Nurses Targeted Unfairly

[deleted account] ( 42 moms have responded )

Re: Nurses OT a concern (SP, Aug. 12). August should have been declared nurse-bashing month, with almost daily complaints in The StarPhoenix that registered nurses earn too much.

Being an RN with more than 40 years experience, I am concerned with such journalism that incites the public to criticize and disrespect those who've taken on the job to care for the sick.

It has taken me more than 33 years to double my salary from the days when my mother-in-law, who worked as a grocery bagger for a major chain, made only 13 cents an hour less than I did. Since then RNs have had to strike three times to achieve some parity with comparable male-dominated jobs such as firefighters and police officers, and government employees.

Now that RNs are finally making a decent wage, we're still being told we're not worth that much.

Many of us certainly do not condone the kind of hours put in by nurses who make $250,000 a year. No self-respecting and caring nurse should be jeopardizing patients or her/his own professional licence by working such insane hours.

I and many of my colleagues who will be retiring soon have a wealth of expertise that can be used to provide relief for overworked hospital staff on a casual basis, but the Saskatoon Health Region this year adopted a policy not to rehire retired nurses.

If the region has all the part-time and casual staff it needs, why are some nurses working hours that allow them to earn more than $250,000?

Sonia Sokyrka


Read more: http://www.thestarphoenix.com/news/today...

Do you agree with Sonia that people shouldn't be targeting the nurses but the health region?
Do you think nurses that can make $250K + are justified in working those hours? Or are they a potential health risk?

Not so much a debate, more looking for opinions.

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Kate CP - posted on 10/19/2010

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I think some nurses just shouldn't be nurses but that's because they are horrible people and don't seem to give two shits for their patients. However, I don't think many nurses get paid ENOUGH to deal with half the crap they do. If a nurse is working JUST to make money, and not because they love it, I don't think they should be a nurse. People with compassion should be caring for the sick and injured; not some asshole who just wants to make as much money as possible.

Mary - posted on 10/21/2010

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Amie, what you are describing is my fundamental problem with striking; a half-assed strike achieves nothing. However, who is a true, full-blown strike going to most immediately, and negatively impact? Patients. You can get by in a hospital without a lot, but nurses are essential. What happens to patients if all of the nurses went on strike? No matter how pissed I was at administration, or how right or just the cause, I'm not sure I'd be comfortable with knowingly causing harm to the innocent public.

[deleted account]

Tah, my husband found a correspondence program to get his RN. The program is specifically for people already in the medical field, so not just any person on the streets wanting an RN can do it. He did online courses and tests, then had to travel across the country to a teaching hospital that is set up for this program, to do his clinicals. It was pretty tough, but it gave him the flexibility to work and have a family while earning his RN. I'm not sure how I feel about becoming an RN by correspondence in general, but it worked for us so I'm not complaining. I don't think it's the BEST way though.

Amie - posted on 10/20/2010

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Striking is no longer an issue here, which I have a huge issue with personally.

The conservative government currently in power in my province has taken away their right to strike. (actually any sector that is deemed "needed" is no longer allowed to strike) That's BS IMO. They (nurses) were without a contract for over a year and had to wait it out because they could not strike. They almost did not get their retroactive pay because of this. If they had been allowed to strike contract talks would have been settled long before they were.

Striking is not ideal but in my entire lifetime I can only think of twice where nursing staff has gone on strike. It is used as a last resort. Management and out of scope workers have it harder during the striking period but it does pass and they are paid OT during that period.

Mary - posted on 10/20/2010

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Krista, there is no short term fix for the nursing shortage. I do know that short-changing the education process is NOT the answer. To me, the best way to educate nurses is a BSN. Most Hospitals in the Baltimore area have specific training programs in place for new grads, or RN's who are switching specialties. As I sadi earlier, health care, and therefore nursing, has become extremely specialized. A sound, comprhensive foundation in the basics is the best that any school, regardless of type, can provide. No new grad is going to come out truly competent. A lengthy comprehensive orientation on whichever specialty unit they are hired in is required, where the new nurse practices under the mentorship of an experienced staff member for a minimum of 12 weeks. Ongoing support and mentoring by all staff for that first year out is essential as well. I got this when I was a new grad on the cardiac unit, and then again, 6 years later when I switched to L&D. Although I had been a nurse in a ctitical care unit for 6 years, going to L&D was like being a new grad all over again; it was a totally different process, and an entirely new set of skills and knowledge base was required.

After 20 years in nursing, I will say this about our pay - it's okay, but certainly not great. People tend to focus on the STARTING salary fresh out of school. Admittedly, my initial pay was comparable, if not better than most of my college classmates. However, as the years went by, their income easily surpassed mine. My first husband and I graduated together from the University of Delaware. I did make more than him the first 5 years. However, despite my growing experience base, ongoing education related to my specialty and certifications, I only ever got a cost of living raise each year. By about 7 years out of college, with no further education, he was making almost twice what I was. I should also add that he was off every weekend and holiday, could eat lunch and pee when the need arose, and had the "luxury" of sleeping in a bed every night. He was never vomited, peed, pooped or snotted on. His clients did not attempt to physically or verbally abuse him, and he sure as hell was never harassed by their family members. He would listen to my "day" at work, and ask me why the hell I didn't just bag it, work for an insurance or pharmaceutical company, where I could greatly increase my earnings, live a normal life, and chuck the abuse (I was working rotating shifts in Cardiac Surgery at the time). I was often tempted, but despite all the crap, I did love what I did, especially my coworkers, and deep down, I lived for those moments when I really did make a difference in someone's life, or eased a patient and family through death.

