Letter to the Editor by Corbell on The Nursing Shortage: Solutions for the Short and Long Term

The Nursing Shortage: Is This Cycle Different?

August 31, 2001

response by Patricia Corbell to The Nursing Shortage: Solutions for the Short and Long Termby Brenda Nevidjon, RN, MSN and Jeanette Ives Erickson, RN, MS, CNA (Jan. 31, 2001)
with reply by author

Dear Editor:

Brenda Nevidjon's article on combating the nursing shortage was very thorough and well-researched. Changing the image of nursing is very important. It seems that a cap and a female figure in white are still the icons that represent the profession.

Perhaps, though, change needs to come from a deeper level as well. I was a nurse for 25 years and left nursing at least partly because of the lack of control over my professional work. Nurses need to gain more control over their profession. They must be given the right to say "no" to job expectations that are not appropriate for them to carry out. Limits need to be set regarding heavy patient loads and excessive paperwork. Nurses will be even better caregivers when they can maintain some dignity and health for themselves.

I realize there are no simple solutions to the nursing shortage. However, stories of professional nurses who can control their professional behavior will present a more favorable image to potential nurses than will stories of nurses who remain under the control of others.

I thank you again for your excellent article.

Patricia Corbell
Flagstaff, AZ