5 things I ACTUALLY want for Nurses Week this year


iStockphoto | ThinkStock + Scrubs

iStockphoto | ThinkStock + Scrubs

Back when I got my first nursing job, things were peachy. There was a pretty horrible “nursing shortage” going on, so new nurses got things like multi-thousand dollar sign-on bonuses and new cars and cruises and scrub allowances.

Nurses Weeks then were primo, too: breakfast served by administrators, new umbrellas, five-minute massages…

….And not a darn thing that we actually could’ve used.

Here’s what I want for Nurses’ Week this year:

5. Free parking. Seriously, guys, it can’t cost that much to cut your staff a break on parking. If we can’t have it for free, could we at least have it at a discount? Or could you at least have the shuttle that runs from the lot to the hospital run, oh, when people are coming in and leaving, rather than from 8 to 5?

4. Color-coded scrubs and legible name badges. A couple of years ago, my employer went straight back to the 1970s and put everybody in the hospital in the same color scrubs. I developed migraines around the same time. Coincidence? I think not. If it’s hard for me to identify various disciplines, think how the poor patients feel!

And while we’re at it, if I have to wear a backer badge with my credentials on it, can we please have something in 48-point type that says “RN”? Right now it’s itty-bitty type that says “registerednurse.” Ain’t nobody got eyesight to read that.

3. No phone calls during vacation. Again: seriously? You’re going to call me three times in a week to see if I can work extra? I cannot commute from the middle of the Pacific Ocean.

2. An occasional thank you from the people who pay us. If we do something wrong, it’s write-ups and emails and “disciplinary action up to and including termination may be taken.” Do something amazing, though, and it’s crickets from the administration. And while I’m at it. . .

1. Mandate that all administrators with credentials work a minimum of three shifts a month on the floors they’re responsible for. You DONs and CEOs all have “RN” and “MD” after your names; it’s time to prove you still can work. If you’re going to make staffing decisions about your floors, know what those decisions will do. If you’re going to “update” or “improve” something, see what impact it has. Get back in the trenches and off the carpet.

And have a lovely, lovely Nurses Week.

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