We asked Jim DeMaria of Renal Care Registered Nursing Services to draw a parallel between the layoffs of the 90’s and today, and what we can learn from them during these economic hard times.
Scrubs: What is it about today’s situation that reminds you of the layoffs of a decade ago?
Jim: I began my nursing career in the late 90’s, so I really can’t speak about the layoffs that occurred during that decade. However, we were also in the midst of a nursing shortage much like we are today. During the 80’s and leading up to that time, hospitals started to heavily recruit foreign nurses to fill their staffing voids. While that seemed like a good idea at the time, it eventually backfired.
Scrubs: What happened to make it backfire?
Jim: The American nurse who recently graduated from nursing school found that due to the heavy influx of foreign nurses, there were no jobs. This situation in turn resulted in a decrease in nursing school enrollment, which led to the closing of many nursing programs.
Scrubs: So how does that equate to today’s situation?
Jim: Just like then, we’re now fighting a pandemic nursing shortage in the midst of a financial crisis, and possibly looking at layoffs. This is now coupled with changing societal demographics, like the beginning of the retirement of the “Baby Boomers.” And the shortage of nurses plus the layoff can once again threaten the state of today’s nursing schools.
Scrubs: Any tips for nurses facing this perfect storm?
Jim: If you are laid off, try a staffing agency. Try going “Per Diem” at your current facility. For something really different, try travel nursing. One of the benefits of being a “traveler” is that you get to avoid the usual “office politics” and “griping” that come with being in the same place too long. Nursing for the most part is “recession proof” and is a great career in these dire financial and economic times.
Scrubs: You’re a positive thinker!
Jim: We nurses have to be! But really, in tough times, nurses should just be themselves and live by the Marine mentality: Adapt, improvise and overcome. Use that “go-getter” attitude, and adjust on the fly in any new job or situation you may find yourself in. That’s why Nursing is such a great career choice!!! You have the huge “umbrella” that is the nursing profession, and all the little niches and specialties that come under it.