I remember reading a 2008 American study, ‘Nurses Working Outside of Nursing’, which showed that of the 2.9 million registered nurses in the United States, 16.3% were either not working, or not working in nursing. It is true, people in general make wrong career choices, decide to bail out and move on, but nursing is right at the top of ‘lifeboat’ jobs. Another American study, by the Association of Colleges of Nursing (2007), estimated that 13% of newly licensed RN’s ‘jumped shift’ after just one year, and over one third were thinking about following them.
The reasons never change. Long hours, and fear of management phone call to ‘man the deck’. Stress – many nurses feel like crying at the end of their shift, or have sleepless nights worrying whether they have ordered necessary tests, etc. Undesirable working conditions – new nurses are often made to ‘swab the decks’ by the shift’s captains; forced to juggle the needs of many patients, and make critical decisions when not equipped to do so. They can be ignored, or
told to “toughen up”, to make them “better nurses”. Insufficient staffing – a 2005 study by the American Association of Colleges of Nursing found the obvious – over 90% of nurses thought staffing shortages would lead to nurses bailing out.
So it is in the UK: Whatever plagues American nursing experiences are inevitably visited on the UK. The government jobsworths piloting ‘reforms’ in the NHS are merely copyists of the American ‘cost-is king-in-care’ ideology. In fact, it gets rather boring to read of new American ‘initiatives’ in health care, knowing they are inevitably going to be served up in the UK under a different name – the difference betwen French fries and pomme frites, both fried potato.
Nursing schools are trying to supply their industry with enough nurses to fill the ranks. There is no shortage of nurses, there is a shortage of nurses who want to stay in nursing. Many leave, and many that do not only stay because of economic necessity, often resenting their job and their patients. Yes, dearhearts, some resentful nurses abuse patients.
Nursing workforce projections indicate the RN shortage in America may exceed 500,000 by 2025 (American Association of Colleges of Nursing, 2010). The RCN in the UK constantly bleat about a shortage of nurses, about how enough are not being trained, but never consider the percentage of nurse entrants that (a) leave before completing their course, (b) stay in nursing after completing their course, (c) remain in nursing after 5 years. A + B + c = more than any ‘shortage’.
It’s all a scam, dearhearts. The nursing industry perpetuates itself by churning out new recruits to relpace their ‘lost comrades’, who may have won a few medals on the way, but just ended up choking on them.
Only an idiot could imagine nursing as a 25 year, mortgage paying career.
Only an idiot would expect not to suffer feelings of hopelessness and emotional distress, and calling in sick.
Only an idiot would believe ‘management’ to be on their side, and not that of the masters (not patients) they serve.
Nursing has just become an ‘attract an idiot’ game, run for the benefit of those that service the production line.
Shortage of nurses?
The same situation haunts doctors.
‘Earlier this month I attended a conference on physician well-being at the Massachusetts Medical Society where I heard an alarming statistic: the suicide rate among women physicians is more than two times that of women in the general population. … I no longer believe it was weakness or selfishness that led me to abandon clinical practice. I believe it was self-preservation. I knew I didn’t have the stamina and single-mindedness to try to provide high-quality, compassionate care within the existing environment. Perhaps, due to temperament or timing, I was less immune than others to the stresses of practicing medicine in a health care system that often seemed blind to humanness, both mine and my patients’ (Diane Shannon, commonhealth.wbur.org/2013).
She spoke for all.
The solution. A revolution in which the lie of budgets is binned and patient care is placed in in the hands of doctors and nurses.
lenin nightingale 2015