The Manufactured Nursing Shortage

14 08 2009

In 1986 my Allergist told me there would be a nursing shortage in 2000. I was 10 years old, I believed anything my doctor told me. I’m not sure why I remember him telling me that. Why would a 10 year old care if there was going to be any kind of shortage in the future unless it was chocolate ice cream or pizza or something of immediate value. Besides, I had plans to become a doctor, an Allergist or a Pulmonologist. I could see the years of schooling stretched out before me.

At 13 writing seemed like the profession for me. I would create these stories and write my friends in as characters. I made them laugh. I had no problems with chemistry and biology. And math—I could do it. But every night it was a struggle, Dad helping me with my math homework and me crying. Some story problem about polka-dot shirts. I don’t think we ever got that one right. English made sense. I wanted to be Anne of Green Gables. I wanted to be V.C. Andrews. That’s before I realized that V.C. Andrews was not good literature. 

But I sobered up and chose a nursing major. It was practical, and I didn’t know what else to do. I could always write in my spare time.

In 1996 there weren’t waiting lists to get into GVSU Kirkhof School of nursing. And you didn’t need a 4.0 to get either. There seemed to be plenty of instructors.

Currently, there are not enough nursing instructors to teach the amount of students who are waiting. But this is manufactured. When I was in nursing school, they were starting to phase out all the instructors who did not have their doctorate. A masters degree in nursing wasn’t good enough to teach it anymore. This completely eliminated the number of available instructors thus creating a “shortage.”  With fewer instructors, GVSU was forced to admit less nursing students to its program. And this created the waiting list and ridiculously high standards. Especially when I hear that they are picking students based solely on grade point averages. I’m sorry this doesn’t make a good nurse.

I didn’t remember this until just last week. But they told us in 1998 that hospital nursing was on its way out, because hospital stays were not has long and many surgeries were being done on an outpatient basis. Since I started in 1999, I have seen a decrease in admissions for rotator cuff repairs and ACL repairs.  People go home the same day. I have seen people have microdiskectomies and go home the same day.

The hospitals in the area have very few positions open for RNs. The ones listed are part-time, prn or on-call. Hospitals w, x, y, z.  Hospital W mandated a wage freeze, laid off nurses and restructured. Hospital X is not doing so well after building a new hospital. They have cut employee hours. I expect them to go under and be bought about by Hospital Z. Hospital Y is also not doing so well after building a new hospital. Hospital Z was in a hiring freeze for about a year. Hospital V seems to be doing okay—they have the most job postings. Hospital U is a floundering small hospital that closed one of its specialty areas. I really don’t know that they do much of anything.

I can definitely say that there is not a nursing shortage in the hospital industry.

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