May 30, 2008
Nurses Blog About Nursing Education
A new edition of Change of Shift has posted. Don't miss this issue, focusing on nursing education, from the perspective of a recent graduate.
May 29, 2008
Is the Nursing Shortage Easing?
I just read an interesting article in the May 12, 2008 Daily News that got me thinking about the nursing shortage. I'd like to learn what is happening in other areas of the country.
Recent nursing stats from the U.S Dept. of Labor:
* Average salary in New York State for nurses is $66,390
* Nurses working in NYS (2006): 164,970
* Nationwide working nurses : 2.5 million
* Average age of nurses : 47 years
* Expected nursing shortage nationwide by 2020 : 36%
These figures are staggering and somewhat frightening, don’t you think? I admit it’s not a bad salary, but the average age of nurses being 47 years old is downright bothersome, troublesome, annoying, vexing, worrisome… All my colleagues are in the age range of 40 to 48 years and they can’t wait for retirement. Some have begun their countdown to age 55 already! I think I’ve been counting silently, hoping to enter another career or hoping that the workplace environment will improve somewhat. But neither is occurring.
There seem to be no solutions coming from Obama, Clinton, or McCain, let alone any politician. The one politician who has spoken out about healthcare, Ted Kennedy, is on the receiving end of healthcare now after being diagnosed with a brain tumor.
Nurse travelers are being used extensively by local hospitals in my area. The current trend here in NYC appears to be one of hiring travelers first and dismissing long-time per diem nurses. Is this the right way to go about solving the acute shortage? Will the recession bring more future nurses into the field? Should we be hiring more travelers? Or retaining more of our own nurses? Every week I seem to be bombarded by emails marketing "Come Travel with Us." May be I should now?
Any advice? What’s occurring in your area?
May 25, 2008
Should Nurses Accept Gifts from Patients?
Nurses could be banned from accepting gifts from grateful patients under controversial new plans at many medical institutions. It means nursing staff can not even accept a box of chocolates or a cup of tea for their help and assistance. What, no more chocolates during Christmas? Ohhhh - that hits me hard being a chocoholic!!! (Swiss Lindt is the smoothest of all chocolates. Okay, maybe I’ll also add a bit of Godiva!)
I wonder – maybe we shouldn’t accept anything from any patient’s family? Many bring us baked cookies, bread, drinks (non-alcoholic), tea, thank-you cards, etc. I can understand monetary issues. But, then on the same token, how many physicians are out there accepting tokens from pharmaceutical companies?
I recently attended a neurology meeting out West -- the companies on exhibit gave out pens, penlights, pads, bags, books, even MP3 players (I now own one!), and more. I almost had to buy a second suitcase just to pack the gifts I got free in the exhibit hall.
Should nurses be banned from receiving gifts from those who received exceptional care from them? What’s your take on this?
May 15, 2008
You Tube Nurses
My Web site designer just uploaded a dystonia promotional video for me on the popular video site, “You Tube” . In the process, I decided to search out “nurses” and came across a 4-minute video focusing on nurses and today’s trends. Well done to the filmmakers! I couldn’t agree more with some of the comments. Nursing today is tough and shouldn’t be taken lightly. It is a noble profession, don’t you think?
Let’s start documenting more of today’s nursing trends on You Tube and other video sites. Awareness just might influence the Presidential Election of 2008!
Check out the dystonia video, “Are U at Risk for Dystonia?” and see another nurse video, by the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing, on “Tap Dancing and Electrocardiograms: A Snap to Learn,” at the J & J funded site, “Campaign for Nursing.”
May 13, 2008
The Recession in New York
Last week was marked by rising oil prices, tens of thousands of lost jobs, and plummeting share prices that will have a profound impact on the 2008 candidates vying to succeed President George W. Bush. I have to admit that times are tough today. Job losses, rising oil prices, market losses on Wall Street, home foreclosures, rising food prices, empty “For Rent “ bodegas on Lexington Avenue… At my local bodega, the fresh flowers seem to have no buyers. I see people stockpiling cans of ravioli, cutting coupons, and reading shelved magazines at the local library instead of buying them.
My apartment building has become a revolving hotel with tenants moving in and out because they can’t afford the rents. Most rents in the building now exceed $2,100 per month. Lucky ole me – I’m well below the market price value as my apartment is rent stabilized. However, I have to admit to looking for a new job that offers benefits and other things including a heftier hourly salary. Thinking of my retirement years… Have even thought of leaving NYC…Moving to? Maybe North Dakota! But there’s one big problem with that choice – I have freaky wires implanted in my head.
In a recent interview Warren Buffett, the world's richest person, said “The U.S. economy is in a recession that will be more severe than most people expect.” Well, if he’s saying this, then it must be true – we are in a recession. Yet, the Wall Street Journal reported that the ailing economy would ease the nursing shortage! More nurses going back to work, part-timers going to full-time, etc. Okay, what then? Will we have too many nurses? Will salaries go down for us? Will hospitals fill those empty positions or not?
May 12, 2008
The Last Lecture
To millions who have watched him on the Internet or on Oprah Winfrey's TV show, Randy Pausch is the 47-year-old professor dying of cancer who inspired them with his “last lecture,” about achieving childhood dreams and living with integrity and joy. His neighbors in a Virginia suburb know him as the guy biking around the streets for exercise while chattering into a cell-phone headset.
That's what the Carnegie Mellon University computer science professor did to expand his 76-minute talk into a book without taking time that he doesn't have away from the people for whom the book was intended: his 3 children, all under 7 years of age, that he won't be around to help his wife, Jai, raise. I clearly remember watching his lecture on Oprah --so much of it was inspiring, moving, exciting, stirring, rousing; but also sad in a sense. The Professor was dying. After all, what do you say in a “last lecture?”
Pausch found out in September 2006 that he had pancreatic cancer, an especially deadly cancer with few treatment options. Last August, he learned the cancer had spread. Doctors told him he had 3 to 6 months live. He recently suffered heart and kidney failure. He's in pain all the time and he hasn't been strong enough to ride his bike. He's stopped chemotherapy and spends many days in bed. I just bought the book, the same size as the book Tuesdays with Morrie, by Mitch Abloom. It arrived this morning -- 266 pages of discussions about enabling the dreams of others -- primarily his 3 children.
Have you read the book or listened to the lecture?
May 05, 2008
Silent Auction for Dystonia
Broadway was crowded with tourists today. A cool wind wiped the petals of tulips along Park Avenue. It felt like early March weather. I had done my research. I was visiting the Broadway theaters one by one to ask for donations for a silent auction to benefit dystonia. Something needs to be done. Research is not progressing, except for a form of dystonia that is genetically-based and affects less than 10 % of those afflicted with dystonia.
Broadway is known for its theater district and often is called the “Great White Way” because of its bright lights that shine at all hours of the day. Broadway originated as a Native American trail, called the Wickquasgeck Trail, which was carved into the brush-land of Manhattan. This trail originally snaked through swamps and rocks along the length of Manhattan Island. Today I was swamping my way through crowds, primarily those carrying maps and NYC tourist bibles.
One by one, theater after theater, I stopped in, asked for a silent auction donation to Care4Dystonia and the Dystonia Association of Kentucky. Soon, I had billboards autographed by directors, souvenirs from Mary Poppins, and miscellaneous caps, mugs, and posters. In a few hours I had about $5000 worth of material for the auction. Not too bad, considering this was my first time! I really had no idea how a silent auction worked, but if it brought revenue to nonprofits, then that was all that mattered.
May 01, 2008
Change of Shift is Up!
Are you interested in other nurse bloggers? There may be more out there than you imagine. Check out offerings from around the world here.