Letter to the Editor on "The Nursing Shortage: Is This Cycle Different?"

The Nursing Shortage: Is This Cycle Different?

December 23, 2004

in response by David L. Clark to topic The Nursing Shortage: Is This Cycle Different? (Jan. 31, 2001)

Dear Editor:

I write in response to the Nursing Shortage topic. For some time now, I have seen and heard about the nursing shortage. Years ago, I attended a nursing conference in Colorado where my nursing hero, Leah Curtin, was speaking. She gave a humorous talk about that particular nursing shortage. One of her points concerned how nurses communicate to others about nursing, noting how often you hear comments such as: "The pay is low," "Doctors don't respect me," "I have to empty bedpans," and on and on. She said we need to accentuate the positive and talk about what is good in nursing. That really moved me, enough so that I went out that evening and bought a coffee cup and wanted to have "Accentuate the Positive" painted on the side. Unfortunately, I wasn't sure how to spell accentuate, so my coffee cup says "Think Positive." I still use that cup.

I am a man of many interests. A few days ago, I received my November, 2004 issue of Popular Science. I was leafing through the magazine when the article starting on page 70 grabbed my attention - "Disturbing! Disgusting! Discombobulating! It's...the Worst Jobs in Science, The Sequel" by William Speed Weed. This sounded like a fun article so I started to read it. Some of the first jobs mentioned were funny: Anal-Wart Researcher, Tampon Squeezer, and Iraqi Archaeologist. But then, I got to number 10 and almost fell out of my chair when I read "Nurse"! The first sentence says, "In our internet-based summons to top (bottom?) last year's "Worst Jobs" list, nurses nominated themselves in droves.'¦"

I ask: If this is how we see ourselves, how do young people looking for a career view us? And, we have a nursing shortage because...??

David L. Clark, RN, MSN
New York State Department of Corrections
Plattsburgh, NY

Still Proud To Be A Nurse