I do think the majority of nurses are like me. We enjoy what we do, and we live for appreciation and postitve feedback from patients, doctors, and management. Sadly, we don't get nearly enough of that; we often get quite the opposite. After a few years of that, a lot of people lose their enthusiasm and idealism - you can only get kicked around for so long. SOme leave bedside nursing altogether, and some hang on, but only do what needs to be done until it's time to punch out.

I've been lucky; I work in a unit that is unusually cohesive, and supports each other tremendously, both personally and professionally. We are also unusual in that we have a really tight relationship with our doc's; everyone is on a first name basis, and their is mutual respect, trust and affection between nurses and physicians. Management sucks big time, but the people I work with every day truly care about each other, and work together as a team. Patients....eh...some are incredible people whom I consider it a privilege to have been a part of their birth, and some are truly awful, nasty people (no, I don't care how much pain you are in, it is NEVER okay to try and bite ANYONE who is trying to help you, and yelling "You don't know how much this hurts, you fucking bitch!" when you are not dilated and not in true labor will not make me want to go out of my way for you). If every nursing unit were like this, I doubt there would be too much of a shortage.

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[deleted account]

I skipped most of the other posts. I have only this to say: the primary care nurse for my son was an absolutely wonderful lady, most of the NICU nurses were exceptional, they more than deserve $250,000 a year althought I really doubt they make a fraction of that.

Mary - posted on 10/21/2010

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Amie, I can only think that our hopsitals must be run very differently. Each nursing unit has one nurse manager, and each division, like maternal-child, or cardiac care, has a division director over them. Then there are maybe 5-10 nursing administrative positions that oversee a variety of things, with one of them being the CNO (chief nursing officer). The rest of hospital management/admins are not nurses; they are not even necessarily educated in any type of patient-care background. Most of these managers/admins are NOT clinically competent in even the area they manage; it's probably been years since they inserted an IV or foley, and they probably don't know how any of the equipment, from IV pumps to vents, even work. They'd be about as useful at patient care as almost any asshole off the street. Not to mention, their numbers wouldn't even be close to enough. My unit typically runs with 6-7 nurses/shift. Two nurses *should* be present at every delivery (one for mom, one for baby). My one manager is not enough to replace that. The unit would HAVE to close if we went on strike. Now, I do live in an area that has an abundance of major medical centers within a 25 mile radius; they could absorb the overflow if one hospital went on strike, but I cannot imagine the hassle, and risks involved in transporting 300-400 patients, some of whom are critcally ill, to other facilities. It gives me nightmares. I do suppose that since strikes are planned, this could be pre-arranged, but ugh....

Amie - posted on 10/21/2010

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Mary, I have no problem with it. We have enough administrators and out of scope (who are managerial position nurses, I mentioned them in passing in a PP) to handle things. Lag times for non emergent care suck but they always do. The part that is the downfall for the administrators and out of scope is that they have to work the floors as well as keep up with their paperwork. Not ideal but they want the contracts hammered out and signed as well. There are some aspects of the contract that carry over and benefit those people as well. Wage increases being the most prominent of those.



People who do not need to go to emergency, and should instead be going to walk in clinics, are the ones clogging the system. Does it suck sitting an hour or two in minor emerg? Yes it does but that's where a lot people should be going, regardless. During a strike that wait probably does increase but the last strike lasted 3 weeks.



I should also note, the last strike, they were legislated to go back (this was before this bill passed a couple years ago) and the nurses refused too. They walked off and that was it. So, in theory, they could do this again and the union (SUN) would be fined. That's also more money out of pockets though. Last time the other unions (SGEU, SEIU, CUPE and SAHO) went back to work to help them pay the fines, I'm unsure whether they actually ever paid them though. That is something I would need to look further into. It was awhile ago though and I didn't pay as close attention to happenings as I do now. LOL

[deleted account]

Maybe the nursing union could get hospitals and clinics to come together and do a rotation between hospitals. One hospital will strike one week. That will force that hospital to suffer losses, and overcrowd a neighboring hospital. Both hospitals would suffer, but patient care would still be available.

[deleted account]

Okay...as far as opinions go, mine is that I'm perfectly fine with nurses making that much IF they are competent nurses. However, I know plenty of people personally who have gone to school for nursing because it was the easiest thing to sleep through class for. They didn't care about the job, but the money it brings in and how easy it is to pretend you know what you're doing.

Of course, I have had very bad experiences with nurses and doctors alike and it may just be my region. But just about everyone who graduated from my high school went into nursing because it was an easy course. Plus their families had plenty of money to throw around in the first place, so why not send their kids off to college for something that will just occupy their time and keep the kids away for a few more years and bonus, they can say their child graduated college. w00t.

Again, hopefully, this may be unique to my area, but from previous posts I'm not too positive it is.

Amie - posted on 10/21/2010

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They're technically allowed to strike but it has to be in rotating shifts. So that the essential needs are still in place. So while they are striking in theory, there is no power behind it. It's ridiculous.



The employer is the one who notifies the union and tells them how many workers they need to keep working during a "work stoppage".



So if a strike isn't a full strike, what's the point? Other than showing employers, yes we are not happy. It's not forcing anyone's hand to get anything done.



It's Bill 5, An Act respecting Essential Public Services.



Wall signed it into law shortly after he came into office.

