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Format: 04/18/2014
Format: 04/18/2014


Advance for Nurses: Nursing through economic changes

Friday, December 18th, 2009

By Sandy Keefe, MSN, RN

Economic changes are influencing the work patterns within the nursing profession in many ways. Nurses are opting to work extra shifts; others are coming out of retirement.

"Some nurses in our per diem pool used to work infrequently, maybe 1 day a pay period to keep their skills up or to maintain seniority within our organization," said Judy Zedreck-Gonzalez, MPM, BSN, RN, chief nursing officer and vice president of operations at Allegheny General Hospital, Pittsburgh. "When those nurses experienced a loss of hours from their other jobs, or when their significant others had layoffs or reduced hours, the nurses saw an opportunity to maintain their livelihood and support their families by staying at the bedside for more shifts. We've seen our part-time and full-time nurses pick up extra shifts as well, and we're monitoring that closely to ensure they're not taking on too much work."

Extra Shifts

Cheryl Fugatte, MSN, RN, chief nursing officer at Jewish Hospital & St. Mary's HealthCare (JHSMH), Louisville, KY, agreed with her colleague's perspective. "For years, nurses at JHSMH have picked up extra shifts, and they're used to the extra income. We're seeing nurses who are working extra to make up for family members who are losing their jobs, or who are having their hours cut," she said. "Our nurses also work extra for patient care reasons; if we have a call in, our nurses pick up for other team members when they can. But I'd say 90 percent of the time, the extra shifts are taken to benefit them financially."

Although the economic changes are putting a lot of stresses on nurses, there's also a silver lining. "Throughout the city of Louisville, chief nursing officers are seeing nurses from our hospital working PRN at their facilities, and we see nurses from those facilities coming here as well," said Fugatte. "A nurse may work 36 hours at our hospital, and then pick up some shifts at another hospital across town. These nurses have been through our orientation, we've determined that they have the skill set we need, and they have to work a certain number of hours to keep their per diem position. They bring new ideas to our hospital, so everyone benefits."

To read more, visit the Advance for Nurses web site.


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