The Nursing Shortage: Is This Cycle Different?
October 11, 2002
in response by Terry Owens to topic The Nursing Shortage: Is This Cycle Different? (Jan. 31, 2001)
I write in response to the topic of the Nursing Shortage. I like being a nurse. Yet when those making future career choices compare nursing to other professions, nursing may seem a discouraging choice, especially when looking at potential income. However, nurses stay in nursing because of the rewards they experience in helping patients. To an extent money issues can be overlooked when you enjoy what you are doing. Unfortunately there are other problems that still need to be addressed to make nursing a desirable profession. One problem is the limited respect that is generally given to nurses. For example, the hospital where I was employed began offering tuition reimbursement for nurses; but this reimbursement was only available to "new hires." Another problem is inadequate staffing. Sometimes nurses are so overworked they do not have enough time to do the most basic parts of their job. It might take patient care tragedies due to inadequate and unsafe staffing before significant actions are taken to resolve the staffing problems.
I think that what this all boils down to is the need to give nurses the respect and pay they deserve, along with not spreading them so thin that patient care and safety is compromised. I suggest that administration talk to nurses themselves asking for their ideas as to ways to retain employees and find new employees. If nursing students and new graduates saw the more experienced nurses receiving appropriate respect and pay they may be less discouraged, and perhaps even inspired to remain in nursing.