[deleted account]

I just got back on today, and reading all of these posts has been fantastic. I enjoyed getting more information on the schooling, wages, life of a nurse.



Amie, weren't they considering going on strike this summer? My friend who works at St. Paul's was talking about how they might have been going on strike. I agree, it's bullshit that they're technically not allowed to strike. I think Wall is just afraid they'll be on strike all the time if they're allowed to. I know that if they do go on strike, they are paid $10/day...which doesn't pay the rent bill if contract talks take too long. The health union is kind of a double edged sword...

Tah - posted on 10/20/2010

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When you have a family you have to do what works for you,I had children young so i had to sidestep because i had to feed them, each job paying more than the last, but ultimately always in the field that i wanted to be in..healthcare the fact that this program he was in required you to be in the medical field would ease my mind a bit, these other programs springing up do not require it so anybody can go as long as you can sign for student loans..one program is over 40,000 dollars for 5 week classes that won't transfer, then they turn them loose on the public.



Some of these nurse(my neighbor is in this program) fail repeatedly and have to stay back and wait for another class that is taking the course they dailed and take it again. They come to clinicals and that is a joke, then they are given a job where the spend, and i lie to you not 2 weeks in orientation and are sometimes bumped up to management and get in way over their heads. Being as though i know what i want to do and where i want to end up, going to one of these schools would be fast, but it would be shooting myself in the foot. I would have to start from scratch. Getting into the nursing programs is the biggest B...well you get my point, they are very competitive and they usually have waiting list as long as your arm.



I took a entrance exam with one days notice, passed it with a respectable grade and went on the waiting list and am still there, and by january, will have to take the test again, just to go back on because they only take a handful of students each year. The best for me is a LPN-RN program because i have everything except the actual nursing courses for the ASN program and alot of the classes for the BSN. I also don't have to take an entrance exam for the program at the University or thr community college LPN-RN and they take my LPN nursing classes.



Trust me, it takes alot of research to figure this out. I talked to the persons at the university that i was accepted to and am now applying to(papers have to be in by December) and they said that the spots for the LPN-ASN and the regular ASN(for someone who is not already a nurse) are limited and the wait list is long and that since i have all the classes that i do have the BSN would be a better fit and probably faster because not as many people apply to it. I will be applying to both as well as other schools to make sure i can be in one program or another by next year. In the meanwhile, i am continuing to pick up BSN classes, Ethics just ended and will be picking up a third pysch(so i don't have to do statistics, i know, i'm horrible..lol) and humanities and maybe a water aerobics or something.



I also have pathophysiology to do and just the name scares me to begebbes...but i am a survivor(in my beyonce voice)..lol..

Amie - posted on 10/20/2010

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Oh I'm not upset with anyone here (just for clarification). I am giving my opinion and explaining, to the best of my knowledge, how it is done here because the OP is about my area.

[deleted account]

Again, I'm with Mary on the pay. Amie, I don't disbelieve you about the pay where you are. It's just simply not like that here. Like I said earlier, when my husband started looking for jobs three years ago the pay was $19-21/hour. Shift diffs made a difference, but not much. Now if he wanted to be considered part time and not have insurance or benefits (which is out of the question with a family) then it would have been in the range you are talking about.

He works in a prison clinic now. He's the only RN on his shift (with an LPN and tech) and a doctor rotates between prisons. So it can be a pretty heavy workload. I'm honestly not sure what his hourly wage is because I just look at the paycheck and balance our budget based on that. But I'm positive that it is about $28, maybe $29, plus differentials. The differentials put him over $30. And this is the BEST paying job he could find.

Don't get me wrong, he loves working in the prison. He's actually got a great personality for it. We just consider ourselves blessed that he has a job he loves that pays as well as it does.

Tah - posted on 10/20/2010

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There ar RN programs all over springing up that will get you an associates in less than 2 years, each of your class rotations are 5 weeks, 5 weeks of chemistry, 5 weeks of med-surg, 5 weeks of peds, 5 weeks of..well you get my point, of course, if you want to go back for your BSN...those classes won't transfer anywhere so you will have to go back to that exact school, if they even offer you a BSN course, if not, you will have to start from scratch with the classes such as Ethics, and nursing classes, but alot of nurses go to these schools because it fast pace and the wait list is not very long because they have classes starting almost every month, so here you can become an RN in less than 2 years....but what have you really learned...

Mary - posted on 10/20/2010

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No, Amie, I wasn't. Where I am, we are not unionized. I cannot remember what my starting salary was, but my current hourly rate, with 20 years seniorty, is $38.00/hr. Because I only work nights, I make $41.00/hr with the shift differential, and $43.25 on the weekends. I haven't had a raise in 2 years, either "because of the economy".



Baltimore has a large number of hospitals, and the one thing that seems to help is that they need to stay competitve with each other in order to attract and keep staff. I often wish we were unionized, although the thought of ever striking does not sit well with me.

Amie - posted on 10/20/2010

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I don't think you were posting at me Mary but the reason I posted the starting wage is because with more experience and seniority, the nurses make more. Here the unions fight for it. The nurse who has the most seniority could be making well over $50 an hour for all I know.

When new contracts are bargained, the starting wage is brought up along with all wages above them.

Amie - posted on 10/20/2010

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Oh wait I have had a bad experience! She was an older nurse, she probably had a rough day, I don't know.

