Step pay effect on older nurses getting hired?

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Specializes in ER. Has 29 years experience.

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brandy1017, ASN, RN

Specializes in Critical Care. 2,684 Posts

Fascinating thread - but I ran out of popcorn, so I'll chime in now.

Back to the original thesis - railing against union-imposed salary structures. This is one of the most frequently used (and most popular) anti-union positions in my (very anti organized labor) state.... not just in nursing. Any culture (ethnic, corporate, professional, etc) that is big on individual merit and accountability will place greater emphasis on ability than tenure. This is also a phenomenon that distinguishes capitalism from other types of social structures.

As an educator, I know for a fact that experience DOES NOT automatically equate to expertise. While I do hope that most of us learn from our experiences, some people simply repeat "year one" over and over again. I firmly believe that each individual's salary should be tied to the value that they produce (yeah, old and unremorseful hippie here).

So, in my world, salary structures would be directly tied to skills, knowledge and ability applied in the work setting. The health care industry is in a financial tailspin - why in the world would we continue to base salary levels on the ability to "tough it out" and stay in your job? Automatic raises simply based on years of experience are a de-motivator in terms of productivity... after all, why bother if I get a raise no matter what? Seems like a system guaranteed to produce slackers... you know, those people who retired years ago but just keep on coming to work - LOL.

I think most union workers are better off financially than the rest of America frankly because of the step system. The rest of us in private sector, non union jobs, are seeing are wages stagnant and even drop due to so called merit wages that don't even keep pace with inflation. I have news for you, merit raises have nothing to do with merit and everything to do with keeping the budget down by giving as little as possible. Let's do a 2% across the board raise where to give someone a merit raise of 4%, another person has to go without a raise! Everybody thinks they are better than someone else and deserve the best that is why they are so gung ho on merit raises. Most time any good merit raise is based on favoritism and because of the true purpose of lowering costs, another coworker is penalized! It is managements job to address true slackers through the disciplinary process not by withholding raises. If they are not doing their job than it is management's job to either motivate them to do it or terminate them! In my experience, the slackers and those who do the bare minimum are very good to cover their tracks by kissing up to the supervisor. I've seen the popular fake nurses literally lie outright to the supervisor how busy they are and as soon as she walked away they laughed and pulled out their magazines and this before cell phones.

If the OP really wants a different job and is worried she is at a disadvantage because of the union wage scale, she should write a cover letter expressing her enthusiasm for the job and her hope to have the opportunity to be selected and that salary is negotiable and what matters most is a chance to be chosen for this job. Even if salary were not negotiable due to union rules, it is the thought that counts. Most older, experienced workers face the same concerns of being overlooked for a job because they command a higher wage, but sometimes they are still chosen because the employer recognizes the value of an experienced worker. A compelling cover letter can be a helpful aid to be chosen for the job. No guarantee, but it is certainly worth trying. Also include that you are aware of the manager's and company's high points by researching via linked in and business news available on the internet. I always read the business news to keep up on what is going on in the healthcare industry and the hospitals in the area. There are specific business magazines, as opposed to just the local newspaper that writes about promotions, layoffs, expansions etc of the local industry players.

Edited by brandy1017

llg, PhD, RN

Specializes in Nursing Professional Development. Has 45 years experience. 13,469 Posts

As an educator, I know for a fact that experience DOES NOT automatically equate to expertise. While I do hope that most of us learn from our experiences, some people simply repeat "year one" over and over again. I firmly believe that each individual's salary should be tied to the value that they produce (yeah, old and unremorseful hippie here).

.

I have used the "repeating year 1 ten times" line many times in my career, but can't remember the original exact quote or source material. Do you happen to remember where the original quote came from?

At this point in my life (age 59), I would be thrilled to be able work fewer hours and quite happy to take a drop in pay to get that reduced schedule. But even though I work for a non-union facility, none of us in Staff Development is allowed to do that. So I work more hours than I want to. I think I would be almost as productive if I could reduce my hours because I would be less tired and more focused when I am here. I think it would be a good deal for the hospital -- but it is not allowed, both because they don't allow us to work part time and because our salaries are based on experience and I am at the top of the payscale -- and there is no way to go down the pay scale based on experience.

