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Tuesday, April 7, 2009

This is what you want, this is what you get

Today at work my 365 Days of Nurses calendar had this to say:

Management believes you are overpaid. But management would never work for what they pay you.

I thought this was a bit bitter and uninspiring for a desk top calendar. Shouldn't they stick to things like:
A nurse is compassion in scrubs. ~Lexie Saige

Or jokes about the nurse/patient relationships: "Nurse: I'm just going to grab your vitals.
Patient's Wife: Oh no you don't!"

I'd even rather read the quick and snappy anecdotes that real life nurses have sent in, some of them charming, others eye roll inducing, over a bitter sentiment like today's two liner. As I sat at my desk charting on various medical happenings of the day, and taking off orders the little white square stayed just within my peripheral, slowly fanning the flames of my gut reaction.

As far as the "management would never work for what they pay you," I'm exhausted of the very idea. This post by Nurse K in her blog Crass-Pollination, completely sums up how I feel about the whole management v. staff nursing issue. In essence, I think it's bunk. It's a different job. The CEO of a hospital has the lives of patients as well as the livelihood of even more staff members to worry about. Of course it pays better. If I wanted to be a CEO I would have gone to business school. But I don't. I want to reach out and touch people, and moreover I want to be someone who has the correct answers when someone reaches out and touches me. I want to wear a stethoscope and listen to hearts and then say "This is what I hear and what I know, and this is what we'll do." When I want to wear a suit and manage a facility I will let you know.

As far as the whole "management thinks you are overpaid" part, that's just not true for every facility. In fact, it's probably not true of most facilities. It's true that some nurses are quite underpaid for what they do, but often it's not because the management thinks they deserve even less. It's because they are trying to run a business. But they know what your education, your experience and your work ethic are worth if they are a good manager. They have their finger on the pulse of the medical market. They know what a competitive wage looks like. And they know what your job description is and whether it differs from the job you are actually doing. If they're good.

The people who think nurses are overpaid are not in management in hospitals. They're uneducated politicians who seem to think that the role of a nurse is to change bed pans and wipe butts. Most hospital managers understand that when they hire an RN they are hiring someone with the educational background needed to make accurate medical assessments, often on the fly, and to carry out the necessary interventions to prevent complications and potential negative outcomes while simultaneously promoting positive outcomes for any given individual patient's disease process or health interruption. Period.

The DON was working in the nurse's office with me today and she saw the quote and laughed. She said "I used to be a floor nurse, and I know you aren't overpaid. Plus, there are plenty of floor nurses in other places who make even more than I do as DON of this place."

Maybe it's different because I work in a non profit which happens to be run by genuinely good and honest people. But I think the management gets paid fairly for what they do too.

I crumpled up April 7th's page, resolved to not think any more about it.

Tomorrow's entry on the Nurses calendar is "10 reasons to date a nurse."

Number three is "the uniform," which is a bit outdated,
but number eight is "They won't be disgusted by your toilet habits."

Actually, yes. Yes we will. You filthy animal.

Dear 365 Days of Nurses Calendar,
Please go back to being cute and fuzzy. I can't have you trying to be sassy all the time.

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