Published Mar 9, 2008
Of course the popular media and thinking may disagree but...
I actually heard that from a Hospital CEO and it took me a while to realize he was right, but the complete thought is not finished.
There is no nursing shortage! There is only a shortage of nurses that are willing to put up with the crap,BS, sometimes lousy pay, and eternal vindictive oversight from lousy management.
Check out some ANA or goverment statistics about how many NON-practicing RN's there are today. Thousands! Ask yourself why they are not practicing.
Ever seen management use a nurse as a scapegoat instaed of facing problems?
Forget the pay for a minute what about scheduling? I've negotiated contracts for staff and/or travel where I've offered to work EVERY weekend if only I could get consecutive work days or offered to work complete coverage by working opposite another employee and both of us agreeing to work mandatory overtime so we could work 7/7.
Responses I've had include:
MGR:but day shift likes their schedule
ME: but we work nights
MGR: but days likes the two on two off etc,and thats the way the schedule always works
ME: but we work nights, it doesn't matter, as long as a nurse follows
MGR: of course it matters, then nights would have a different schedule than days.
ME: (in my puny brain) How do I explain this to a brick?
or lately I've heard:
You'll work the schedule we tell you when we tell you and you don't tell us what you want. Your schedule is flexible for our needs.
The places I work seem to be understaffed by their own causing and frankly, sometimes it is just the money.
The shortage is a figment of big hospital corporations and special interests to drive more people into the profession and to justify the importation of more nurses from other countries.
Yes there is a demand for nurses, which makes many nurses able to exact some accomodation from their job, some pay raises and some say in how the workplace runs. A demand for staff means nurses get treated better and have opportunity.
If there was a real shortage, employers would be looking how to encourage nurses to stay in the profession or return to it.
If there was a real shortage - some places just could not run or more places would work with you.
I like my work, and I am paid as well as I can negotiate. I just think the hype of a shortage is overblown.
Just think of the opposite - how would your employer really act if they could pick and choose and REALLY not care if they made you happy.
MY FWIW. Do yout think it's way off base?
I never thought of the shortage as being "indirectly" imposed by the system itself... but what you say makes a LOT of sense!
I'm a new grad on days. I'm going to be on my own in 2 weeks - the start of a new schedule. I did not want to work Sundays because I have always given that ONE day per week over to my family. My mgr & charge both said that's their HARDEST day to staff. So, in my clever brain, I decided to change my "family day" and BID to work ALL Sundays - in the hopes that I won't ever have to work A Saturday. Also, they require a MINIMUM of 3 weekends, so here I am giving them 4. It should be a win-win, right?
Well, when I asked my charge about not having to work Saturdays, she said it will depend on the schedule, once she works it out. *****! Yes, I may be a new grad, but I will be working alone, and - therefore - saving you 1 less RN to schedule EVERY Sunday because I am WILLINGLY giving my time to you.
I hope to get my schedule this week, so I can stop freaking about it...
I agree! There are several nurses that have left the floor. Sure we get paid well at times, but it is so hard to schedule in time for family and life in general. Where I work you need to think ahead a good 2 months in advance in order to get even a couple of days off, so they can put it into the schedule. We also have mandatory OT, so there are very few choices. I can see why so many people leave floor nursing.
Check out some ANA or goverment statistics about how many NON-practicing RN's there are today. Thousands!
Actually, hundreds of thousands! Around half a million -- more than enough to fill every single current vacancy in the US.
I certainly don't want to disagree, because I see the truth in what you have said. However, I would also say that you will see this everywhere and specifically in every profession that one would categorize as "public service". I can't tell you how many well trained teachers and lawyers that I know that went into the system hoping to make a difference and getting burnt out. They will all say the same thing: low pay, little respect, long hours, administration takes you for granted, and schools are churning out more young and niave teachers and lawyers to take their place each year.
The fact that nursing as a profession has so many options is one reason that I find nursing so compelling. Unfortunately, staff nursing is the victim of a broken health system and who knows when that big picture will be overhauled.....
let's face it.. staff nursing is an unpleasant job. the realities of being sick and the realities of nursing the sick... none of this is all that pleasant. it's high stress, and i don't care who you are, it does burn you out after a few years.
the goal of most nurses working on the floor is to get off the floor and into another job.
there is no easy dollar in this biz. i made a hair over 100k last year, and i busted my butt for every dollar of it.
speaking from personal experience, management will always attempt to blame the rurse, even if they've done absolutely outrageous and stupid things that caused the problem in the first place.
Ironically, I just poured my heart out about this very issue in an article. I agree. There IS no nursing shortage, just nurses no longer willing to put up with this abuse.
I have said this many time here. Nursing is the noblest of all the profession, unfortunately it is a rotten job. Most people who go into nursing believe they have a calling. When they get to the hospital enviroment they find they are viewed as peons and lackys with tons of resposibility, no real power. This view is shared by patients, families, managment and physicians. I believe that health care managment has exactly the nursing labor force it wants. What does it want? It wants loads of newly graduated nurses willing to put up with low pay and willing to put up with loads of disrespect and abuse. The huge turnover allows managment to avoid pension cost and pay increases. They justify the low starting wages of the new grad by pointing out that in five years you will be making more. They don't tell you that it is highly unlikely you will be here in five year and almost guranteed you won't be here in ten. WHY is it this way? Because management looks at nurses as a expense. We are labor to them, over paid labor as far as they are concerned. It is an old story, we all are aware of it, at least all of us that have been in nursing for a while. It is something the new grad will find out the hard way.
Preaching to the choir. Check out other threads on this same topic. Unfortunately having this topic on a nursing forum doesn't do any good. This topic with statistic and references needs to be brought to the general public's attention in order to effect any change.
oneproudigorot, MSN, RN
I am a Filipino nurse working my way to the US because a beginning nurse here in the Philippines earns only about a hundred dollars a month. We're told that there is a nursing shortage in the US. So, if what you're telling is true then we've been duped.
We are also told that the staffing in most US hospitals is very ideal. A nurse cares for a maximum of 5 patients. Here, a nurse cares for 20 or more patients in a shift.
I've easily hurdled the CGFNS, NCLEX-RN and IELTS exams required for foreign nurses but with what you're telling I think shouldn't have taken those exams at all. Anyway, I'll have to prove it myself. I guess Filipinos can easily take the challenge of being overworked and underpaid but of course we do know how to assert our rights when worst comes to worst.
I am hoping for the best.
...just wanted to comment because I read the pp about schools churning out more naive lawyers, teachers, etc... I am one of those victims! In college I freaked out because I didn't know what the hell i was going to do with my English degree when I graduated. I should have just stayed the course...but I stupidly changed my major to education thinking this would be a great way for me to teach high school English. When, in fact, I really wasn't interested in teaching at all. I was interested in other areas, but had no way to pursue them at my school. anywho, i've been in education for almost 10 years now and I have hated every minute of it for the reasons mentioned earlier- but MOSTLY, the pay rate says everything. It says, "we know you put up with a lot of BS every day and you have no time for your families, the parents run the school and everything they say goes, and oh yeah, you suck." Nursing pays far better than teaching and that is only one of the reasons I am changing careers. :angryfire
Yup - I'm a nursing student, and now I understand why there is a BEDSIDE nursing shortage. Doesn't even take a new grad to wisen up to the fact. Basically, few people want to do it. With the health care milieu today, it's even less appealing.
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