You Say Nurses Rock. Then Where is Their Rockstar Salary?

image courtesy of Victoria Borodinova

We hear the gruesome narrative from thousands of frontline ICU nurses across America who risk their lives daily to care for others during the pandemic.

Nonetheless, the relentless beast doesn’t seem to care, it just keeps killing.

Want to know how many lives the beast has claimed so far?

To date close to 400K lives have been lost in the United States to Covid-19, and that number will undoubtedly continue to rise.

For many nurses it is ground zero seven days a week, but for long term care nurses — multiply ground zero times twenty to capture a snippet of what they endure daily.

The practical superheroes of lesser skill, so they say, do not appear worthy of a CNN showcase, despite the long history of working understaffed, underpaid and under protected during the beginning of the pandemic

Ironically, the pandemic evened the playing field. Hospital nurses are experiencing dilemmas long-term-care nurses have encountered throughout their entire career. Employee conditions which include unrealistic caseloads, working without necessary supplies, poor management, abuse, and neglect.

The difference, the hospital nurse receives mass attention from the media while LTC nurses receive little or no empathy.

Is it because our culture does not value nursing home personnel or is it because they don’t value the elderly?

Most states across America endorse a 40:1 staffing ratio as standard practice for one long-term-care nurse.

Recognize each of the forty residents have a whopping 30–60 pills per shift — plus treatments. In addition, every patient is required to have a temperature screen every four-hours, so as you can see the stressed caseload for long term care nurses is nothing short of abuse.

So what does all this mean?

It means the nurse responsible for caring for your loved one is likely experiencing extreme burn-out trying to manage working conditions in a skilled nursing facility.

On top of the 50-eleven-dozen tasks one nurse must complete, a resident fall, a change in condition, or a new admission will shortchange the entire shift. Most LTC facilities don’t have designated personnel to process new admissions, which means a nurse required to provide clinical care, is completing the tedious responsibility of admitting a new patient as well.

During the madness family members complain about the quality of care. But what do they expect?

Your mom’s pressure ulcer is likely a result of not having enough staff to perform position changes every two hours as prescribed.

It is common sense but no one is listening.

Let us not forget the Certified Nurse Assistant paid a measly $8 an hour to pass meal trays twice a shift, toilet the resident every two hours, chart, then shower the resident, get the resident dressed, brush the resident’s teeth, comb the resident’s hair, feed the resident, answer the call light within a reasonable amount of time, get the resident ready for bed, clean the resident’s room, complete scheduled assessments and put the residents to bed and did I say chart!

Pure insanity. Yet the governing boards of every state approve this horrendous practice as acceptable. Get a reality check please. There is nothing acceptable about employment conditions in a nursing home.

Whether long-term-care, or ICU, nurses are taken for granted as evidenced by lack of personal protective equipment, insurmountable caseloads, and unrealistic job expectations.

It has been said “nurses rock” but where is their rock-star salary?

Let us look at current salaries for both LPN and RN’s.

According to nurse.org Registered Nurses make $28 to $54 per hour based on the number of years’ experience.

The Licensed Practical Nurse comes in around $22 to $40 per hour.

Salary range for both LPN and RN’s will vary depending upon education, location, certifications, and years’ experience. Keep in mind the average cost to attend nursing school for two years is 40K, which means a new nurse making 45K per year cannot afford to repay their student loan and cover their living expense.

Kudos to whoever coined the phrase nurses rock, but it seems apparent nurses clearly do not rock, and if they did, the salary would reflect the appreciation.

RN Salaries By State 2021 | Nurse.org

Nurses are suffering psychological trauma due to Covid-19 — CNN

Low nursing home staffing puts residents at risk (ajc.com)

Need a COVID-19 Nurse? That’ll Be $8,000 a Week — CNN

Q: What Is the Average LPN Salary by State in 2020? (ziprecruiter.com)

‘It’s exhausting’: ICU nurse shares before-and-after photos of herself to show pandemic toll | CTV News

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Olivia Meadows

Olivia Meadows

“You don’t have to be famous to be famous.”