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Wednesday, April 1, 2020  

From KathyPublished 2/7/2005

Dear Editor,

I read with interest Larry Leeds, RN article "Is there a nursing shortage?". I have questioned this issue in the past but not more than I do right now. I have been an RN since 1992 working almost exclusively in the area of Oncology in the hospital setting, with a short stint in the outpatient arena. I have extensive experience in the hospital setting working with medical, surgical, neuro patients, especially with an oncology/hematology diagnosis. In November I left the outpatient practice that I had been working in for the last 2-years for personal reasons. It was a spur of the moment decision and I quit without having another job lined up (which I have never done before) thinking that I would easily get another position with the "current shortage". I am hear to tell you that it is now almost February and I am still looking and interviewing for positions. Employers are not in any rush to hire experienced nurses and they are not at all flexible. The starting pay for a 12 year veteran at most of the Private hospitals is a joke. I was recently hired by a local hospital that caters to the indigent population after they reviewed my resume which clearly stated that I was seeking a full time (36 hr.) DAY position. I interviewed with HR and the Nurse Manager for the department and again clearly stated that I was a single parent with a disabled child and that I could not work night shifts leaving him home alone. I was told during the interview that it "would not be a problem" that the nurses in that department did self scheduling and they had a very strong night staff. After the interviews I was hired and I went through 5 days of hospital orientation. My 1st day of orientation on the floor I was told that I would have 2-weeks of floor orientation on the 12 hour night shift. When I questioned this and reiterated my position about not being able to work nights the Nurse Manager said "yes" she remembered our conversation during the interview, but could not guarantee I would not be scheduled for a night shift. I was told they would try to find me another position within the hospital where I could work straight days. The other nurse that was hired for this same position and was orienting with me had a full 6 months of nursing experience. She had no experience with pumps, procedures, in short no experience. This Manager was more willing to keep an untrained RN that could "rotate" which requires extensive training (this was an MICU position) over a nurse (me) with extensive experience because of a lack of flexibility on their part regarding rotating shifts. Why did they offer this position to me after interviewing with me and knowing what my personal issues were and why would they pay me for 40 hours orientation? Did they think I was not serious? I am currently interviewing for other "day" positions in areas that are not what I wanted. The HR department was also appalled by the Nurse Managers decision after hiring me. None of the hospitals in the Denver area that can pay a decent wage will get off the "rotating" only shifts. Straight day shifts are kept for the veteran nurse that has "paid her dues" at that particular institution. I have paid my dues and did plenty of night shifts over the years but my situation has changed since then. The position I was originally hired for is still vacant. If there is such a shortage of nurses and so many job openings, why aren't these facilities clambering to hire an experienced nurse that is committed to the profession and would be committed to the job? Why is there so much in-flexibility within the system? This so called nursing shortage maybe what it is because of the institutions believing that they cannot and will not change just to cover short staffing. Patient safety related to ratios are not being calculated into their needs. I remember when the shortage was "true", the new grads were able to come into these institutions and basically write their own ticket, wages, hours, vacation time etc. I am sick at heart that I cannot practice in an area that I am truly qualified because of the rules that all new nurses hired will rotate shifts, regardless of an individuals situation. Some of the other interviews I have had at other

Institutions also have very strict "rules" in this area with comments being made; "I am sorry, you are so qualified and you would be a perfect fit, but…". I had to add my 2 cents on this subject because of my frustration and being sick of hearing "you’re a nurse, you could get a job anywhere", yeah right! What a joke! Nurses, don't quit your current jobs without researching and finding the "perfect" job first, you will be greatly disappointed.

Kathy, RN of Denver, CO

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