Esme12, ASN, BSN, RN

Specializes in Critical Care, ED, Cath lab, CTPAC,Trauma. Has 42 years experience. 4 Articles; 20,908 Posts

Oh, and I completely agree with Esme on the EMR thing. The younger generation has NO IDEA what early EMR's were like and yet we managed to function. DOS was the spawn of Satan. EMR's today are child's play in comparison. It's laughable to just assume becasue someone is older that they cannot handle technology. My 77 year old mother could likely run circles around most of the younger generation because she has a natural affinity for things high tech. I am my unit's super user and de-facto IT person even though I'm...gasp...nearly 50! I didn't even own my own computer until a few years ago! What I've found isn't so much that our older nurses can't handle the technology. They're mostly afraid of breaking the computer!!! So I tell them to hit any key or combination and see what happens. The worst thing is the computer freezes and you have to re-boot it. Once they see that they aren't going to damage anything then they are more willing to explore and learn on their own which is the only way to really get comfortable with EMR systems.
Spawn of SATAN...:roflmao: yes they were.

Emergent, RN

Specializes in ER. Has 29 years experience. 2 Articles; 3,860 Posts

Update here. I have an interview Wednesday for a sweet little hospital. I interviewed there before, but ultimately lost out to an in house nurse, I was told.

It's in a mountain resort area about an hour from my home. Wish me well!

wheeliesurfer

147 Posts

Good luck in your interview today. Update us when you can on how it goes!

Emergent, RN

Specializes in ER. Has 29 years experience. 2 Articles; 3,860 Posts

I thought it went well. I liked the approach they took, and I love the facility and its community centered philosophy. I think I would be a good fit for them, but we'll see if they agree.

llg, PhD, RN

Specializes in Nursing Professional Development. Has 45 years experience. 13,469 Posts

Good luck! I hope it works out for you.

JuliaRNMSN

88 Posts

I am an older RN that enjoys EMR and tech. I am usually an outlier (opposite ends of the bell curve).

The bell curve mentality is like living in a world of one dimensionality. Age discrimination is rampant. It would be amazing if a group of RN's with various skills could work as a team and develop a project to address this. Older nurses could also consider independent consultant roles as mentors, coaches, navigators as a few examples. Age discrimination is clearly illegal per the department of labor. Most think it near impossible to prove.

Emergent, RN

Specializes in ER. Has 29 years experience. 2 Articles; 3,860 Posts

Update here. The hospital called me today to ask for a list of references, so I think there is a possibility of being hired. I think I'd be a good fit for them.

jadelpn, LPN, EMT-B

51 Articles; 4,800 Posts

I find the EMR to be a bit all over the place--doesn't leave a whole lot of room for embelishing, however, it literally is checking a box and a new screen pops up. This is not rocket science.

"Older" nurses (and I am one) find that there's no room to add notes (it is a don't elaborate situation) feel that by checking boxes only we are doing a slight dis-service to the patient's plan of care, lots of scanning as if one is entering an exclusive club as opposed to receiving medications, and a general "dumbing down" of an assessment.

There's even a number of cue cards that remind a nurse what EXACTLY they are to say to a patient, key words and phrases, catchy little similies that are meant to.....I am not sure what they are meant to do--other than have a known alert and oriented patient look at you like you are nuts. As long as you employ a "meaningful use" (another box to check), you are a grand nurse that the facility is so proud of...cause you just made them $$.

I have said this before, but bears repeating--nursing has changed to the point of if you are new, they can create you in their own image. If you have an established way of practicing that at one time was a standard of nursing care, they are not interested.

Check the box, use the script, and move on....cause you have 8 more patients exactly like this and time's a tickin.

jadelpn, LPN, EMT-B

51 Articles; 4,800 Posts

Oh, and a PS that is a little more on topic--

Union contract language often has a blurb in it that new HIRE nurses regardless of experience can not come in higher than a step ____.

Additionally, even if it the same union, each contract is facility based. So that doesn't mean that if you are at a step equal to $45 an hour at ABC hospital, if you were to go to XYZ hospital you are a shoo in to be at the same step.

In fact, language would usually prohibit that--you could start at a higher step than one, (and in some facilities even that is not possible) however, you would be hard pressed for anyone to start at a step 15.

I hope you got the job, OP!! Best wishes!

Ginger's Mom, MSN, RN

Has 41 years experience. 1 Article; 3,179 Posts

Somehow nurses managed to do their jobs and they were proficient long before technology arrived. The essence of nursing and the use of the nursing process has not changed.

As an older nurse, nursing has never been safer, with the computers and technology.

A. Orders are checked electronically

B. Communication has improved with portable phones, texts,etc.

C. Iv pumps improve infusion therapies

D. Internet access allows to read up instantly.

E. EMR allows instant access to vital patient information

F. improved workflows, such as no narcotics counts or carrying keys for narcotics