Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Nurse Follies: The Economy Catching Up

It seems you can't do anything on the planet without hearing something about how the economy has turned into a Crapfest. I've been incredibly lucky to work for an employer that is still doing well financially, that our jobs are not in any immediate danger. Some would think that folks who worked in health care have it made, and I'm here to say that's not the case. Quite a few hospitals in the KC area are under a hiring freeze...which sucks for the new nurses who are graduating this spring. I've heard about more than one hospital laying off people in management, ancillary staff, leaving the floor nurses safe. But, I've also even heard of one hospital firing nurses for minor infractions. These same nurses who also happened to have reached the salary cap.

Coincidence? I think not!

Not to say that my facility hasn't felt the effects of the impotent economy. In an effort to cut cost, our hospital stopped stocking peanut butter.

Yes, peanut butter.

Our Kitchen Nazi was overheard praising the decision, citing that "too many people were eating it". God forbid the patients were eating the peanut butter! However, I'm unaware of other uses for peanut butter that would make the number crunchers happy enough to bring back the peanut butter. Its wreaking havoc on our patient satisfaction questionnaires. You should see the incredulous looks we get when we tell the patients why we no longer carry peanut butter.

However, we still do offer jelly. But just grape.

Hard to say what will be next on the chopping block. We already serve that nasty generic cola, and you can't get much worse than that. And crackers...BUT you do get a choice of Saltine or Graham.

But seriously, this past weekend, the house census was low. Lower than what we usually see, even during holiday time. Nurses were being cancelled, sent home early. This rarely happens. What's the deal? We know that less and less people are having their elective surgeries (i.e. joint replacements, boob jobs, etc), but it stands to reason that more and more people are just refusing to go to the hospital because they can't afford it. Whether it be because their insurance sucks and the co pays are insane, or they have no insurance, or they just can't afford the time off from work, especially in these hard economic times where one sick call-in can be the difference between having a job, and not having one.

I find a certain irony in working for the industry that will either be the salvation of the country, or the final nail in our coffin.

My heart goes out to those who are severely effected by the Second Great Depression. So much, that I almost feel guilty that I still have a job when so many others don't.


jcore said...

The health care industries are some of the most recession proof jobs that are always available. Even in our current economic status , healthcare is still experiencing growth. There are also many options you can take when deciding on which field you would like to work in. You could be a medical call center specialist, a medical coder, a medical transcriptionist, etc All of these jobs you can work from the comfort of your own home

GB, RN said...

Well sure! Why be an RN when I can do code in my pajamas!?!

Xavier Onassis said...

I worked for the world's largest and oldest Telcom for almost 20 years. During the time I was at theie HQ in NJ in the late 80's, they started a pretty severe cost cutting regimine.

In the past, if we had a morning meeting scheduled, we could provide coffee, tea, juice, bagels, donuts, pastries, etc.

A directive came down from On High that said henceforth, we could still provide coffee, tea and juice, but attendees would be expected to provide their own bagels and such.

Yeah. We will send a limo to your house to pick you up and take you to the airport.

We will fly you half way across the country to attend a half -day meeting and then fly you back again, but when you get here you better have your own fucking donut because we are slashing expenses to the BONE!


Kate said...

I work on the administrative side at one of KC's major hospitals and, I must say, I consider myself lucky to have gotten in when I did...my previous company folded shortly after I left. I can't say I'm 100% comfortable with how secure my job will be in the long run, though - there have been budget cuts made left and right around here and you can just tell that upper management is chomping at the bit to catch someone in the middle of a stumble so that they can boot them out the door...