I was also in labour so I could have been nicer but I was not in the mood for someone to tell me what I was doing wrong. *kick* She's the one I've mentioned before, if anyone remembers, who had my leg practically over my head with my 3rd. Ugh.

Amie - posted on 10/20/2010

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Jeese that's a lot of info to go through. LOL



Tah $26-33 is a decent wage here. It's more than decent. My husband gets danger pay and his wage is only about $3-4 higher than that right now. Nurses don't get that but when they work in the core neighborhood, I think they should. =/ The contract also works in raises, across the board, each year.



As for the nursing shortage. They have (unless it's been taken back and I haven't heard about it) offered incentives for students coming out of uni to stay here. Debt reduction being the main one. Depending on how long they stay, so much is taken off their student loan.



The nurses they shipped over from the Philippines. I don't really know what I think about that. I hear the arguments against it, mostly the language barrier. It seems to be working for now though. They brought over 2,000 nurses, if I'm remembering right, for the entire province.



For the differing education, 2 years gets you an LPN, 4 years gets you an RN. There is a difference, as others have pointed out, in the education and why there is benefit to having more education.



I've never had a bad experience with a nurse though either. Doctors on the other hand, there is one minor emerg we will never return too because of a doctor. Ugh.



Paige, yes I'm here! =) Small world eh?

[deleted account]

I think nurses should be paid well but I don't think it's a job you should do for the money (if that makes any sense). I don't think anybody can be a nurse and some are way too mean and bitchy.

Caitlin - posted on 10/20/2010

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If my community college had a good daycare program, i'd go back and do it in a second. When I first went to college, I was int he nursing program, but partway through my first semester, my moether kicked me out of the hosue and I needed to pick up a full time job which interfered with the program. They also need to make the programs around here more flexible.. It's an 8 hour a day program for 3 years (pretty much) with some good clinical experience, but those of use that aren't living with mommy and daddy or who have to work because student loans aren't enough to cover everything, or have kids - that is simply not flexible enough.

Also, I know it was only my first semester, but sitting in a class learning about nursing theory seemed like bullshit to me. I hated drawing up family trees and explaining the best theory to help, because doesn't that depend on the patient?

I think what they should do here (and since I am in Quebec, our student loans work differently than the rest of Canada, so I really can't say what they do over there) but they need to provide childcare spots at a good daycare on site and cover 100% of the student living cost while they do this program, that would definately be an incentive to me to restart the program.

Right now i'm wavering at what I want to do, I'm most likely going to back to school once my husband is finished his degree because I will have more time and spare money at that point, but I can't start yet because I don't have a daycare spot and we're moving out of province soon, and I'd rather do my whole program at the same place, because sometimes the schedule varies slightly.

In Quebec it's a bit different. You can work after doing your 3 year RN (we dont have grade 12, so they make up for that with extra courses) and then its 2 years for your BsN, but at least you can work and gain experience while you do that. I have a few friends who are nurses and they say the students that just do their BsN are horrible nurses, everyone resents that they get paid more and have almost no clinical skills.

Tah - posted on 10/20/2010

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@sara..i also agree with mary about more education being key. I know that my Medical assisting degree before i even went to nursing school, my Emt training and working as a traveling phlebotomist helped me get through nursing school and on the floor with critical thinking and things like starting iv's drawing labs if the lab isnt available etc., they do have continuing education for the nurses, maybe it can be broadened to include things that you assume nurses can do that they really can't or haven't done in so long they have forgotten or unsure of. When you move around, some departments and facilites require things that other's don't, so you may never have had to start an IV, or insert a foley, then you go somewhere else where you do it almosy daily and you don't want to say, hey i have been in office for 5 years, i don't know, or remember how, so it also has to be an atmosphere that fosters learning

Tah - posted on 10/20/2010

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lol..you get caught up, so and so needs pain medicine, while you are down there, you may as well hang Mr. so and so's IV antibiotic and flush his picc, then when you get down there, he has to use the bathroom, but he can't walk and there's no point in calling the CNA to do what you can do, so you help him, then his roomate hears that you are in the room and he needs something and when you step out someone else is ringing, then the doctor calls, then someone's family has a question, then the pharmacy calls because someone's orders weren't clear, so you have to get those clarified, then someone is vomiting and someone needs an oxygen tank so they can go to therapy then you have a routine med pass coming up that needs to be started so by that time, you forgot you even had to go and next time you look, it's time to go and your lunch is still in the fridge..people don't understand the demands...thats why i say, you have to love it...



@Sara..some of the paperwork is for legal reasons and it is writing or typing th same thing in as many places as it will fit. Let's say mr. jones forgot that he just had surgery on his leg and decides he wants to get up..he falls....you have 5 or more pieces of paper that say the exact same thing, plus your nurses note and your statement..etc...i wish there was a way to streamline it because like a consultant said, the mroe you write, the more you can get in trouble, then you have to document everything you do, how many times i medicated for pain, where was the pain, how bad was the pain, did the medicine help, how much did it help, what else helps besides the medicine...now imagine that on many patients...if they vomit, how much, what did it look like, what was given, was it PR(rectal), IV, injection, was there any reaction...o if they are on an antibiotic, thats a short novel....he is not exaggerating on the paperwork....trust me...

[deleted account]

Would it be possible to streamline paper work to take some of the workload off? That's what my husband complains about. He works 12 hour nights and half the night is spent on paperwork. I honestly don't know, but I imagine that some of the paper work is redundant and pointless, and is just done for legal reasons that have nothing to do with patient care.

