Nursing Shortage Hits Closer to Home

Nursing Shortage Hits Closer to Home

Michael A. Bell / The Anniston Star

March 11, 2009

They are the men and women in scrubs, stethoscopes dangling from their necks. They thump veins, check IV levels and provide a face to an otherwise sterile environment.

Nurses make clutch decisions each day that save the lives of millions. Yet, health care providers across the globe continue to grapple with a nursing shortage.

Local hospitals feel the pinch. Regional Medical Center in Anniston lists 29 available nursing jobs on its Web site. Jacksonville Medical Center is short at least two. And four registered nurses at Stringfellow Memorial Hospital said they are unsure when they’ll return to work after clashing with management over increased patient loads.

Christine Novick, one of the nurses, said they already were stretched thin by caring for six or seven patients in the medical/surgical unit. Taking up to eight, as they said they were asked, would saddle them with stress and compromise patient care, they said.

Stringfellow spokesman Kidada Hawkins declined to comment aside from an e-mailed statement.

“Out of respect for our employees’ and patients’ privacy, we will not discuss specific personnel or patient matters,” he said.

Other area nurses said they’ve been so strapped for time they’ve filled out charts while using the restroom.

They’re not alone. Hospitals across the globe continue to report severe nursing shortages. Last week, a hospital in the Canadian province of Alberta shut down its obstetrics program because of a lack of nurses.

But giving available nurses more work isn’t the answer, said Linda Bell, clinical practice specialist with American Association of Critical Care Nurses.

“Options like, ’We’ll just give more patients to this one nurse’ don’t work,” she said, “because you put the patients at risk, you put the nurses at risk, and it just sort of falls apart.”

Health officials expect it to worsen.

  • 192____max50


    over 5 years ago


    honeyrose92, what town are you talking about...just curious?

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    almost 6 years ago


    nursing shortage really? hmmmm, many of my fellow soon to be graduates are having a very difficult time finding fact over half still don't have a job for after graduation.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    almost 6 years ago


    Believe me unionize isn't always the answer. I work in a hospital with a union that in 9 years has given us raises but still not up to par with other hospitals same size in the area. They haven't even touched the nurse patient ratio problem in all these years. Yet we pay our money to have this union. When it comes to layoffs the union is not there for you!

  • 29063ca61jms0caiiwcl2caf6s8u3cavjxu90ca519k0nca4c3lqgca2ovmj8ca7yhoaica5qs07sca65xvzycavvrwtdcai7gslxca390c46ca81suv7cap6zdj8cacjkbanca3nxvnyca0e4jgp_max50


    almost 6 years ago


    I live in a small town. The local hospital has 2 jobs but is unable to pay a nurse with experience. I have applied at hospitals more than 30 miles away ... just trying to get a job. I was one of those laid off. Mostly due to they had a young nurse with less experience and didn't have to pay her as much. I have put out for more that 10 jobs in one hospital, 3 in another, 2 in another, etc.. There are nurses out here who want to work, they don't want to pay for them.

  • Crazy_frog_by_himself_max50


    almost 6 years ago


    I was a nurse on a Med-Surge/Ortho unit, and hated the fact that we routinely had 6-7 patients. 5 was a great day, but the last straw for me was the day my pt was coding-i was LITERALLY in the middle of it with 7 residents and 2 RN's in the room, and needed to get something from the supply room when the Charge Nurse on the floor told me I was "next" and needed to admit my EIGHTH patient. I looked at her and reminded her WHY I was running to the supply room. Her response was, "Well, I have 4 pt's already, I'm charge today so thats all I'm supposed to take." I gave my two weeks notice shortly after that. The shortage of nurses are in the hospital setting-I know so many who don't want to work the floor or ER. Incidentally-these are the areas always hiring. Burn out maybe? I know I did, in 21/2 years.

  • Cool_as_can_be_eva__max50


    almost 6 years ago


    The problem in my neck of the woods ( rural MN.) is long waiting list.ive been on the list twice,the first time after having to wait two years i found myself married and 8months pregnant when the time came. Adding myself to the list again in another 2 yrs i was also with child. now that my girls are old enough to start school ,i have to retake the CNA exam,then i will place myself on that same list at the local tech school hoping against hope that i make it this time. Pushing 40 and a hysterectomy later at least i wont be pregnant

  • Dsc00261_max50


    almost 6 years ago


    I've been wanting to be a nurse for at least 6 years now but the journy has been very difficult and finding the money has been almost impossible. I can only manage to do a little at a time. If they could make going to school to be a nurse a little simpiler with more avalible help for money the situation would improve.

