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

The Nursing Shortage: Is This Cycle Different?

March 28, 2001

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

Dear Editor:

I have been reading the articles on the Nursing Shortage Topic and would like to voice my concerns. I believe the problem in nursing today is that nurses receive very little respect. They are treated like commodities rather than as valuable human beings. As examples: 1) the nurses in our hospital went for three years without a raise [although the hospitals say they are losing money, they still find money for new buildings and executive raises]; 2) our benefits continue to decrease; and 3) our hours and workloads continue to increase. Unfortunately, the students I see coming through our facility are different than they used to be in that they don't show as much enthusiasm. This is an understandable reaction when they see what kind of worklife they can expect upon graduation. Until nurses' very valuable time and talents are given more recognition, appreciation and respect, I don't think we will retain the newer nurses coming in.

I love what I do or I would not still be in nursing. I enjoy caring for my patients and I like the people I work with. However, we do need to change how people view nursing. Nursing is an important, life saving and rewarding profession. Yet we will not be able to retain nurses unless they, and those for whom they work, view nurses as valued persons and employees.

Thanks for listening to my opinion.


Deborah Cook, RN