I used to be self-righteous about doing lots of work for little pay. And nurses who were in it for the money? Well they were evil…
After all, can you be a good nurse if you are happy and making lots of money? Well, the stereotype is the poor, haggard nurse who is verbally abused and dismissed makes no money, but lives the life of a minted martyr who has a special place in the after life.
I didn’t quite understand what was so awful about that statement. I don’t think to earn a decent wage and paycheck and expecting decent working conditions negates one’s ability to do their job or care about another human being.
The conversation spiraled into, “when I was a nurse I made $5.40/hour”; “Yeah, well I made $3.20 and slept under a bridge [I added the bridge part]” and so on and so forth.
For some reason nurses don’t think they can make money AND make a difference in the world.
A friend of mine said to me one day that she was a single mom (like me) who struggled for a long time. She needed to rely on the help of others, but now she was in a place where she could give back.
It made me realize that people always need our help and we give as much as we can. But, we never stop and think about what we need and how to get it.
Nurses are not doing any one any favors by slaving away at 12 hours a day and not making ends meet or acting as if the only way to deserve the paycheck is to be exhausted and burnt out.
You see this when nurses swap war stories and try to out-do each other with the most horrific conditions they endured to change a bedpan. Really?
The only thing that this kind of thinking does is to make nurses feel small and inferior. After all, who wants to listen to the advice the overworked, burnt out worker bee that everyone is barking orders at?
You don’t have to be exhausted and burnt out. There are other ways to make money in nursing. We need more nursing role models who are strong, confident leaders who aren’t afraid of making money.
Is that you?