As far as the 2 year associates vs. 4 year bachelors "debate" I have a little something to contribute. Jason only has his associates in nursing. BUT he has other medical degrees and experience that most nurses do not. He earned a quick associates in Emergency Health Sciences so he could work as a paramedic while going to school to be a Physician's Assistant. While working as a paramedic he earned a four year Bachelor's degree in Heath Sciences as a pre-requisite to going to school to be a PA. He had a change of heart and decided he'd rather be a nurse (this was about the time we met, not sure if that had anything to do with it...lol). So he opted for an associates in nursing because he'd already been through so much school.

I said all that to say this. Jason is often called in to do simple things like start IVs, because the nurses he works with don't know how or have trouble doing so. He used to do it in the back of a moving vehicle. When the nurse popped my vein, he had to hold himself back from just starting my IV himself! Sometimes our other nurse friends will call and ask him medical advice, especially when it comes to medications. I've asked him why THEY don't know the answers, and his response is that they didn't learn it in nursing school. He learned it while earning his bachelor's. So yes, I can back up Mary in saying that there is value to nurses having more education, though my husband doesn't actually have a bachelor's in nursing.

[deleted account]

We need more people to go to school (whether it be community college or university) to become nurses, but it seems less and less people are wanting to take these courses...So in the meantime the health region should be looking into hiring retired nurses to help pick up some of the slack. If only for these retired nurses to do stay in background and just help ease the paper workload.

Wow Tah, I can honestly say that would drive me up the wall. I can go without eating long periods of time, but I have a bladder the size of a peanut, I wouldn't be able to go without bathroom breaks.

Tah - posted on 10/20/2010

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@Krista...i know as far as education, you want ot talk to Mary, so i won't comment there, but,, i will say that my goal is nurse practioner which is why am doing bridge programs to shorten my road there, and they can prescribe narcotics, they can also work independent of a doctor which is why they can prescribe those medications, so say you decided to open your own practice as a NP...you could do that, but as a Physicians assistant, you could not as they prescribe under a physicians license for narcs etc...Also..you are correct, the questions i have answered for some RNs and the scraps i have helped them out of are just terrible. When one RN was asked what to do because a patient's trach was pulled out, she said cover it with gauze, i said you do that, we will try to establish an airway for him...i will also say this, RNs are really being trained for management these days, We had nursing students come from a university come to out unit and tell our CNA's they didn't need to learn vital signs or how to take Blood sugars because and i quote "we won't be on the floor, we will be managing"....LOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOLOL.....I work one place and the managers and supervisors are LPNs and it runs smoothly, the other places not so much....



They had a call-out one day and it took 2 rn's to pass the meds and they took forever, all we could do was shake our heads....clinicals should be more hands on for the students, all of the students, some get to do somethings, while others don't. The orientation to the floor should be more than 2 weeks, for goodness sakes, if you are fresh out of school, what good does 2 weeks do you when you will be thrown to the wolves. It is also crazy that nurses eat their young...literally. When a new nurse is paired with one with experience, actually training her would slow you down, so just sorta throw her attitude, make her feel inadequate and then turn her loose on patients without having shown her anything and goodness me, if she has a question, bite her head off and make her cry in the supply room(seen it many times)...that's when i find a little heart and take the poor dear and help her..I believe they need more practical training to go along with the book knowledge, If you can't start an IV, give an injection, Use your nurisng judgement in an emergency situation or take someone to the bathroom, what good are you?...



There is actually a book called "why do nurses eat their young"..in case you think i am exagerrating.I guess i did kind of answer. Sorry....

Krista - posted on 10/20/2010

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So what's the answer, then? I think we all agree that nurses deserve to be well-paid, considering the sheer amount of work and responsibility that they have. But I think we also agree that they're OVERworked, which can lead to dangerous situations. So how do we fix things so that the workload can be distributed out a little better?



Mary, I'll defer to your judgment with regards to education, as you've been in the system and have seen it. I'm only going by my own experiences, which are admittedly very limited. I suppose it's because I've seen some excellent nurses coming out of the community college system, and some abysmal ones coming out of the university system (who know all the theory but wouldn't know what to do with a Foley catheter if it jumped up and bit them in the ass).



So what's the solution? Right now in my region, there's a big push on for Continuing Care Assistants -- it's a one-year program, and these people would basically provide your routine, basic care for patients, hopefully freeing up the nurses for more in-depth work. There is also a big push on for Licensed Nurse Practitioners -- these nurses are meant to make up for doctor shortages -- they can prescribe non-narcotic medications, perform basic exams like pelvic exams and whatnot, and perform basic diagnoses. I think in our system, we'll soon see instead of your usual doctor/nurse roles, there will be a much broader range of health professionals, which should HOPEFULLY ease off some of the pressure.

Tah - posted on 10/20/2010

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did i mention sometimes we do it without a bathroom or lunch break so we are one of the highest risk groups for urinary tract infections...yes....it's that rough sometimes....

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I personally don't have a problem with how much a nurse makes an hour, I view it as being on the same lines as doctors, police officers and firefighters. Nurses put themselves in harms way, just as the previous list does, just in a different way (since I haven't heard of a grey's anatomy type shooting at a hospital), so I'm not concerned about the wages. It's hours that I'm mainly concerned about. I have a friend who is a nurse at a local hospital, she's near the bottom of the seniority list, but she rarely ever gets called even though our hospitals are majorly understaffed. She'll leave work, working with one nurse and come back to see that nurse leaving as she walks in the next day. That scares me, knowing that if I go into the hospital, I may very well be getting a nurse who has been working 20+ hours and doesn't know his/her right from his/her left. I don't know the circumstances of all the patients in there, but when I tell you "no" on something, I want you to listen, rather than jabbing me repeatedly in the arm only to find out I was right. It could very well be that these nurses have a crapload of grumpy patients and coworkers etc, but I really mean it when I say "not my left arm."

