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Sunday, August 28, 2011

all nurses are not created equal

Nurses are so funny. We accept so little when it comes to money and benefits. Its like we don't think we deserve more money. We do.

With the increasingly complex technology and medicine that we manage, we deserve a helluva lot more money. Nurses are literally keeping patients alive with technology. We are managing LVADs, CRT (continuous renal dialysis), ECMO (continuous heart bypass), hypothermia procedures post cardiac arrest, among other things. Some of these complex cases require 2:1 nursing care. Technology and medical care will only become more complex. The amount of information we are expected to retain is astounding and almost impossible. That information retention can mean the difference between life or death for your loved one.

I think some nurses deserve more money than others. A controversial statement that. The fact of the matter is, not all nurses are created equal in a hospital. With increasing responsibility and increasingly complex knowledge, should come increasing money. It just makes sense. Thats the way it works in other professions and thats the way it should work in nursing.

Do I want to get rid of unions? Of course not. Without unions, we wouldn't be where we are today. However,I do think that they should start negotiating some kind of clinical ladder into contracts that address this.

There may come a time when nurses are individual contractors. They will be hired to manage complex patients and compensated appropriately. Maybe there will be people who negotiate salaries for different types of nurses.

Nurses are key to the future of medicine. Who else will manage all this complicated care? You might say, well just hire technicians. Technicians don't have the holistic approach that nurses bring. There is a lot more to medical care than knowing how to operate a machine. Along with skills needed to manage complex care, nurses put a human face on that care. We don't let anyone forget that there is a person underneath all those tubes and wires.

Your thoughts?

9 comments:

Lynda Halliger-Otvos said...

Nurses should make hundreds of thousands a year and professional athletes should get what technicians are getting.

Teachers should get hundreds of thousands and so should most of the front-line Service Industry.

With service Comes STATUS.

Nurse K said...

If you want more money, take the CEN exam, dear. That's where you get the benefit for "knowing more" than the rest of your colleagues.

For me, I want nurses to go work where they want to work. I don't want a bunch of people vying to work in the ER for the extra theoretical money. Sort of like people who only go into Job X for the hours but aren't really interested in Job X.

girlvet said...

What! Nurse K you are actually sounding like a bit of a commie
/union supporter, everybody making the same and all that....

I can't believe I have to defend this concept to you, dear. On any other jobs
where you have more SKILL there is more COMPLEXITY and are a SPECIALIST, you make more money. That is just common sense. Somebody doing ambulatory care preop (doing vitals, maybe starting an IV) for example, versus omebody in ICU monitoring a patient on say these ECMO machines, is not EQUAL. They deserve more money period. And I don't really even like most ICU nurses.

The $400 I get once a year for CEN is a pittance. I should be getting a whole helluva lot more than that.

Its so fun pissing you off K.

Home Remedies said...

HMMM, For me nurses should have given all the right benefits,We really need nurses for medical care.
Maybe we need technicians, but not necessarily..

Best regards,
Home Remedies

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LaceFace said...

Well, I certainly agree better pay is necessary, but floor nurses, while their patients may be "easier"' there are more of them per nurse. So you have more call lights, more whining, more tasks, however menial....and that in itself is stressful. So I'm not sure there should be a huge difference in floor vs units.....

Nurse K said...

Girlvet: I don't know about you, but I'd need a pay raise to take 6-8 demented nursing home patients with UTIs on night shift (=med/surg).

Street Philosopher said...

Maybe enact a pay-for-certification clause in bargaining agreements...assuming that nursing staff can demonstrate familiarity and mastery of technological needs, and I do assume this, maybe adding $3-$5 per hour to wages when each certification is added to a nurse's qualification file. To say we might hire techs to keep people alive...I just don't see it. Maybe I'm naive, but I don't think so. We need nurses, period.

Anonymous said...

Well, not being accounted for by the CPA bean counters as "overhead", like heating and property taxes would be a real nice damned start!

We nurses get all the flack for every damned thing that goes wrong or gets undone in every facility...we all know that the failings of housekeeeping, transport, docs, support services and everthing else get blamed on nursing.

All the while we are worried whether crack-head Medicaid or "self-pay" patients are "happy" with the hot and cold running food, drink, entertainment and narcotics we do ( or do not) supply quickly enough.

My thoughts?

Satisfaction surveys only go to insured patients.. (and gummint "insurance" does not count!)

Assaults on nurses are prosecuted.

No abuse--horizontal or lateral..will be tolerated...ever.

THEN I might work in a hospital ever again.

Pattie, RN