS, in hospitals where they have eliminated LPN/LVNs. Nurses need to come together and demand it, as the California nurses have done. They accomplished it, and it works. If it doesn't and the hospitals are not complying, or eliminating support staff, where is the voice of the nurses who are working there? Where is your backbone? Why do you put up this? You have the ratio law on your side.
Nursing will be a thing of the past if the hospitals, and the hospital associations, have their way. Militancy needs to be taught in nursing schools, as well as assertivness skills. Assertive nurses are being selectively screened out of nursing, and "weeded out", as the more assertive, and outspoken nurses leave in disgust, to work in more satisfying careers, out of bedside nursing. Nurses need to be taught how to go to the public, and the media, and present the case for better staffing, patient ratios, how our presence at the bedside is important for patient safety and satisfaction.
Just recently there were commercials on TV for the Air Traffic Controllers. In the past decade, the numbers of Air Traffic Controllers have been cut. The commercial shows a man, who is supposerd to be an Air Traffic Controller, jugging air small air planes, obviously, props. But the message was clear- not enough Air Traffic Controllers, can lead to disasters. More recently, there is a commercial about Pharmacists. How the pharmacists, assist patients with their medications, and how their job enhances patient safety, why the public needs pharmacist, etc. Why do I never see commercials concerning a nurses place at the bedside, and how we enhances patient safety and good outcomes? All I see are the commercials from Johnson and Johnson, with their "feel good", nancy nurse, image. While it is a start, it falls short of what is needed.
Nurses need to go out to the public, push for "whistleblower protection", learn to watch their backs while at work, and be more proactive, in their practice. Write abusive doctors up, send it up the chain, send it to the State Medical Board, keep a copy for yourself. Start a "paper trail", against nurse managers, abusive physicians, and poor, unsafe, hospital policies and staffing. If you are caught in a situation with retaliatory discharge, you have your "evidence", as such, to prove you case. It is essential that nurses not be intimidated into not protesting staffing issues, etc. If a situation blows up, poor staffing will not protect you in a lawsuit, unless you "punted the problem", up the chain of command, to someone with more authority than you to take the heat. Document poor staffing situations, etc, and take the heat off of your self.
Remember, poor staffing, low salaries, and benefits, are the primary reason that new nurse run for the hills after graduation. It contributes the the overall number of nurses who are leaving bedside nursing. Foreign nurses brought in, do depress wages for ALL NURSES. I am not slamming foreign nurses, and yes, after they have been here awhile, and learn the ropes, their salaries equal the US nurses. The initial effect is the lowering of salaries and beneifts and fueling the exodus of American Nurses. Ask the computer programs who lost their jobs to foreign workers, and other occupations where large numbers of foreign workers have been brought in because of an alleged "shortage" of qualified workers.
Nurses here are a dime a dozen. Just look at the total number of nurses here in the US. Hospitals only have to wait for the next group of suckers to graduate from "ABC Community College". There is no incentive to retain the experienced nurses. And the public is suffering from having "amatuer nurses" providing for their care. Nurses who have no been properly oriented, and just thrown to the wolves, in a "sink or swim" environment. And too many of them are sinking.
And the overall effect is the depression of salaries, and benefits for nurses. If the had to wait four years for a nurse to graduate, we wouldbe more valued, there would be a far higher emphasis on retention, higer salaries, benefits, etc, and more unity, when nurses have been classmates for four years, not two. As it stands now, there is no incentive for hospitals to focus on retention. "Revolving door" employment is what is most advantageous for hospitals.
Please spare me the sob stories about the nurses who wouldn't have been able to become nurses if they had to go to school for four years. And yes, you did take the easy way out. Other professions have gone to Doctorates as entry into practice, and they have record numbers of applicants, who manage to find the time, and money, to attain their degrees. The individuals who have the lower degrees, and are grandfathered in, and given a certain amount of time to complete the higher requirements.They manage to accomplish it without the complaining and excuses that nurses give when presented with the same task. I think that it says alot about nurses, and the predictment they are in, in terms of shrinking pay, benfits, and prestige. These other health care professionals are leaving nurses in their dust in terms of pay, benefits, respect, and prestige. They put nurses to shame. For those of you who maintain that it would have been impossible, so be it, find another career that you can attain in one or two years. You are dragging the profession down. JMHO again.
Lindarn, RN, BSN, CCRN