Amie - I didn't realize you're so close! I live here too!

Tah - posted on 10/20/2010

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ya'll knew i couldn't stay away...why fight it..lol



Okay....26-33 dollars starting rate for RN's is low compared to where i am from. Before i moved to virginia from PA., I was a Medical assistant.(not a cna).i worked on a rehab floor, they sent flyers out saying and i quote..RN(0-5years experience-)$40 per hour...5 and more years(depending on exp) $50 per hour. Sign on bonuses of 5,000-10,000 dollars. Thats before i became a nurse. It is also about 9 years ago because i had just found out i was pregnant with my daughter and her 9th b-day is this month. So please imagine what they are making now.



Now I am a LPN and am done all my LPN- ADN classes and am working on the LPN-BSN courses and am applying to schools as we speak. I work in the hospital, on almost all units(haven't done telemetry or CCU) rehab(after surgery, they come and leave) and LTC. I see it all. When you are trying to fill a shift, noone looks at seniority it's who will come in. I have seen nurses pressured into staying over because they were scared of admins response to them saying, hey i just worked 12 hours on little sleep and anymore would prob do more harm than good. Any shift can turn into a more than it was planned for just depending on what happens, someone codes, falls, elopes, etc. Management has no sympathy for you and i have seen them work one nurse to 60 beds because with management saying "i guess it's just going to be a tough weekend for ya'll" on a 12 hour day shift(7am-7pm). I have had nurses tell me when i was house supervisor that would stay but i knew they had been there for 16 hours and it wouldn't be good for the patients or them. If i have to, i have worked the floor in those situations.



I think that nurses for the most part are overworked and in some regions underpaid. Paperwor is so plentiful now, if you have a incident there is no less than 6 pieces of paper you have to fill out and 4 phone calls. Pass your medication, chart, do wound care, Iv/picc line care, re-direct, take, pull off, fax, note,transcribe, verify and 24 hour chart check orders, institute interventions, use nursing judgement crazy things arise, i have had to surpervise from just my team, to whole buildings. YOU have patients and family members who are verbally and have been known to be physically abusive because they want everything now not realizing that you have between 11-30 other patients(depending on where you are working) that want everything now also, so if Mrs. jones is coughing up blood and Mr. jenkins is having difficulty breathing..guess what....Mr. jenkins then, Mrs. jones...then if you are really lucky and nothing else happens, you...



Now i work places where your overtime starts after 8 hours, so when i stay 12-16 hours, that extra 4-8 hours is all time and a half and is a extra couple-few hundred in just one day to go with my 8 hours of straight pay. I have worked places where they will give you cash in an envelope from $75-200 to stay over or to come in because noone wants to do it and you'll have better luck getting a manager or admin, to get a root canal then to come in and take over. That includes management who are RN's or LPN's i have worked with both, still do...Now let's say that you are short CNA's, well guess what, you are now doing everybody's job.



To make 250,000 in a year and be a floor nurse is just beyond me. There are laws saying that you can't work more than 16 hours in a row, so what happens when your 16 hours turns into 19 just because it's been a rough 16..hopefully the last 2-3 hours is you charting and capping those loose ends because another refreshed nurse has relieved you and is actively dealing with the patients while you do so in the background. I had to stop doing 16 hours, i am young, but if you do those enough, you can't continue to function, I am hanging and flushing Iv's taking out staples, initiating protocols, inserting foleys and all other manner of things that you would not want me to be on my 17th hour doing. So i stop at 12 now...every once in a blue moon if they are really in a bind, like 2 weeks ago, i will stay that extra 8..it was a 11-7 which tured into a 11pm-4:30pm the next day...i could barely drive home, which then makes me a danger to others who aren't even my patients on the road. It is really hard to track those nurse because i have seen agency nurses, leave one 12-16 hour job and go to another job across the street and do another 12-16, go home for one chift, which i know has not refreshed them and do it again. I have also seen them make mistakes, medication errors, which you can do if you are bright eyes and bushy tailed and worse. They are def. a health risk. My developmental psych told us this..."just because you can pass the test doesn't mean you should be doing it. I have met many nurses who would be good drill sgts, but never nurses. I also think that the region and how nurses are treated should be addressed because i know many nurses who are burned out already and are in school for career changes.



I love what i do, and you have to be a nurse, it is often thankless, so if you are in it for a parade, wrong profession. If you want to get rich, wrong career, It has to be because you really care and can't imagine doing anything else but helping someone who needs it. Someone who may be in too much pain to say thank you, someone who is too depressed to notice the little things, because you can and they can't and you want them to have a voice. If you aren't an advocate for your patient and you are only there tomake the money, then you need to re-evaluate your career choice.

