Hospital Workplace Conditions Across the Nation – What Nurses Really Think
Nursing is a profession that can be practiced in all parts of the United States. However, there are notable differences in the way you may perform some of the tasks depending on your location. Before choosing where you’d like to start or continue your career, it’s beneficial to take a look at some of the differences as well as the similarities.
After surveying nurses from four US regions about various topics about their careers, it is clear that nursing is a job that is exhausting and challenging, but ultimately rewarding and amazingly satisfying.
The nurses who shared their thoughts with us are:
Ashley Floral, RN – Omaha, NE
As the charge RN in the Newborn Intensive Care Unit (NICU) at Children’s Hospital and Medical Center, Ashley loves being a nurse and getting close to all the babies and their parents.
Dr. Kristine Todd, NP – Grand Rapids, MI
Director of Professional Practice and Development in Nursing Administration at Mercy Health St Mary’s, Dr. Todd speaks at numerous national conferences and sees patients as a Nurse Practitioner a few days a month.
Jason Sawa, RN – Dallas, TX
Jason is an RN and inpatient care coordinator at Texas Scottish Rite Hospital for Children in Dallas, TX.
Patricia Falgoust, RN – Harrisburg, PA
Patricia currently works as a nurse manager of labor & delivery at PinnacleHealth System.
Every department has its ups and downs; its good and bad situations. Here are some of the topics these nurses were asked about in their respective hospitals and areas of the country. Listening to them gives us a feel for what goes on, what is changing and what needs changing.
How are nurses treated overall in your hospital and region?
All of the nurses believed that their profession in their hospital and area is highly respected. Sawa elaborates by saying, “as a pediatric orthopedic hospital that specializes in the treatment of scoliosis, I would say our doctors see us as the ‘spine’ of the hospital. We are the eyes and ears of the doctors, and the voices of the patients.”
Falgoust believes that the health system she works in fosters and supports inter-professional collaboration, and it shows in the quality measures and outcomes and overall patient satisfaction.
How does your hospital chart patients?
Each area of the country is dealing with different levels of becoming fully electronic when it comes to patient information. Foral says her hospital is all computerized with computers in each room along with barcode scanners for medication administration. All nurses have iPhones for communication via the Volt app.
“We are able to text as well as call our co-workers for any of our needs. Our workflow has improved since going live on EPIC. It is frustrating when technology fails,” she states.
Todd explains that health records are all electronic at her Grand Rapids hospital, and they use smartphones for use with the Doc Halo secure messaging system between nurses and doctors.
Falgoust’s hospital is in the process of changing to an electronic medical record and charting system, which should happen in October. “Having multiple systems that don’t communicate can make nurses less efficient,” she says.
Sawa’s hospital is also going through a build phase of a new electronic health record system which is expected to go live in October, too.
What personality types fit well in your nursing staff or region of the country?
Sawa believes that his hospital is a special place that gives children back their childhoods. “Our nursing staff is outgoing and friendly, and we set the bar high for the expectations of ourselves and our fellow nurses,” he says.
Whether it’s in the Midwest or not, Foral feels that anyone working in an intensive care unit, probably is going to be a Type A personality.
“We have to be. There is very little room for error when you are taking care of a 900 gram baby. We are meticulous across the continuum of care from our assessments to the perfect blanket lined on the baby’s bed,” she explains.
In Falgoust’s nursing staff, she believes all types fit well. Todd narrows it down to the kind, compassionate, respectful, knowledgeable and collaborative personalities work out better in her unit.
Is your location better suited for certain specialties?
Mercy Health Saint Mary’s in Grand Rapids serves a diverse patient clientele with specialties of oncology, neuroscience, cardiovascular, orthopedic, senior care and psychology-medical.
PinnacleHealth Systems offers opportunities for all nursing specialties, Falgoust says.
The Children’s Hospital in Omaha is the only level IV NICU in the region. “Patients from Nebraska, Iowa, Kansas and South Dakota come here for the highest level of care,” Foral states. “Omaha is so fortunate to have a pediatric hospital.”
Is your nursing pay at the right level for your area?
“I am satisfied with my pay to a certain degree. We need the best of the best nurses here every day to take care of our patients,” Foral says. “I believe the hospital needs to be more appealing to entice experienced nurses looking for a change in their career. Children’s is offering a very generous incentive program when our census is high, and staffing is short.” Todd and Falgoust say nursing pay in their hospitals is very competitive with area hospitals, and Todd adds that her hospital offers an excellent advancement system for nurses.
Whatever their complaints or praises, these nurses love what they do. Foral sums up the general feeling of our four nurses — “I am honored to be a nurse and am forever grateful I chose this profession. I feel honored to be a nurse. I am proud to be a nurse.”