...see below for this RNs reasons on why you need to get with the RN trend.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Nice RN Pick, Obama!

I knew I voted for Obama for a reason.

Although it mildly annoyed me that he mentioned nurse in the same category as janitor and garbage man (two admirable, but unskilled job titles) in two of his debates, I figured he'd be pro-RN by the ANA's endorsement of him, and his campaign's ability to think out of the box (all RN's have that quality).

But today, I found this article confirming Obama's love for nurses.

It's an exciting article proclaiming Obama's selection of Dr. Mary Wakefield, PhD, RN, FAAN to director of the Health Resources and Services Administration.

Finally, a position filled with a worthy candidate, in a job I'd like to have one day.
If only I could get a hold of her resume so I could figure out how she got there...

Needless to say, will be eagerly watching her work in the HRSA, specifically to see if she has the same view as I do, that universal healthcare in the US will never work without first establishing a stronger network of medical homes, in the form of free-low-income clinics. What good is universal healthcare if no MD will accept it?

We'll see. Maybe I could fanangle my way into her office for an interview.

Saturday, February 21, 2009

RN:MD Money Ratio.

Yesterday at work, I had a conversation with a resident that's stuck in my thoughts today.

I was returning to the unit from taking one of my patients to a test, and I jokingly mentioned to him that, as evidenced by my other patient's awkward position in bed, my co-workers had neglected to check in on her for me while I was away, as they had promised. We laughed, and he said, "If only you could clone yourself," to which I replied, "Right. If that were the case, I'd expect to get paid double."

Funny idea. He laughed, I laughed, and then he said, "Hey, don't say that. You already do get paid double what I get paid!"

"True," I said. "For now."

It's great that I get paid double what this resident gets paid. I think I deserve it -- yeah, he has 24-hour call every five days, and has to work 7 days a week, but I think I work harder. I'm responsible for the lives of two patients, and for 12 hours straight, I actually physically carry out the myriad of tests, procedures, monitoring and general upkeep that is required to get them through their ailments.

That's not what bothered me about the conversation. What bothers me, is that in five years, when this resident is out of training, his statement won't be true. In fact, he'll be doing LESS work, for more money. While I, the RN, if I stay in my current position, will be making around the same amount.

Sure, the longer you stay in nursing, the more you make. With my Union, I get a good raise every year, so by my 30 year mark, I'll be making six figures.

But that's thirty years from now.

Immediately after I uttered the words, "For now," I stopped what I was doing and thought for a second. Thirty years is way too long to wait to make a six-figure salary. And, if I believe that I'm an expert, and that nursing is a field with endless options for advancement, there's no way I'm waiting that long.

It was good to realize, that, although it might not seem so to the bystander, nurses have every opportunity to make just as much as MDs do (although, for the record, I do believe the incomes of RNs and MDs should be swapped...but that's a post for another day).

The options are endless, and often free for the taking. Get your master's, get into administration, specialize in a field and become a sought-after consultant. All of it starts with the two letters: RN.

For those of you reading who don't have those letters behind your name just yet...here's one of many programs -- it's a scholarship program from the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation and the AACN -- that hand out money to people ready to join the RN trend: http://newcareersinnursing.org/

Sunday, February 15, 2009

6 Months?

August 31, really? My last post?

It's hard to believe that 6 months has passed since I last looked at this site. I'm not surprised, just shocked at the visible passage of time. Apparently, I should just admit that I'm a horrible blogger. Done.

Life, for me, has continued. As a nurse, I feel increasingly confident. I've passed my year mark and am nearing my second anniversary. I sought out an advanced certification (ACLS), and am working on taking the CCRN exam ( a test that certifies my as a critical care RN). I've joined the AACN, and am running a monthly journal club out of my unit with a goal of publishing some research in the next year. I'm enjoying my work, my co-workers and looking to the future with good feelings.

For my patients, things have stayed the normal course. A repeat-patient that I took care of over the course of the past year and half, a pretty little lady with a bad pair of lungs, passed shortly after Christmas. It was sad to see her sisters, who I had gotten to know during my care of her, so distraught at the eventual realization that she just wouldn't pull through this infection, this time. I miss them, even though I know that death was the only, better option for her painful struggle.

I've had a few significant sickies...a GI bleeder I fought for who got to surgery too late, an overweight, but super-sweet woman who fought (and beat) sepsis, and a pair of ARDS patients whose families both decided to withdraw care, during the same shift, within 15 minutes of each other.

These are the people who make it through the cluttered memory of my 12 hour days, and the exhaustion I feel afterwards. Families and patients who, for one reason or another, keep me running, and yet make me smile days later. The ones who I remember, and mourn with, and yet, encourage at the same time.

All in all, it's good to be a nurse right now.
I haven't spent a stray thought on the economy, I've grown in my role on the unit, and I'm thrilled to be spending extra time giving back to my co-workers, and my patients.

Will try to stay in touch more frequently...:)