Mary - posted on 10/20/2010

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Off topic, but Krista, as nurse, I totally disagree with NOT making a BSN the entry level requirement for nursing. Nursing has evolved drastically since the time of our mothers (my mom also graduated from a hosptial program). Health care, in general, is much more complicated, specialized, and equipment-laden than it was even 20 years ago when I graduated. On a daily basis, nurses must work as a team with dostors, social workers, physical therapists, pharmacists and hospital administrators, just to name a few. If nurses want to be respected, have their opinions and contributions both counted and valued, we need to be educated in a professional manner that puts us on even standing with our cohorts. Perhaps to the outside observer, an AA or diploma program is sufficient, but trust me, as someone with 20 years of experience, I can always pick out the new grads that have a BSN vs those with an AA degreee. Clinical competence and excellence in your specialty must be learned on the job; reagardless of your educational background, the new-hire orientation (for areas such as L&D, ER, and ICU's) are now a minimum of 16 weeks. The differnce with the BSN is not just the stronger foundation given in the sciences such as A&P, nutrition and pharmacology, but the additional emphasis these programs place on both verbal and written communication skills, research, sociology, and studying the health care system as a whole.



No, the cheaper, less time intensive approach to educating nurses is not the way to go. My hospital-diploma educated mother felt so strongly about this that she went back and got a bachelor's degree in her 30's, and she was adamant that I have a Bachelors as well.

Krista - posted on 10/20/2010

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I just think it's ridiculous that they won't bring in retired nurses for casual shifts -- there are probably a lot of retired nurses out there who would be happy to get a bit of extra money now and again, and who like the idea of staying involved in their field, even if it's just 10 hours a week.

And I do think that for safety reasons, there does need to be a cap on how many OT hours a nurse can work. Unfortunately, here in Canada, we seem to have a chronic shortage of nurses. Part of it might be the education requirements. We used to have a school of nursing program in my hometown. It was a 2-year intensive program, with a lot of in-hospital training. They got them out on the floor doing job shadowing before they'd been there 3 weeks. It was great, because tuition was very reasonable, the students got a lot of great experience even before graduating. Many of the best nurses I know (including my mom and one of my best childhood friends) graduated from that course. But now the school is closed, so the only option is to go to university and get your Bachelor of Nursing. That's a four-year program, with much higher tuition, and frankly, from what I've seen, the nurses are no better (or worse) than the ones who went to the nursing school. So you have a lot of people who probably WOULD like to become a nurse, but can't afford the time and tuition.

Mary - posted on 10/20/2010

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I debated about staying away from this thread...just reading some of the posts here got me all fired up!

As a nurse, I will say this: Even when I was in my 20's, and single, I cannot imagine working the number of hours required to make $250,000, and still be coherent and functional. As a 40 year old mother of a toddler, there is no way in hell.

Saskatoon much pay a hell of a lot better than the greater Baltimore area, and the nursing shortage must be much more acute that those kind of hours are available. With the current economy, jobs around here are scarce, and OT is a rarity. A lot of nurses who would have either retired or cut back their hours have remained FT because their spouse lost their job.

Amie makes a great point about OT rates; you do not always need to have worked over 40 hours in a week to be making OT. I am part-time, but if there is a sick call, or our census goes through the roof, we will make desperate phone calls to staff, begging them to come in. For whomever agrees, this is considered a call-back shift, and you are paid time and one half for those hours. Say this happens on a Monday, and you work those 12 on-call hours, and you then work the 3 12hr shifts you were already scheduled for on Tues, Fri and Sat. The last 8 hours of that shift on Sat are legitimately OT, since you have crossed the 40 hour mark. For the week, you will get paid for 20 hours of OT, even though only 8 hours of OT was actually worked.

It's funny (to me) that there is a protest over "allowing" nurses to work so much OT, and people are verbalizing concern over the safety and quality of care. Professional nursing organizations such as the ANA have long lobbied to restrict the amount of mandatory OT an institution can force a nurse to work. Ususally, it is a question of a hospital abusing it's staff, and threatening them with charges of patient abandonment to cover a shift that is short. I will never forget aThanksgiving about 7 years ago. I worked 7p-7a on Thanksgivng Eve. That am, we had some unexpected icing on the roads, and 2 of the nurses scheduled were in car accidents on the way to work. Because it was a holiday, we were already short, and (of course) all of the greater Baltimore area went into labor that am. We called our nurse manager at home begging her for help. (we had called all of our staff, but it was a holiday; no one wanted to come in for any amount of money). She was less than sympathetic, and told us that some of us would just have to stay.

Now, I'm not sure how many of you have ever worked a night shift, but trust me, even if you sleep all day, it is NOT the same as sleeping at night. It is a restless, interrupted slumber. It goes against your natural bio-rhythms. Staying over after a 12 hour night is a whole lot harder, and unsafer than after a day shift. However, I had no choice. I hadn't worked the night before this, and although I had taken a 2 hour nap the day before, by about 10 am (the 15 hour mark) I was practically incoherent. It took me calling the in house supervisor, and telling her that I was physically incompetent ( I had put this in writing, and made her sign, date and time it) to continue working. I did this to protect myself; I had notified administration that I had reached a point where I KNEW I was unsafe to provide patient care, so they were liable for any untoward outcome. This forced her in turn to call that same manager at home, and tell her she had to get her ass in there, and care for patients until she found someone to cover the unit. I think they ended up offering a $250.00 bonus in addition to the time and one half holiday pay.

Amie - posted on 10/19/2010

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As of their new contract signed; Yes, Sara, between $26-33 per hour starting wage.

About scheduling:

OT can be accidentally scheduled where a lesser seniority nurse gets it but that usually means a grievance and the nurse who should have been offered the shift is paid whether or not she'd have accepted it. She was missed, therefore she is paid; the thing to remember is schedule by seniority.

