Is nursing truly recession proof?



Lyssa Vicari has been a registered nurse since 1989 and has worked with the same company for 22 years.

She’s not a financial guru. She’s not a money manager. She’s just a nurse talking with other nurses, keeping an eye on her paycheck, watching the market, and sharing her opinions.

As there’s a lot of talk about the nursing profession being recession-proof, we asked her for her thoughts.

Scrubs: How do you think today’s financial situation affects nurses?

Lyssa: I think the economic downturn has affected everyone in the world, not just Americans. As a health care worker, I’ve been very fortunate to have weathered the ups and down through the years. Does it affect our industry? Sure, medical facilities have had to cut back on our benefits and have to watch staffing. But it’s far less than most people have to fear. I’ve never seen the massive layoffs and drastic cutbacks that my friends have had to bear. Working in the medical field is the best for almost guaranteed employment.

Scrubs: So, are you getting hit in the pocketbook at all?

Lyssa: I know a lot of my coworkers have been hit by the loss of overtime shifts. When this happens, you pull in the purse strings and rely on faith that “this, too, shall pass.” The worst thing for us is the fact that although some health care organizations have early retirement medical benefits (like some state and government positions do for vested employees), most don’t. So, planning ahead is crucial.

Scrubs: Any more tips for hard times?

Lyssa: All of you with large families may want to try dinner clubs. The point is to cook large meals that can be separated into family-size portions and then shared with others who cooked other meals. Then you can get a taste of someone else’s cooking straight from your freezer. My dinner club likes to cook up batches of stew, chili, spaghetti sauce and casseroles. Another large money-saving option is to find someone who works the opposite night/day shift and work out a childcare trade. I recommend finding someone from your own department, so you know something about the person for safety reasons. Most hospitals also have human resources or volunteer departments that have money-saving coupons for employees.

Scrubs: And for fun?

: We go to the parks (in warm weather, we like the ones with water features). Try matinee movies. Instead of expensive vacations, try renting a local cabin with another family. Check out your local resorts in town. Many have been lowering rates to attract business. Share or trade your DVDs, CDs, books and toys with your friends. They’ll be new to you!

Lyssa Vicari, RN, works in the emergency department at Banner Estrella Medical Center in Phoenix, Ariz. She has been a nurse since 1989 and has been with Banner Health for 22 years. Lyssa and her husband, Mark, have been married for 25 years and have one son. She loves animals and enjoys making stained glass and antique dolls.


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