Reply by Nevidjon to letter by Lanigan, Astorino, Eberhart on The Nursing Shortage: Solutions for the Short and Long Term by Brenda Nevidjon, RN, MSN and Jeanette Ives Erickson, RN, MS, CNA (Jan. 31, 2001)
I appreciate Patricia Corbell's comments on our article, The Nursing Shortage: Short and Long Term Solutions. She has identified a critical factor contributing to the dissatisfaction that many nurses feel - lack of control over one's professional work. This is a key factor that I hope is not lost as organizations focus on developing local solutions to the shortage.
Work environment factors, such as lack of respect and trust or absence of collaboration and teamwork, will not be ameliorated by financial solutions. While many organizations need to and are implementing financial solutions used with past shortages, they must recognize the other factors that need attention. More and more nurses, like Ms. Corbell, are leaving because of the conditions of their work environment. Many are saying that the financial incentives, such as sign-on bonuses, are not enough to return them to organizations that do not support and value their staff.
Healthcare executives must look inward and evaluate what messages they are sending to staff and whether their words and actions are aligned. Staff know whether the organization's mission, vision, and value statements are lived daily by senior administrators or are words on paper. If ever there was a time for executives to be visible and interacting with the staff, now is the time.
Governance models in which staff share in the clinical and operational decision-making will support nurses having more control of practice issues. Likewise, nurses must be prepared to accept the accountability that comes with increased participation. Like Ms. Corbell, I would like to read more stories from professional nurses whose work will inspire more young people to enter the profession.
Brenda Nevidjon, RN, MSN