Sometimes you have time to wait for a call back from the nurses but not always; if someone calls in sick you go through the schedule; it's arranged in seniority order and you call till you get someone to come in short notice; forms are always used to track calls. When push comes to shove and no one is available that's when you get nurses working double shifts back to back or whole ones with half ones.

As a rule safety is always considered. So yes, someone in scheduling management should always know when you're scheduling someone outside normal work hours/routines.

Nurses too have differing OT rates for differing shifts and days too; it's not always just time and a half. OT can be as simple as scheduling someone more than two weekends in a row...if all someone does is PT, putting in that extra weekend will do it regardless of number of hours worked. The only time the weekend OT won't apply is when a nurse or anyone trades their shifts and puts themselves their more than two weekends in a row.

You can have as many PT and casual as you can find who are willing to work what's available. Like I said; even with PT hours; put someone in that 3rd weekend and you're in OT. Summer time and holidays are always bad.

And people need to remember; their illness is as important to them as anyone's; no one knows who else and what else a nurse has on her floor/wing to see to.No one knows who came in as an emergency or if/when a patient who isn't as ill as someone (though it is important to the patient) else takes time needlessly b/c they are being demanding...families can be equally draining of time and what nurses used to do and what they do now are totally different.

Meaning: nurses used to provide pretty much all a patients bedside care; bandage changes, helping with a bed pan etc.; quite often they now dispense meds and keep track of tons of paperwork; everything is tracked these days, the paperwork is phenomenal
LPN's often do bandage changes now and bed pans, etc depends on whether one is a hospital or respite bed or long term care.

It also depends on what facility they are working in. Many nurses; depending on what facility/department they work can be seen as more administrative to what the personal care providers they once were.

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To answer the OP, there should be some sort of regulation regarding how much OT a nurse or doctor can work. Not for the purpose of capping how much a nurse makes, but to keep the level of care at a good quality level. For example, I do not want the nurse assisting with my c-section to have been working 36 hours straight.

I know of nurses that work at more than one clinic or hospital. They'll work 8-5 in the clinic, then work 7pm-3am at a hospital. Or they'll work two 8 or 10 hour shifts in the same day at two different hospitals. I can see how they can easily earn $200,00+ working like that. But being that their paychecks are coming from two separate places, how do you regulate how much they work?

$26 starting wage? When my husband finished nursing school and started looking (3 years ago) it was more like $19-$22. Not terrible, but not fabulous considering the amount of student loans he'd incurred to become an RN. Maybe it's just where we live. (BTW, I'm not complaining about how much nurses make, just making a comparison/observation.) He eventually found a job working in a prison clinic. He makes a lot compared to nurses in other settings, but then I suppose that's because it's hard to find people who want to work in a prison.

Amie - posted on 10/19/2010

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I'd hardly call $26-33 *starting* wage under paid.



As for the scheduling, I'm going to ask my mom about that one. She used to handle nursing schedules here and it's not as cut and dry as people seem to think it is.

Amie - posted on 10/19/2010

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Hey I live there! I remember the big uproar about this. haha.

Yes it's the health districts fault. They should be keeping track of OT. There should be a cap on how much a person can work, unless an emergency situation comes up.

As for the nurse that was interviewed and made the 250K, well if he wanted to work it. He can, he was called in and took it. As with all OT sheets, the more you work, the farther you fall down the list. If everyone before him said no, he had every right to say yes.

Do I agree with it? Not particularly. That's a butt load of time to work. Some of it is forced OT because of staffing shortages, not all of it is though.

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I have a love/hate relationship with doctors and nurses. They're more a necessary evil to me. I seem to get those asshole nurses all the time, and it frustrates me to no end! For the nurses that are great and actually give a flying f***, they're either over worked and under paid or under worked and under paid. The health region should be willing to hire more part time or casual nurses, because frankly, it could potentially be fatal having a nurse that's been working for 20hours. So IMO, it's irresponsible on both the health regions part and the nurses who choose to work 20+ hour shifts. They both should know that that could cost somebodies life.

Caitlin - posted on 10/19/2010

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A lot of nurses go into it for the wrong reasons, like great overtime and all of that, others get into it because they love it, but those people tend to burn out. Looking at this objectively, I feel a lot of it has to do with the lack of respect. Last week I was at the hospital after an allergic reaction my daughter had, and while we were in observation, a critical case came in (this is a childrens hospital) - some scooter crash. Since overnight there is only one doctor on staff, he couldn't leave the critical patient, I saw them running in and out with portable x-rays, ventilator, blood, tubes and IVs, it sounded pretty intense. On top of the doctor being stuck with the patient and not being able to leave until he was stable, many nurses were occupied, but the two that were left at the coordination desk to care for the rest of the patients were being verbally abused by at least 3-4 of the parents there, and the nurses are trying to explain that there is only one doctor on staff and there is a dying patient that needs care more than you kid with a tummy ache. I really felt for those 2 nurses, and could see them getting more and more frustrated, because in reality the situation was simply beyond their control.

Working the hours that would get you 250k a year.. irresponsible..

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I agree with all Kate said. My mam used to be a nurse before she had my sister and I here in the UK and she loved the job. But a few years later on when she was asked if she wanted to return she declined because things had changed so much. Back then she actually physically cared for the patients, fed them etc. now they don't it's left to health care assistants or the patients are left with the food and if they can't feed themselves it's tough tits. Disgusting really!

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