I liked this blog and agree with it so much that I have lifted it verbatim from "madness: tales of an emergency room nurse" and the original can be found here
I am one of the nurses you hear about that will be retiring in the next 10 years. I plan to retire in 5 years. I can retire early because it was negotiated into my union contract. The only thing that keeps me going to work at the hospital and not changing job is knowing that I am out of there in 5 years. If it wasn't for that I would have been gone long ago. There is no incentive to stay. Why should I keep breaking my back to do this job beyond five years from now? I could easily work for another 15 years at that place but I won't. Hospitals have no real interest in retaining nurses. They make piddly attempts like thinking magnet status is somehow going to attract and retain nurses. The average nurse doesn't give two shits about magnet status. You know what we want? We want more staff to be able to give the care the patients deserve. We want more money. We are worth way, way more money. Without us the health care system would crumble. But we won't get more staff. We will get our piddly 3-4% raise. We will continue to pay hundreds of dollars a month for health care even though we WORK in the health care system. The hospitals don't do more because they don't have to. Nurses haven't demanded in any nationally organized manner that they do more. The public hasn't demanded that they do more. They will. People don't realize the state of health care until they come into places like the emergency room and are shocked that they have to wait 5-6 hours for a bed. Its a wake up call. In fifteen years 5-6 hour waits will be a picnic. There will be many fewer nurses to take care of you, so plan on spending days in the ER waiting. Not only will there not be the numbers of nurses in the hospitals, but those who do go into nursing will not be working in hospitals long term. They are crazy if they do. Why would anyone in their right mind choose the degrading, stressful environment hospitals have become? If I were a new nurse I would run as far from the hospital setting as I could...So good luck to those who are now in their early fifties and up, because people like me won't be there to take care of you. The only way I would even consider it is if I made a lot more money then I make now. Otherwise in 5 years I'm out...
I am in my early 50's, I have a lot of colleagues who are in their early 50's and we are getting tired. None of us want to be humping patients about in our 60's but in our university they had to cancel a new intake of nursing students due to lack of students and the next one was only half full. Even though this was written from an American point of view I could not put it better. The nursing profession the world over is getting old, tired, demoralised and just fed up of the continuing increase in workload.
When Mr Grumpy started nursing part of his job was to talk to patients to reassure them, to explain things to them (I had an old fashioned ward sister who shouted on me one day but insisted that I finished talking to the patient first as that was more important). I knew every patient in the ward and what their diagnosis was and what their treatment was. I would have been bollocked severely for saying to a relative "that's not my patient" they were ALL my patients because I was on that ward. I was proud to be a nurse, and although this sounds like snobbery I was a bit above the rest of the hospital staff because I was a nurse. I will give an example, when I started nursing, smoking was allowed in the hospital concourse, however, nurses were not allowed to smoke there even though they were not in uniform as this was seen as too "common" and gave a bad impression but other staff (including doctors) were allowed to smoke. Now the porters and the cleaners (who all have important jobs to do) are rated higher than me by management. If a job comes up the almost automatic statement is - let the nurses do it. We have cleaners who won't clean human waste, so, who does that? Yes you're right the nurses. I am trained to degree level in nursing, they are trained in cleaning but hey I'll do it. I am not talking about cleaning patients, I have never, ever been "too posh to wash" that is a basic function of my job.
So what happened? When did there suddenly become not enough nurses to give good quality care? I took it as a personal insult if one of my patients was not fed or lying in dirty linen or not washed if they were soiled. I don't work on a ward now but I remember. When did we start not having enough time to care for patients and looking after their basic needs. This needs a post all of it's own.
So hopefully, there will be a change and we get some good nurses who are well trained, well rewarded and well motivated before I retire and become decrepit and need somone to look after me.