  • Lpn_max50


    almost 6 years ago


    I have been writing about the nonsense I have been through on my educational journey of trying to become an RN at the OLOL College in Baton Rouge LA. Many of my friends have been my support system as I have been tormented through my educational journey. One day the truth will shine. There has been some weird stuff happening for years. Back in 1993 it seemed like everyone wanted to go to nursing college. The colleges here in Baton Rouge had much more applicants than the college could accommodate. Some colleges had waiting list while others tried accepting the students with the highest grade point averages as well as passing interviews with nursing school staff, who you knew was not hurtful for some who got accepted as a RN student, and then they implemented a Net test so students had to pay a fee and then pass a NET test. Only students with the highest scores would be filling one of the top 40 slots. This causes them to try numerous ways to accept people into the RN program. I was even told that they accidentally overlooked my application. This private catholic college has prevented me from completing my education on numerous occasions. It seems that no one cares to address the problems students were dealing with. It is kind of silly there is a" nursing shortage after all I am one of many who has been trying to become a RN for years. Nursing colleges need to be regulated and watched carefully as to how wonderful potential RNs are being squashed right out of the profession. This college told me more lies even when I had a 3.75 the semester prior to applying to the RN program the nursing staff did not grant me an interview (this was another one of there numerous methods of choosing candidates for the RN program) If you passed the interview then you had a chance of being into the RN program- Then I was told They only had 40 openings and had 40 people. Once I was told they were accepting black men, black women, then white men and then white women. There is a huge problem with in some of the educational institution and dollar signs may have a lot to do with it. Affirmative action was in the news and even though what they said was wrong who do you turn to. Many people who went to that college should write about what happened to them too. Now I owe around 53,000 dollars for my pre-reqs for a nursing education to become an RN- I eventually decided to become an LPN and I have been doing that for about 6 years. I was accepted into the LPN-RN program. It was a nightmare to say the least. I was one class away from graduating and the instructor screwed up my grade on purpose. Several students had numerous problems with specific instructors giving them a hard time. It is quite disgusting. I have around 130 college credits NO DEGREE. I am so angry with this nonsense something needs to be done. Perhaps we nurses need to lobby the bigger the crowd the better. We need to spread the word on what has happened to us. If I graduated back in 1997 I would have been a RN for over a decade instead I am still a student. There are many more students that were prevented from getting into the RN program. I am still studying hard to become a RN with a B.S. degree. But it does not surprise me that so many of my pre-nursing college peers have quit because they did not meet the ever changing requirements in order to advance into the RN program. Hang in there-We need you.

  • Mary_ann_max50


    almost 6 years ago


    One piece to the puzzle with the colleges is that the instructors (with Masters) make far less than in other settings. I worked with an instructor for years who's full time job was teaching in a 2 yr program. She worked extra to make ends meet at the hospital where she did clinicals. Their wages in the college is ridiculous. With so many Baby Boomers retiring, the shortage will get worse. The instructors are also retiring and why would I want to go to work there for $10 less an hour (or more) I also see it as an issue that the cost of schooling is outrageous as well. There should be a program in place as there are for Docs to come to rural places and work off their student loans...but for nurses. AND make more loans and grants available with a much reduced rate of interest on the loans. I also agree with true. Last but not least, I am totally confused as to why being "Unionized" helps the nursing shortage. Can you clarify please? I have worked in both union and non-union facilities and the favorite of all times so far, was NOT a union house.

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    almost 6 years ago


    first of all in re: to the comment below mine, is right on!!!!!, If a lpn with 30 years exp was able to take it and pass great but if not, be able to certain classes to bring the nurse up to speed in the areas of the exam she/he did not pass.
    it is a no lose situation.
    Where i live in madison, wi... there are only two schools for lpn to rn progams with a 5 year waiting list????????
    I don't understand this, if the schools can not get enough RN with a BSN to teach.
    a RN with many years exp, could do the job... it just seems all i hear the numbers reaulting from the shortage , but does anyone have a real solution.
    how can a cna. wait 5 years to get into an RN program????? The best could not wait due to money etc and will pick another position and just think forget about it.
    ppl who really want to be nurses and the schools are turning them away???
    I just don't understand, if anyone can explain this please reply

  • Christmas_and_new_years_2009_098_max50


    almost 6 years ago


    It would be wise if there was a challenge the NCLEX for well seasoned LPN'S to get their RN. After all LPN'S who have been in the profession for the past 15-20 years pretty much are well used to training new RN graduates. This would help with the nursing shortage. I believe there was a time in the past where an LPN could challenge the RN boards and many of them succeeded.

  • Haven_max50


    almost 6 years ago


    I'd be more interested to read a current article. This article is giving predictions for what the shortage WILL be in 2005. What about what's happening in 2009!!

  • Photo_user_blank_big


    almost 6 years ago


    I agree with renbo

  • Uniquecelticjewelry1_max50


    almost 6 years ago


    It's always a walk on a tightrope, between too many and too little amount of nurses. On the other hand I wish there'd be more nurses around, on the other I'm worried about getting a job after my last study year has ended. But at least I can comfort myself with the fact that nurses are always needed.

  • Demetrice_029


    almost 6 years ago


    I agree with you renbo.

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